Wine of the week: a far from foolish vinous venture
This is one of the most arresting Portuguese whites I have ever tasted, says Matthew Jukes.
2019 Howard’s Folly, Sonhador Branco, Alentejo, Portugal
The Howard in question is Howard Bilton, an ebullient Yorkshireman with a deep love of great wine and fine art. The Folly part is a warning to anyone who is not aware that making wine is never a very good idea if you are hoping to make profits! Nevertheless, Howard has set up a stunning winery and restaurant in the pretty town of Estremoz, in the Alentejo region of Portugal, where he makes delicious wines with arty labels under the guidance of his talented and highly decorated winemaker David Baverstock. Please do also take a look at the Sovereign Art Foundation to see the amazing charity that Howard set up nearly 20 years ago and the great work it does for disadvantaged children living in Asia.
Howard’s Folly brings wine and art together and my featured wine is Howard’s most accomplished white to date – and the label is jolly cute, too. Made from ancient vines, with no less than ten indigenous varieties in the mix, and coming from smallholdings situated in the high altitude Portalegre district of Portugal, this is a vinous snapshot of the country’s history like no other.
Kaleidoscopically perfumed, finely balanced and with careful oak augmentation adding drama, this is one of the most arresting Portuguese whites I have ever tasted.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com).