Arinto is such a versatile variety that it has spread through most of Portugal, taking on quite disparate names depending on the region. These include Pedernã, Pé de Perdiz Branco (White Partridge Foot), Chapeludao, Cerceal, Azal Espanhol, Azal Galego and Branco Espanhol (Spanish White)!
It produces fresh, tense and vibrant wines with high natural acidity and marked mineral profile with good ageing potential. Unyielding acidity is Arinto's calling card, and it is precisely for that reason that it is described as being the Alentejo's best blending variety.
While Arinto is most famed in the Bucelas denominated wine region, where it is traditionally bottled as a varietal wine, in the Alentejo its grapes are used more in blends to provide that all-important acidity. It has a discreet aroma with no pretensions of exuberance or intensity, showing notes of green apple, lemon and lime accompanied by a vegetal character and mineral pungency. In specific cases it may take on a tropical character, evoking the exoticism of passion fruit.
Lengthy macerations and fermentations at low temperature put back any lustre that may have been lost. Oak fermentation also suits Arinto, although ageing potential in bottle is lost in this process.