Arinto Grape Variety & Wine Profile
Arinto is a popular native Portuguese white grape that is commonly found in white blends throughout the country. It is planted primarily in the regions of Bucelas, Tejo, Vinho Verde, Alentejo and the Azores Islands.
Arinto grapes produce wines with extremely high acidity and are often added to lower-acid wines to improve the blends, especially in hot, dry regions such as Alentejo. Some of the best examples of wines made from this grape are found in the small DOC of Bucelas, which is north of Lisbon in the Estremadura region. In Bucelas, Arinto must be 75% of the blend, and is often combined with Sercial and Rabo de Ovelha. In the popular Vinho Verde region, Arinto is known by the name “Pedernã.”
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In the vineyard, Arinto is a late-ripening, medium-sized yellowish grape that grows in tightly packed bunches on vines with big leaves for shading. The vines grow best in chalky soils. Though it is resistant to heat and does well in dry regions, it can be susceptible to drought and Botrytis.
Tasting Notes of Arinto Wines
Arinto grapes make a light or medium-bodied, high-acid wine with flavors of lemon, apple, chalky minerality, and sometimes tropical notes. Though it is often blended in order to increase the acid in a white wine, it can be made into a single varietal, especially in the Bucelas region.
In regions such as Alentejo, Arinto is often blended with varieties such as Antão Vaz, Fernão Pires, Roupeiro, and Verdelho. Arinto’s high acidity also makes it an ideal candidate for sparkling wines. This grape benefits from extensive maceration and long fermentation at low temperatures. It can be oaked and reach a level of richness similar to a Chardonnay. Though most Arinto wines are made to be drunk young, they can be aged for several years and develop more complex tertiary flavors.
Arinto Food Pairing
Because of the grape’s natural high acidity, wines made with Arinto can be great for food pairing. The best pairings are richer seafood dishes such as Portuguese bacalhau (salt cod), scallops in citrus butter sauce, or any fresh lobster or crab dish. Other food pairing options include lightly dressed salads, marinated antipasto, and grilled vegetables. Wines like Vinho Verde, which include Arinto, are also perfect on their own as a light summertime sipping wine for a picnic or aperitif.
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Written By Jacqueline Coleman
Jacqueline Coleman is a professional wine + travel writer, wine judge, columnist, and consultant based in Miami, FL.