Soalheiro gets in on the pink

Supermarket shelves these days are awash with rosé wine, some of it very good, some of it rather bland and uninteresting, and most of it riding on the back of the exponential growth in popularity of the pale salmon, pink style of rosé from Provence.

The newest launch of any relevance here in Portugal is “Mineral Rosé” from Soalheiro, which stands out for being quite different to anything else on the market.

Soalheiro, as you probably know, is one of the great names in Vinho Verde, justly recognised as one of the most important producers of high-quality Alvarinho varietals. This is not strictly their first dabble with pink wine as some years ago they launched Soalheiro Rosé Brut, an excellent sparkler.

With the launch of this new rosé, Soalheiro have clearly set out to create something different, starting with the production method. Whereas most rosé wine is made from red wine grapes with minimal exposure to (and hence colour extraction from) the skins, this is made predominantly from the white Alvarinho grape along with a little Pinot Noir, with both varieties fermented together.

It is the quality of Soalheiro Alvarinho that shines through here, both on the nose and in the palate, almost obscuring subtle cherry notes from the Pinot. This wine is unusually dry for a rosé, with good acidity and minerality; in fact, it is quite easy to forget that we are drinking a rosé at all and enjoy this wine as another very good Alvarinho from Soalheiro.

Last weekend I could not find it in the shops, but I am told that the retail price will be around €12 and that it should be on sale very soon. An excellent wine to serve as an aperitif or to enjoy with salads, grilled fish and seafood.

By Patrick Stuart