Quinta do Lagar Novo, Arinto Reserva, 2017
Luis Carvalho brought his family together at the turn of the millenium to re-fashion a 200+ year old estate into a sleek and modern, white-wine focused producer. The family's property can be found about 40 minutes north of Lisbon, in the virtually unknown - even to the Portuguese - Alenquer DOC. A focus on single-varietal blends dominates at the estate with bottlings made from familiar varietals like Chardonnay, Marsanne and Viognier alongside the lesser known Arinto, which is indigenous to this region, and a crowd-pleasing white blend called 5a.
Arinto is known as the "queen" variety of the region and comes from a segment of the vineyards about 15 years old. Fermentation occurs with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats - a move that preserves the freshness and acidity of the wine - while the final fermentation takes place in used oak barrels, for about 10 months.
The flavours are intense but velvety, lining up fresh lime, green apple and mint alongside a smorgasbord of fine exotic fruits. There's some floral complexity on the followthrough, a very persistent finish and a just-the-right-amount nudge of acidity.
Food pairing recommendations include seafood, seafood and more seafood. Seared scallops finished with heaps of butter; lobster rolls; crab stuffed ravioli with beurre blanc; or, go for the full Portuguese experience with bacalhau. Not feeling seafood, or averse because of allergy concerns? A lightly dressed salad with a humble rotisserie chicken is the kind of low-energy, weeknight dinner you need in your life.