The Quinta de Soalheiro is to be found about as far north as you can go in Portugal, in the sub region of Monçao e Melgaço. They are almost in sight of the Spanish border and are a good distance from the sea so they get less of the downpours so frequent in this part of Iberia.
Organically grown alvarinho grapes are cultivated on 15 hectares of vineyards on granitic slopes at 100 to 200 metres altitude, sheltered by a range of mountains but with wonderful exposure to the sun. Indeed, the name Soalheiro is derived from the Portuguese for ‘sunny place’.
João Antonio Cerdeira is an oenologist with experience of working in Burgundy and he planted the first alvarinho vines here in 1974, lured by the special microclimate and before the region was even a recognised wine growing area. In 1982 he released the first Soalheiro wine.
Today the estate is run by his sons Luís and João, with the help of their sister Maria, who make the most of the now mature vines with low yields and expert winemaking. They are widely regarded as the most serious grower of alvarinho in Portugal.