The many flavours of Alvarinho: a masterclass with Quinta do Soalheiro



Quinta de Soalheiro is located in Melgaço in the far north east of Portugal, right at the top of Vinho Verde country.  They were an early adopter of alvarinho, planting the first vines in 1974.  Fifty years ago, most vinho verde was red, and alvarinho is modern in vinho verde terms, although it's now one of the main grapes alongside Arinto, Loureiro, and the less common Pedernã, Avesso, Azal, and Trajadura.

Soalheiro now make 10 different alvarinhos, all avoiding skin contact, and, on the evidence of this tasting (led by Luis Cerdeira, winemaker and CEO of Quinta do Soalheiro), all remarkably distinctive.  Indeed, this was a particularly interesting tasting that reset my view of alvarinho. Previously, I'd thought of it as making an enjoyable light wine that didn't get in the way of shellfish and other seafood.  The difference betwen these wines was remarkable. 

A large proportion of the vineyards used in the Soalheiro Clássico comes from Quinta de Soalheiro where the grapes are grown organically, and the biodiversity of fauna and flora is protected. The Soalheiro Terramatter and the Soalheiro Nature are produced exclusively from these organic vines.

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Last updated: 8 May 2019