Mary Dowey’s Bottle of the Week: An Intriguing Portuguese White

Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a creamy Portuguese white to put you in the mood for spring

Quinta de la Rosa Reserve Branco, Douro 2017

Urgently needed: respite from wintry red wines! Now that spring is officially here it’s time to think about succumbing to more than the occasional bottle of white wine. I’m not yet drawn to the light, tangy whites that go with light-as-a-feather food and taste best chilled. Give me a bottle with a bit of body, instead – one to serve just a little cool to ease the way from one season to the next. Like this intriguing Portuguese white.

It comes from Quinta de la Rosa, a well-known port estate in the Douro valley, port’s historic home. Over the past few decades the Douro has become almost as widely recognised for its red table wines as for its ports, with white wines playing a distinctly minor role until quite recently. Now they’re coming out of the shadows, and having sampled this reserve I can see why.

It’s smooth as silk with floral and lemon overtones gradually giving way to creamy depth with a subtle touch of spice. The sensations linger beautifully. The balance seems just right. And before you know it, you’re pouring a second glass.

The grapes come from old vines – always desirable as their fruit has more intense flavours. The varieties – Viosinho, Rabigato, Códega do Larinho and Gouveio, not exactly familiar to most drinkers – are mainly associated with the production of white port. All I can say is that I’m glad the admirable Bergqvist family at Quinta de la Rosa decided to divert some of this exotica into such an alluring, mouthfilling wine.

In Portugal, bacalhau – salt cod – would be an obvious accompaniment, the winemaker says. Here I’d give my first preference vote to fish pie or any fish in a cream sauce, but a simple roast chicken wouldn’t be half bad either.

Alcohol: 13%

From James Nicholson,, €19.99


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