This might be one of the most pleasantly surprising wines I’ve tasted all year. When I’m presented with a Portuguese white, my mind immediately thinks of Vinho Verde – a light, crisp and very young wine.
I could not have been more wrong when I tasted the Guarda Rios Branco. It was light and crisp but also flavourful, aromatic and smooth. There were notes of lemon and citrus, softened with tropical fruit and floral smells. And then the taste – yum! The citrus was definitely taken over by strong tastes of tropical fruits like banana and mango. These fruits were warmed and rounded by sweet honey and pretty florals. The Guardo Rios was not your typical big warm white though, as it was balanced with a nice acidity.
What a surprise! So I looked into this Portuguese white further. The varietals that make up the Guarda Rios are apparently Portugal’s answer to Chardonnay. It’s made from two different white grapes native to Portugal. The first is called Arinto – an acidic grape with citrus character. While the second grape, Antao Vaz, adds the tropical fruit flavours and sweet honey tastes.
After this wonderful taste experience, I will definitely be exploring the Portuguese section more! I encourage you to also think past the vinho verde and try some different grape varietals from Portugal.
The Guarda Rios is unfortunately not available at the LCBO, but can be purchased through the Wine Collective’s online retail store.
Cheers! – GDW