Casta means pure in Latin. Each variant has its own differences, in terms of foliage, bunches (size and shape), and also flavor.
There are more than 10,000 varieties all over the world, and Portugal is one of the countries with the largest number of unique and exclusive grapes, namely in Borba.
Get to know in this article the main white grape varieties of Adega Cooperativa de Borba that have contributed to promoting the quality of its wines recognized worldwide.
Rabo de Ovelha
This grape variety is planted all over Portugal, especially in Alentejo, Ribatejo, and Estremadura. It is also present in Douro, where it is known as Rabigato. The wines produced from this grape have a citrus color, and discrete and slightly fruity aromas. They have notes of flowers, vegetables, and even minerals.
Since it generates a high quantity of alcohol, it is usually added to other batches. The wines produced from Rabo de Ovelha can be stored for quite a long time and have a good acidity level.
This is the main white grape in Alentejo, known in other places as Síria. It is a very productive grape characterized by its small bunches with a pyramid shape and small berries with standard size.
This variety produces delicate, fresh, and elegant wines with citric tones. Besides, they have a fruity aroma with orange and hints of peach, melon, laurel, and wildflowers notes.
There isn’t much information about the origin of this grape variety. It can be found only in Alentejo, where it is extremely appreciated.
Besides, it has a good adaptation process to the warm and sunny climate of the wide plains. Its bunches are bulky and compact, and the berries are big with hard skin. With a citric color, this variety helps produce firm wines with exuberant aromas, and ripen tropical fruits notes.
Its flavors include mango, peach, tropical fruits, and honey.
Despite being one of the secrets of Alentejo, Tamarez’s first appearance happened in the Tejo surroundings. In the past, it was cultivated in other regions, but under different names. The wines produced from this grape have a yellowish-citrus color.
They are slightly fruity and mildly acidic with apricot, tangerine, nuts, and sweet herbs notes.
This variety can be added to other white grape batches, to improve the yield without losing quality.
This variety is probably the most cultivated grape in the Portuguese territory and it’s also called Pedernã in some locations. Extremely versatile, it has medium-sized and compact bunches with small berries.
Wines produced from this grape have excellent alcohol and acidity balance. Its aroma is discrete with green apple, lime, and lemon notes.
It is also used to produce blended wines and also sparkling.
This grape is among the most relevant Portuguese varieties, being responsible for the great quality of Madeira wine.
Verdelho is traditionally cultivated on the island and it is responsible for the success of fortified wines under the same designation; it blossoms on the north coast at high altitudes, offering grapes with some acidity and reasonable levels of sugar.
This variety has compact bunches with small berries of green-yellowish color. It produces aromatic wines with tropical fruits, passion fruit, minerals, and lime notes.
It is one of the most cultivated varieties in Portugal, traditionally near Tejo regions, Lisbon and Bairrada. Its productivity is high and the grape is very versatile, rich in aromatic properties, which helps to explain its popularity.
The wines produced from this variety have a citrus color and a balanced acidity level. The aromas include lime, lemon, tangerine, orange blossom, rose, and aromatic herbs notes.
The flavor is persistent and elegant.
Besides Portugal, Fernão Pires has been successfully cultivated in South Africa and Australia.
Its wines should be consumed at an early stage.
Gouveio is a traditional grape, especially in Douro and Dão regions. It is a productive variety, sensitive to oidium and late rains: its bunches are medium-sized and compact, and the berries are yellowish-green.
It produces fresh wines with lively greenish colors, and an excellent balance in terms of acidity and sugar. With a relevant alcohol level, the wines are strong and have a good capacity to age in the bottle.
This variety presents a mix of fresh citrus fruits aromas with peach and anise notes.
Alvarinho is a grape variety from the northwest peninsular, responsible for the success of Monção and Melgaço regional wines. It is a vigorous grape, but not very productive: its bunches are small and have a big proportion of grains.
It produces elegant and aromatic wines with high content levels and a good structure. The acidity level is balanced with strong citrus and tropical fruits notes, such as peach, lemon, passion-fruit, lychee, orange blossom, and lemongrass.
To keep in mind…
Alentejo has the ideal conditions for the development of different grape varieties, due to its climate and sun exposure. These and other characteristics, including solid or geography, give the wines a unique and singular flavor.
For this reason, Adega de Borba already won several awards in different world competitions throughout its history. The smooth flavor of its whites, slightly acid with tropical fruits notes, was distinguished from an early age.
In recent years, new references for single-varietal wines have been placed on the market, popularizing the unique characteristics of the typical Alentejo white varieties.