Soalheiro Alvarinho 2019
Melgaco e Moncao
93 pts Robert Parker
The 2018 Alvarinho Primeiras Vinhas is partly (15%) oak aged for six months in used French barrels and comes in at 13% alcohol and is bone dry. When last seen, this was in a somewhat awkward condition, but it held plenty of promise. It is still a young puppy, but it is starting to fulfill that promise. Likely to be very long lived, this is textured with velvet and finishes with power. The modest wood treatment gives this a touch of cream, but the fruit easily rises above it while the acidity dices the wood into tiny splinters. By the next day, you hardly notice that there is wood. Overall, this is beautiful—not surprising for this benchmark bottling. It is still on the upswing. You might find rewards if you hold it for another couple of years. It will become more expressive. There is no rush to dive into it. It is a great value, always one of the best intersections of price and quality in the region. Of course, its unoaked siblings are as well. Which you prefer is often a matter of taste and how you intend to use them. They are very close this issue, but this might win because it is a year older and more developed.
The most serious of all of the Soalheiro whites. Made to drink now with some air, but even better with a little cellar time, this pleases both senses of pleasure and cerebral. Fermented in portions of steel and old chestnut barrels, the wine is aged in large neutral wood foudre. If you love great white Burgundy, Vouvray from the Loire, or northeastern Italian whites like Tocai this is your jam! This is my favorite wine they make and I buy a LOT of if personally for my own consumption. Drink now or aged for 10-15 years easy, it will evolve beautifully over the years.
The grapes are produced with the concept of organic viticulture and harvest by hand from the old vines with more than 40 years of age at Quinta de Soalheiro, the First Vines “Primeiras Vinhas”.
Currently in the blend also include a selection of Alvarinho grapes planted in Pie-franco (own rooted - not grafted like most vines). The microclimate that influences the production of Alvarinho grapes is very particular. The Melgaco region, the northernmost point of Portugal, is protected by a range of mountains that create the perfect conditions of rainfall, temperature and number of hours of sunshine needed to the better ripeness of the Alvarinho grapes.
The brand name – Soalheiro - arises from the excellent sun exposure of the vineyards bearing the same name - a sunny place.
Region Melgaço, Monção
Vinification The grapes are harvested manually in boxes of small capacity and carried to the cellar in a short space of time. After the pressing and the before fermentation with controlled temperature, the must was decanted during 48 hours. Fermentation essentially takes place in stainless steel vats at a very low temperature (only 15% of the total volume ferments in used oak barrels), and the wine is then kept on its fine sediments until the beginning of May. Part of the wine is also aged in large oak casks.