Cellar

Vines

A special microclimate

The Alvarinho grapes used in the Soalheiro came from several small vineyards planted in granite soil between 100 and 400 meters and located in a very particular microclimate in Melgaço. 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.

A large proportion of the vineyards used in the Soalheiro Clássico comes from Quinta de Soalheiro where the grapes are grown organically, with the aim of promoting the biodiversity of fauna and flora. It is exclusively the fruit from these vines that we use to produce the Soalheiro Terramatter and the Soalheiro Nature.

Unique Terroir

Mountains

Mountains provide protection against the influence of the Atlantic and create a hydrographic basin with a specific microclimate which can be characterised overall as a temperate Atlantic climate. This mountain range mainly affects rainfall, humidity and air temperature – the key factors that determine the distinctive quality of our Alvarinho.

Temperature

High average air temperatures during the summer months coincide with the ripening of the grapes, giving us hot days and cool nights, while favouring moderate alcohol contents with fresh acidity and aromatic intensity.

Rainfall

In the basin of the Minho River, which encompasses the Monção and Melgaço sub-region, rainfall occurs mainly during the winter months, replenishing the soil’s water reserves and promoting balanced ripening.

Soils of Granitic Origin

Compared to the rest of the Vinhos Verdes region, this area has moderate rainfall, which, together with its well-drained granitic soils, promotes the quality of the grapes and the mineral character present in practically all Soalheiro wines.

Training Systems

Low-trained Vine System

80% of the vines are low-trained - a well-adapted system introduced to the Alvarinho region. 50% of the Loureiro (blended with Alvarinho in the Soalheiro ALLO) stems from this training system and from the Vinhos Verdes region with its Atlantic influence, similar to the Lima Valley. The Loureiro grape variety has primary aromas of litchi, and this Atlantic terroir gives us a perfect expression. We blend the grapes from this training system with the fruit harvested from the high-trained vines in order to achieve a better balance of flavours and low alcohol levels, in line with the Soalheiro style, with great fruit intensity and the desired touch of minerality. In this system, the grapes are only partially exposed to the sun, which helps to preserve the full aromatic profile of the grapes and achieve a perfect balance between acidity, flavour and moderate alcohol levels.

High-trained Vine System

19% of the vineyards are high-trained - this is the system which is used extensively all over the world. It exists in different variations (Royat, Sylvoz, Guyot, Bilateral, etc.) and provides the grapes with plenty of sun exposure, while reducing the acidity and aromas. These grapes are used for blending and producing wines such as the Soalheiro Reserva where aromatic intensity is of less importance. The Vinhão grape variety used in the Soalheiro Oppaco and the Touriga Nacional variety used in the Brut Rosé originate from our high-trained vines. 50% of the Loureiro used in blends with Alvarinho (Soalheiro ALLO) stems from this system and from the Vinhos Verdes region with its Atlantic influences similar to the Lima Valley. Loureiro has primary aromas of litchi, and this Atlantic terroir gives us a perfect expression. We blend the grapes from these high-trained vines with those of the low-trained vines to achieve a better balance of flavours and low alcohol levels.

"Ramada" or "Parreira"

1% of the vines are trained according to this system which is frequently used in Galicia for the production of Alvarinho wines. In this system, the grapes have the lowest direct exposure to the sun, providing a highly intense aromatic profile as well as very high acidity levels at harvest. Usually the wines created from these grapes undergo malolactic fermentation, which reduces the change in aromatic intensity profile on the palate. At Soalheiro, these grapes are used for blending and for various wines requiring a malolactic profile.

Quinta de Soalheiro has been evolving steadily and gradually. The recently refurbished winery creates a space which optimises winemaking capacity, with specific sections dedicated to fermentation and ageing, maintaining ideal conditions for the wines to express their unique character. Every tiny but essential detail is carefully considered in order to ensure consistent quality in these great wines, creating a space which functionally respects winegrowing and winemaking traditions and opens the doors to discovering the different Soalheiros.

Soalheiro is considered an expert in Alvarinho by international and national opinion leaders. Several versions of this variety are highlighted in our range of wines:

Intense: a vision of fruit represented in the Soalheiro Clássico, which is 100% Alvarinho and indeed a classic as it is our wine with the greatest international presence. Not forgetting the Soalheiro ALLO and Soalheiro 9%, two innovative wines that stand out due to their moderate alcohol contents and great elegance and freshness, which set out to highlight that moderately low alcohol is also associated with high quality wines.

Mineral: a mineral vision of the Alvarinho variety, with Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas, a benchmark among Alvarinhos, considered several times as the Best National White Wine. Soalheiro Reserva, the ultimate expression of the Alvarinho grape variety, barrel-fermented. In addition, there is the Soalheiro Granit and the first red wine, Soalheiro Oppaco, also a pioneer for being a red wine from the region produced with a batch of red grapes (Vinhão) and white grapes (Alvarinho).

Natural: our idea of natural wines are unfiltered wines, which find expression in Soalheiro Nature, without added sulphites but boasting a bold character; and in Soalheiro Terramatter, a more subtle and incredibly elegant wine. By launching these two natural wines, we have opened the doors to innovation and to a new and previously undiscovered world of tasting pleasures.

Sparkling: the two Soalheiro sparkling wines, the classic Soalheiro Bruto and the Soalheiro Bruto Rosé, are vastly different – the first one is made with 100% Alvarinho and offers a more aromatic profile, while the second one is more elegant and mineral, made from with Alvarinho and Touriga Nacional.

Spirits: the Quinta de Soalheiro Aged Alvarinho Grape Marc Spirit – from the first harvest, this spirit is distilled from the best Alvarinho grapes which are pressed and then aged for several years in oak barrels which lend it its colour and structure, and add to the intense aroma of the variety.