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Soalheiro Alvarinho, Vinho Verde 2013

White Wine from Portugal
Delightfully fresh and refined alvarinho (Spain's albariño, whose natural home, Galicia, is just over Portugal's northern border with Spain) from one of the best and most experienced producers of the grape.
is no longer available
Code: PW4611

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • 1 - Bone dry
  • Albarino
  • 12.5% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Cork, natural

Portugal

Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the...
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.

The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.

Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.

Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.

Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties.

Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.

Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.

Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus

Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.

The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
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Quinta de Soalheiro

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.

2013 vintage reviews
2012 vintage reviews

Surrey Advertiser

If there's one winethat epitomises the quality revolution in Vinho Verde, this is it.

- Heather Dougherty

Scotland on Sunday

Enjoy, for instance,the fresh, clean, clover-influenced background to its attractive tropical fruitflavours, neatly balanced minerality and just a suggestion of sweetness on thefinish to add...
Enjoy, for instance,the fresh, clean, clover-influenced background to its attractive tropical fruitflavours, neatly balanced minerality and just a suggestion of sweetness on thefinish to add complexity. 
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- Brian Elliott

The Scotsman

The owner of Quintade Soalheiro, Jose Antonio Cerdeira, was the first to plant alvarinho vines in1974. Planted on granite soils in Moncao de Melgaco, almost within sight of theSpanish border, this is...
The owner of Quintade Soalheiro, Jose Antonio Cerdeira, was the first to plant alvarinho vines in1974. Planted on granite soils in Moncao de Melgaco, almost within sight of theSpanish border, this is certainly Portugal’s most serious alvarinho example. Iloved the sleekness, limey crisp flavours and succulent fruits on the palate.Very stylish packaging too.
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- Rose Murray Brown

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