Monçao and Melgaço, Portugal
SALE $19.99 on 6+ (code: soalheiro)
The first wine offered is the workhorse ‘Alvarinho’, a wine that over-delivers in spades. Steel fermented and bottled, this is a clear, naked expression of the Avlarinho grape and its Melgaco terroir. Drink this now or wait for a few years. It can take some cellar time in stride, but honestly, it’s too delicious now to think of such patience! If you love new world Chardonnay WITHOUT OAK, Australian Semillon, fresher styled Viognier/Condrieu, or even the cousin wines from Galicia in Spain also made from Albarino (same grape) this is a wine you will love.
No rating yet, but 2020 was a GREAT vintage and I expect this to score 90-94 points and close to the 2019 in style so those scores and notes are below. This wine is VERY consistent in most vinatges.
2020 Not Yet Ratedrock solid
This wine is always consistent and gets better with bottle age too so you can keep them for a few years if you can manage to keep your hands off of them!
Winery on 2020: Soalheiro Alvarinho 2020: perfect, intense, elegant and with volume. A Classic in the Soalheiro. Aromatic freshness of Alvarinho variety, flavour intensity and unusual bottle longevity.
2019 for perspective: 92 pts Robert Parker Wine Advocate
The 2019 Alvarinho, the so-called unoaked "classico," is dry (three grams of residual sugar and 6.9 grams of total acidity) and comes in at 12.5% alcohol. On paper, this has a somewhat crisper demeanor than the 2018. Due to more cool days in 2019 and a harvest in the first week of September, the winery said the acidity was slightly higher with lower pH, and in their opinion, that contributed to the profile of Soalheiro. Comparing this to the Granit, as always, leads you to two completely different wines. The Granit seems lighter, tenser and more energetic. It is precise and focused. This does all that too, but the balance with the fruit is different—often, I say better, but not this year. The expression of fruit here is pure Alvarinho, but the Granit is no slouch. This Classico is ripe but lifted, though. It's pretty tasty in its youth too. Like the Granit, though, this might be better next year—although this is more approachable. They both will age well, as the winery's track record in general has frequently demonstrated over the years. (I still like to stay conservative in the drinking windows. You might not think 11 years is conservative for a Vinho Verde, but here it might well be.) This looks terrific this year, and it's typically a super value.