A California-style white… from Portugal! What a fascinating wine discovery! The 2008 Dona Ermelinda White (http://www.ermelindafreitas.pt/en/) is a blend of several native and often unfamiliar Portuguese grapes (Fernao Pires, Arinto, Antao Vaz) and 30% very familiar Chardonnay, the grape responsible for white Burgundies and countless world famous white wines from around the globe. The color is golden while the nose is immediately pungent and rich with strong foreshadowing of oak and fruit flavors to come. The mouth-feel is surprisingly heavy for a white wine from the ‘old world’ of Portugal where white wines mainly expected to be light and taught. At first sip, tropical fruit flavors burst forth, followed by a succession of oak and spice with hints of honey and peach. Overall, this wine reminds me much more of a California Chardonnay than a traditional Portuguese white. And while Chardonnay is only 30% of the cuvee, I imagine many unsuspecting palates in a blind tasting might mistake this wine for a Napa Chardonnay! This is a well balanced, well made wine that surprises with its richness and oak flavors. This white is recommended for those who enjoy rich California whites but like to try new wines from lesser known grapes. You won’t be disappointed.