New to JN is the new exciting range from Quinta de Soalheiro in northern Portugal. Located within the Vinho Verde region, the idyllic micro-climate of Melgaço is protected from the blustery Atlantic coast by the Peneda mountains, resulting in the perfect conditions of rainfall, temperature and, most importantly, sunshine – inspiring the name Soalheiro. João Antonio Cerdeira planted the first Alvarinho (better known as the Spanish Albariño) vines here in 1974, when viticulture in the area was not only rare, but only recently legal! The first Soalheiro wines were released in 1982 and have been steadily building a reputation as being the finest Alvarinhos in northern Portugal, and most recently have fully converted to organic practices. After a visit earlier this year to João and his son Luis, Jim has chosen four of their finest wines to bring a little sunshine to our shores!
Quinta de Soalheiro Alvarinho 2012
Luis calls 2012 a "perfect harvest". The end result seems quite brilliant. Crisp, focussed and pure, with just a bit of a lemony note early on, it is a beautifully wrought, very precise and very concentrated Alvarinho. It is intense, yet transparent and expressive.
Quinta de Soalheiro Alvarinho-Loureiro 2012
A careful blend of the noble grape varieties of Minho in northern Portugal. The wine sports a yellow colour and presents citrus flavours with elegance and minerality. The Alvarinho, full of tropical fruit and structure, contrasts with the Loureiro, floral and full of elegance, which gives this wine a lovely balance.
Quinta de Soalheiro Alvarinho Reserva 2011
Amazing as it seems to some people, there are Vinho Verdes that actually age and develop. Fermentation and ageing take place in French oak. The wine is elegant, full-flavoured and complex while maintaining the freshness and fruit of Alvarinho grape.
Quinta de Soalheiro Alvarinho Espumante 2011
This sparkling wine is made in the traditional method which entails a second fermentation in bottle followed by the various procedures that are followed in Champagne production. The wine is a yellow citrus colour with fine and persistent bubbles. Lovely aromas flow from the Alvarinho grapes and the wine shows a classy balance between acidity and alcohol.