Here are two recommendations from Portugal. First up is Niepoorts Redoma branco. Apart from Vinho verde, Portugal is not know to produce any white wine which praise the critics beyond the countrys borders. But here is a high bench mark - for what old native douro grapes (Rabigato,Codega, Donzelinho, Viosinho, Arinto) may evolve into when grown between 400-800 meters height in Duoro schist soils, and more importantly in the hands of the right wine maker.
Second, the first 100% merlot on Grape juices, Ma Partilha from Setubal. This region is known for planting the first international grape varities such as merlot and cab. sauvignon. The big producer, Bacalhoa, produces both great blends but Ma Partilha (translates into "poorly or unevenly shared") is a mono casta and 100% merlot.
Niepoort Redoma Branco 08
Bouquet of exotic fruits, peachy, nuts (hazel/almonds) and vague hints of petroleum. The taste is finely balanced and neither”fat” or sweet, but crispy. This reminds me very much of Chablis when its good from Bourgogne. Locally bought 18€, 91P+
Ma Partilha 07
Dark red berries, young leather, tobacco leaves, green coffe beans and ”moist cellar”. The wine is tight with a peppery taste, and keeps its figure, rather than being jammy. Generally mid range Portuguese wine is produced to drink right away, but here I sense potential for development in the cellar. Locally bought 13 eur, 89P