Arinto de Bucelas

Origin: Commonly known as just Arinto, originated in Bucelas Portugal
Not to be confused with many other varieties that are sometimes called Arinto (like Malvasia Fina and Loureira) Arinto Tinto is furthermore a synonym for Spanish Tempranillo, to make it more confusing

Grown: Portugal (mainly Bucelas, Tejo and Vino Verde)

Climate: Warm Mediterranean

Soil: Very adaptable to terrain and climate

Viticulture: Very high natural acidity in the grapes, making them adapted to growing in the hot climate of southern Portugal where other grapes varieties struggle to maintain their acidity

Vinification: Historically Arinto was only used in blends (in accordance with the tradition in Portugal) but with new demands from the market, more single variety wines are being made and in Bucelas winemakers are experimenting with both sparkling and late harvest versions, that are showing a lot of promise

Regional names to look for on label:

  • Bucelas DOC (has to make up at least 75% of blends)

General Personality:

  • Colour: Pale lemon green
  • Aromas: Lemon, green apple, grapefruit, mineral and chamomile
  • Taste and Texture: High acidity, seemingly unaffected by temperature and time. Generally, bone dry, but late harvest versions are coming on the market soon. Fresh on the palette with a clean profile
  • Conclusion: Light and crisp but with unique flavour additions keeping it interesting. Can age surprisingly well, but generally preferred young where the focus is on the fresh fruit
  • Future: Surprisingly age worthy. In quality examples sometimes up to 6-8 years. With age aromas of nuts, ripe peach and honey tends the come out

Food pairings:

  • General: Arinto works like a lemon wedge, it is fresh, crisp and clean (but without being boring). Its flavours are when young very food friendly and even with its high acidity it does not demand food but is extremely drinkable on its own. Aged examples are definitely best enjoyed on their own, or just with some simple nuts or marinated green olives
  • Obvious pairing: Olive Salad
    As uncomplicated as it gets, and This Basic Olive Salad is a perfect go to! Mix it up and leave it in the fridge to marinate for a day or two, then it is ready to be applied to anything from a picknick sandwich to some fresh pasta. Or why just not put it out as an appetiser on the table with some homemade focaccia? Ether way, Arinto will have you covered. Sometimes olives, especially when accompanied with olive oil and vinegar, can be a bit hash on wine, but no worries with Arinto, its acidity can handle that and much more!
  • On the wild side: Lemongrass Soup with Tofu
    First and foremost, forget about the spice! This Soup is delicious on its own following the recipe, but if you want to combine it with Arinto (which believe me, you want to) you have to seriously diminish the addition of red curry paste. I went for ¼ of the recommendation, and that worked perfectly. And then I love spicy food in general, but dry whites and spice will just hurt you, and not in a good way. Otherwise, lemongrass and Arinto, another one of those culture-crossing matches that just turn out to be perfect for each other. Here with the marinated tofu, it just works