Simon’s Wine of the Week - Intimista Vinho Branco

Posted in: Features / Tags: Champagne & Wine, Wine, Tasting, Wine of the Week, Simon Jarvis, White Wine

Bom dia,

Simon’s Wine of the Week is Intimista Vinho Branco

Now here’s a wine that caused foreheads to furrow last week. This is a new Portuguese white wine that I have been aching to taste, mainly because I absolutely love Portuguese wines. There’s simply loads of interesting grape varieties and regions that deliver utterly unique styles of wine. And for me this wine is certainly unique.

First the basics. It hails from the Lisboa region which, you’ve guessed it, is around Lisbon. The vineyards are located near the Atlantic coast, and this distinct maritime influence brings a freshness to the wines, unlike their richer, more full-bodied cousins from the warmer regions inland. The wine is made from three indigenous Portuguese grape varieties, Arinto, Fernao Pires, and Vital. Arinto is grown in most Portuguese wine regions and adds lively, vibrant acidity and mineral character to a wine. Fernao Pires adds aromatic spicy notes, whilst the Vital adds mouthfeel and notes of beeswax and sweet spice.

So far, so not controversial. What really stuck out for me was that when I was tasting this wine, I could have sworn it was aged in oak. And when I say sworn, I mean ‘put money on it’ convinced. On the nose there is that whiff of vanilla, woodiness, and spice that, if I were to taste the wine blind, I would have sworn it was aged in barrel. Now this was pretty confusing for me as I knew that it hadn’t any oak on it at all. But I had to get a second opinion on the wine. So, I tasted it with a colleague, who agreed with me; it smelled of oak. The mystery deepened.

I took it on myself to do a bit of detective work and eventually found some tech sheets from the winery to see how the wine was made: Stainless steel vat fermentation, and not a mention of oak. But it still smelled of the stuff. Then I even had someone have a conversation with the winemaker, just to check. No oak. Not a bit. My only conclusion is that the blend of grapes, which includes a couple that classically have spicy notes, fooled my olfactory nerves into thinking I could smell wood ageing.

Now what I’ve failed to mention so far, is how much I really liked the wine. Yes, it’s got woody notes on the nose (and that’s an aroma I adore) but the wine is super fresh. It’s got some really intense fruit with pineapple, peach and banana notes, and a lovely long mineral finish. It’s a really good, interesting white wine, with a fantastic price, some funky packaging, and would definitely suit any establishment who wants to elevate their wine list above the norm.

Just don’t mention the oak.

Have a great week all,


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