Some sophisticated Alvarinho bubbles

The versatility of the Alvarinho grape never ceases to surprise and no producer has been quite as adventurous with the variety as Soalheiro. Starting from the original label Soalheiro Alvarinho white wine that was launched back in the 90s, they have expanded the portfolio to include no less than 11 different wines made exclusively from the variety.

In general, they do not oak their wines, with the one exception – until the launch of this sparkler – being the excellent Alvarinho Soalheiro Reserva, a wine that demonstrates like no other the great ageing potential of Alvarinho. Pick up a bottle of the Reserva from a few years ago and you will be drinking one of Portugal’s greatest white wines.

They have been producing some very good sparkling wines for quite some time – especially popular is the Rosé Brut.

This new oaked sparkling wine was launched last year after three years of bottle-ageing in the cellars. From the 2014 vintage, the base wine was fermented on the lees and aged for 12 months in used oak casks before the second fermentation in the bottle and cellaring. This is a wine of some complexity, straw yellow in colour with a very fine and persistent bubble, notes of toast, mature white fruits and candied lemon on the nose.

In the mouth, it has considerable body and great acidity. Not an aperitif wine by any means, but a high-quality sparkling wine to pair with food, especially with creamy sauces.

Around €17 in good supermarkets and wine shops.

Patrick Stuart
[email protected]