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Tasting notes: Monte Velho White

8-1 A group, of fellow wine lovers, on a Saturday night discovered this wine during a tasting at Marché Bacchus. This is white wine, is not very complex, and is delicious. Below you’ll find more notes, by Vegas Wineaux, regarding the Monte Velho white wine.
This is a tasty little wine, low cost (about $14 if memory serves), and unusual in one particular way.  This Portuguese wine is made of three grapes: Antão Vao, 40%; Roupeiro, 40%; and Perrum, 20%


Because none of us had even the remotest clue of what these grapes are, I had to, naturally, Google them. Fortunately, the Wines of Portugal, Jancis Robinson, and the State Library of the government of Australia websites delivered.  And here they are, somewhat truncated:

Antão Vao

This is one of the most prized varieties of the Alentejo, until recently grown almost exclusively around Vidigueira. Well suited to the warm and sunny climate on the great plains of the Alentejo, it is reliable and productive, consistent in its ripening. The bunches are big and not too tightly packed, the grapes large, with tough skins. As a rule it produces firm, full-bodied, well-structured wines. Made as a single variety, it has lively aromas, with hints of ripe tropical fruits, tangerine peel and something mineral, along with good structure and body. If picked early, it gives wines with vibrant aroma and crisp acidity. Left to ripen longer, it can reach high levels of alcohol, making it a good candidate for barrel maturation.


Little is known of its origins, although the vast genetic variability it shows would suggest it has been grown in Portugal for a very long time. Its geographic distribution is quite singular, extending down a long, narrow strip from north of the country to the south, hugging the Spanish border.

It has a diversity of names depending on the region, ranging from Siria, Alvadourão, Crato Branco, Malvasia Grossa, Códega and Alva to Dona Branca. But its Alentejo name is the most well-known, the region where Roupeiro is still the most widely-planted white grape variety.

It is a recommended variety in almost all the sub-regions for its high yields and exuberant primary aromas. It shows perfumed and seductive citrus notes of orange and lemon with hints of peach, melon, laurel and forest flowers. The trait which brings its detractors is that it loses the initial aromatic exuberance very quickly, becoming neutral and predictable after some months in bottle.

The outcome is that Roupeiro wine has limited cellaring, making it better suited for high-turnover wines with short shelf-life.


Spain is the major producer of Palomino grapes – aka Perrum in Portugal – particularly in the region of Jerez, but the variety is also to be found in Southern Portugal, the Midi area of Southern France, in South Africa, California and Australia, where it is used mainly in the production of sherry. Edward Peake was the first to introduce the variety into South Australia, when he imported Palomino cuttings directly from Spain for his vineyard at Clarendon in 1849.

Clear, clean, and lively on the nose, this is easily a summertime quaffer.  I would call this an “unmessed-with wine”; it tastes like a wine rather than a commodity.

Mom, who loves a nice Kabinett Reisling, fell in love with this wine when I smuggled it into the care center where she’s a patient.

“It’s not sweet,” she noted, “but there’s a hint of some kind of sugar but it’s not sugar.”

“It’s the fruitiness of the wine,” I said, marveling at her perceptiveness.  “There’s never any sugar added to good wine.”  She nodded knowingly, and sipped more out of the glass (polycarbonate from Target because I didn’t want to risk real glass), and decided that this was her new favorite. I asked if she wanted me to pour the wine into a cup instead of the wine glass and she gave me a “look.”

“I’ll drink from the wine glass. If they have a problem with it, f**k ‘em.”

Aright then!

Just as an FYI, Mom (Tough Old Broad™) had a serious brain injury in 2012 which required two surgeries and has been under hospital care ever since.  She’s almost 94, and if she wants wine, she gets wine. The injury may cause her to be a little, um, *scattered* from time to time, but she otherwise has all of her faculties.  Thus, the drinking of the new wine out of a wine glass.

“You never drink wine out of a cup.”E Velho White