Six WHITE Grapes to Watch in the Douro


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From the drinks business: Following on from our article on the red grapes to watch in Port country, we turn our attention to the potential varieties for making great white wine from the Douro.

While yesterday’s story on red grapes considered a selection of niche varieties for boosting the future quality of Port, today’s piece looks at a fresh set of possibilities for making a great white table wine from the Douro.

The grapes were recommended by the Symington’s head of viticulture R&D, Fernando Alves, who has been put in charge of a new experimental vineyard in the hottest part of the Douro to uncover which native grapes are best-suited to the conditions of the Portuguese region.

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“The Douro is one of the most interesting places in the world for wine right now, and we can make some really interesting white wines,” said Paul Symington, chairman of the company, which owns more than 1,000 hectares in the region.

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Currently, the Douro’s best-known producer of top-end whites is Dirk Niepoort, which makes barrel-fermented wines using a blend of Portuguese white grapes from very old vines grown at high altitude on schistous soils.

Indeed, some believe that Niepoorts whites are better than his red table wines.

Over the following pages we have listed six grapes that Symington Family Estates believe have the necessary characteristics to produce great white wines from the Douro.