Monção and Melgaço, Vinho Verde DOC
António Luís Cerdeira
Quinta de Soalheiro is a leading wine estate nestled in Portugal’s verdant north, whose story and output is inseparable from the climb to international renown of the Alvarinho variety and the wines from Vinho Verde’s Monção e Melgaço subregion.
Soalheiro was founded in 1974 when João António Cerdeira and his parents, António Esteves Ferreira and Maria Cerdeira took the bold decision to plant a single, sun-soaked parcel of farmland entirely to Alvarinho. At the time, this decision was in stark contrast to the traditional practice of Portuguese farmers, which relegated grape vines to grow up pergolas planted at the periphery of dense cereal crops like maize. It was in this spirit of innovation and progress that one of western Iberia’s great wine producers was born. Today, third-generation siblings Maria João and António Luís, along with their mother Maria Palmira Cerdeira, continue to test limits and break new ground in pursuit of the finest expressions of their territory by way of the noble Alvarinho grape.
Rightfully bearing the name Granit, this wine is all about minerality. It offers less fruit and more acidity, revealing an unusual dimension of Alvarinho from granitic, high appellation vineyards. Its elegance and crisp texture make it a very gastronomic wine.
Granit is made from Alvarinho grapes from a specific selection of small vineyards planted in granitic soil. Today, these vineyards lie at around 400 meters in altitude in the sub-region of Monção and Melgaço. As the vineyard placement increases in altitude, the fruity characteristics of Alvarinho give way to more acidity and mineral notes. The parcels are chosen due to the minerality and less fertile qualities of the soil, causing the roots of the Alvarinho grapevines to root deep in the mountain slopes to find nutrients.WINEMAKING
The grapes from these high-altitude vineyards are harvested by hand. After pressing, and before fermentation, the must is clarified. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats at a higher temperature than is usual for white wine (72°C). This ensures that Alvarinho’s naturally fruity character does not outshine the delicate minerality that is sought after in this wine. Bâtonnage and ageing on the fine lees improve the structure of the wine before its bottling.
This wine is produced in a way that is vegetarian and vegan friendly.
Granit has a bright, lemon-yellow color, exhibiting elegant aromas with more mineral notes. The taste is crisp, dry, and persistent, with more earthy and stony flavors. There is a sensation of saltiness on the palate, reflecting the impact of the granite soils on Alvarinho.
With its mineral flavors and bracing acidity, Soalheiro Granit especially complements Mediterranean cuisine such as seafood, grilled fish, or oven-baked fatty fish. It also pairs well with white and smoked meats, mature cheeses, or delicate Asian dishes such as sushi or dumplings.