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wine of the week 12/10/2008

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  Herdade do Esporão, Esporão Reserva 2007
Portugal gets its fair share of coverage here on wine-pages, but that is not surprising given that it has a fascinating array of indigenous grapes and some great winemakers up and down the length of the country. This white wine from the Alentejo, not far from Lisbon, is made from local varieties Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and Arinto, only the latter possibly ringing a bell as it crops up in whites all over Portugal. This example is given a fairly serious treatment, with fermentation and ageing in new American and French oak barrels. There's a very lightly spritzy character at first, with a sherbetty quality, but then intriguing herbal notes and nutty nuances from the oak come through. The palate has a mouth-filling apple fruitness, that is sweet and juicy, but all the time that tugging weight of oaky spice and warmth, and excellent acidity, add tension and complexity. £9.95, The Wine Society, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Halifiax Wine Co, Christopher Piper. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com