Another take on Alvarinho

There seems to be no stopping Soalheiro when it comes to creating different wines from the Alvarinho grape up in the Minho region. It was not so long ago that their portfolio featured just their mainstream Alvarinho label, the excellent barrel-fermented Reserva and, what I and many wine lovers consider to be one of the best Portuguese white wines, their Primeiras Vinhas.

When wine writer Jancis Robinson was asked to select her top 10 Portuguese wines last month, Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas was the only white wine she included in the line-up.

Soalheiro can arguably be considered the top producer of Alvarinho.

Today the portfolio includes no less than eight entirely different whites made from the grape, showing just how versatile the variety can be, not to mention their sparkling wines and an unusual red, made from a local red grape blended with Alvarinho.

Amongst their most recent wines, first produced from the 2015 vintage, is Soalheiro Granit, made from vines at higher altitude with, as the name suggests, granite rich soil.

This is the driest of all the Soalheiros, but a wine of some complexity with good body in the mouth and citric/tropical fruit notes on the nose and palate. The minerality of the soil lends the wine a slatey finish and vibrant acidity. Like most good Alvarinho, it is well suited to bottle ageing – €12.95 in Apolónia.

By Patrick Stuart
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