Arinto is a high yielding Portuguese white wine grape variety that is known for its quality varietal wines and contribution to blends. It retains its acidity well, even when grown in warm to hot climates. Arinto is resistant to water deficits in the warmer months, but due to its compact clusters can be susceptible to bunch rot – though in the Parlier (Fresno County, California) trials it was observed that Arinto did not rot as would be expected from such tight clusters.
Origins and History
Arinto is a white wine grape variety from the Bucelas region north of Lisboa, Portugal. Arinto is among the oldest of Portuguese varieties, and was first noted in Portugal’s first written viticultural treatise in 1712.
Arinto’s cultivation expanded north from Lisboa to Bairrada, and then the Vinho Verde region where it is now considered a traditional variety.
While Arinto’s exact parentage is unknown, it is genetically close to another old variety that was cultivated in Spain and Portugal named Trajadura.
Arinto’s leaves are medium in size and five-lobed. They are pentagonal in shape and a pale green color. They have a deep lyre or V-shaped overlapping petiolar sinus and overlapping lateral sinuses. There are short, moderately sharp teeth. The surface is slightly bullate and it has some tomentum on its underside, but the upper side has none.
Arinto has medium-sized clusters that are tightly packed. The clusters are generally conical with broad shoulders. Its small berries are obovoid shaped with a stylar scar. The skin on the berries is thin, green when shaded and yellow when exposed to sun, and can be transparent.
In Portugal, Arinto is adaptable and widely planted in regions with varying climates. From mediterranean-like climatic conditions, to temperate and humid regions. Arinto copes well if there are water shortages in the warmer months. It has the capacity to retain its acidity even when grown in hot climates.
The wines made from Arinto are known for their high acidity and citrusy aroma and flavors. They can be drunk young, or aged. Arinto is made as a varietal wine, or is useful in blends. A recent blend being produced in Portugal is Arinto and Sauvignon Blanc.
FPS. Foundation Plant Services, Grape Variety: Arinto. Foundation Plant Services Grapes. Available at: https://fps.ucdavis.edu/fgrdetails.cfm?varietyid=2273. (Accessed: 5th March 2023)
Schneider A. Mainardib G. Raimondi S. Viala P. Gallesio G. Illustrated historical universal ampelography: grape varieties from around the world Third ed. L’artistica editrice, 2012.
Robinson J. Harding J. Vouillamoz J. 2012. Winen Grapes: A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours. Harper Collins, NY.
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