2019 Herdade do Esporão Monte Velho White Alentejo $10 - 92 Points

Some years ago I had the good fortune of traveling to Northern Portugal. A weeklong stay in the old city
of Porto follow by a couple of days deep in the heart of the Duoro unveiled discoveries multiple times a day. An afternoon tasting of tawnies made by tiny producers revealed the funkier side of port. A red wine with dinner one night was so captivating, I return to the restaurant, bought them out of their supply, and got an introduction to their distributor. Yet, as happens when away on vacation, re-creating these experiences at home has been elusive, despite exhaustive attempts. Thankfully, there is one exception to that: Portugal's beguiling white wines.

Serendipitously, I rounded a corner while grocery shopping in Porto one afternoon. A woman was pouring samples of wine, none of them red, and none over nine euros a bottle. But one after the other was fantastic and new and nothing usual. Much to the amusement of Newark customs officials on our return, a lot of that wine came home with me.

It's rare that an export translates as well at its destination as it does at home, but since that trip, I have regularly returned to Portugal as a source for inexpensive, interesting, and persistently terrific white wines. They seem to bat a thousand. Is there anything more a wine lover could ask for beyond consistency, authenticity, and a modest price tag? Case in point is this:

2019 Herdade do Esporão Monte Velho White Alentejo $10
Grown in the Alentejo region (which likely accounts for its structure and alcohol), this blend of unusual grapes I can't pronounce is a flinty, mineral-driven joy ride with crisp, taut fruit that will go as well with a creamy pasta dish as front porch conversation. A quiet crackle of acidity and some youthful vigor really give this wine a lively energy. And, like it's recently-reviewed red sibling, is a mere ten bucks. Rejoice, wine drinkers!