Primeiras Vinhas Alvarinho
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.
As the name of the wine indicates, Primeiras Vinhas (“First Vineyards”) sources its production from the old-vine fruit of the inaugural 1974 planting. This wine boasts an elegant structure and complexity, using old vines to create a new expression of the region’s winemaking potential.
First vines are located next to the winery, in the finest sites around the village of Alvaredo, 2.5 mi west of Melgaço and 11 mi east of Monção. The microclimate that influences the production of Alvarinho grapes is very particular. Melgaço region, the northern 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.”WINEMAKING
The grapes are produced with the concept of organic viticulture and harvest by hand from the old vines with more than 40 years at Quinta de Soalheiro, the First Vines “Primeiras Vinhas.” Currently in the blend also include a selection of Alvarinho grapes planted in Pé-franco. The grapes are harvested manually in small boxes and carried to the cellar in a short space of time. After the pressing the must is decanted for 48 hours.
The wine is fermented mostly in stainless steel at a very low temperature, with 15% fermented in old oak barrels for added richness; fine sediments are kept until the beginning of May. The blend also includes a partial ageing in large oak casks. The philosophy is to have more lees contact through bâtonnage. This gives structure to the wine and a different character from most Vinhos Verdes. The wine ages for 6 months before bottling.
This wine is produced in a way that is vegetarian and vegan friendly.
Citrus color, elegant and full flavor that grows in the glass, becoming increasingly persistent. The flavor is full-bodied, fresh and complex with great final complexity.
This wine is a versatile match for many plates. Ideal as an aperitif or to accompany seafood dishes, fish or poultry dishes.