I have long considered Soalheiro’s white reserva to be one of Portugal’s great white wines. Costing €24.95 (Apolónia), this is not a white for everyday drinking, but it is, in fact, excellent value for money when compared to many of the premium Portuguese whites that have come onto the market over recent years costing a great deal more.
Soalheiro Reserva is made from the Alvarinho grape, but it is a wine that has always reminded me of good white Burgundy; a white of great complexity and structure that can hold its own at the table just as well with grilled meats as with a fish dish in a creamy sauce and also makes for an outstanding cheese wine.
Soalheiro launched this wine in 2006 and it was the first oaked Alvarinho to reach the market. And, over the years, they have worked to perfect the technique of combining careful oak work with premium quality fruit.
The wine is fermented and aged in mostly used French oak barrels of varying ages with just 25% of each vintage seeing new (medium toasted) oak, followed by bottle ageing before release.
The 2018 currently on the market displays a pale golden hue with elegant aromas of honeyed citrus and tropical fruits and undertones of well-integrated oak. In the mouth, there is great freshness and a solid mineral structure with layers of flavours and a lovely dry finish.