The First Brand of Alvarinho
Soalheiro has been evolving steadily. The recently refurbished winery creates a space that optimises its 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. The winery is a space that functionally respects winegrowing and winemaking traditions while opening its doors to new and creative styles of wine production. One of the most important features is a special place for innovation where our team and our winemaker can discover new wines and processes. Here we also invite friends to realize their dreams, with our help, through a special incubator project.
Alvarinho is the heart and soul of our operation and the centre of our wines. Through different labels, our goal is to express the varietal’s many personalities. We organize our diverse range of wines into several families: fruity, mineral, natural, sparkling, and a special category called ‘Innovation and Partnership’.
This family of wines is the expression of the terroir in the valley, where the soils are richer and the grapes, in consequence, full of precursor aromas. A vision of fruit is expressed in the Soalheiro Alvarinho Clássico, which is 100% Alvarinho. As our wine with the greatest international presence, it is indeed a classic. We cannot forget to mention Soalheiro ALLO and Soalheiro 9%, two innovative wines that stand out due to their moderate alcohol contents and great elegance and freshness.
This family of wines are dry and characterized by rich, stony flavours and a sensation of saltiness in the mouth. These flavours and aromas are even more expressive when the grapes come from terroirs where the soil is very poor, or the vines are old. Coming from our first vineyards, a mineral profile of the variety is expressed in Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas, a benchmark among Alvarinhos and considered several times as the Best National White Wine. Soalheiro Reserva features minerality that is a result of the ageing, complemented by light, smooth tannins due to barrel-fermentation. Next, there is Soalheiro Granit, from the vineyards grown on the slopes of the mountains. Our first red wine, Soalheiro Oppaco, is a pioneer that introduces Pinot Noir and Alvarinho from the mountain into a blend with Vinhão, a local red variety. We ventured into the world of Rosés with the launch of the Soalheiro Mineral Rosé, a dry and light-coloured rose in the style of Provence, but from our Minho region. Finally, Soalheiro Sauvignon Blanc & Alvarinho represents a true exploration into the potential of our terroir, featuring a unique expression of Sauvignon Blanc reflecting our innovative spirit.
Our natural wines are unfiltered, organic wines that honestly express their origins. Soalheiro Nature is produced without added sulphites and boasts a bold character. Soalheiro Terramatter is a more subtle expression, with an elegance from partial fermentation in chestnut barrels. Through the development of these two natural wines, we convey our passion for innovation, opening the doors to new and previously unexplored characteristics of the Alvarinho varietal.
Soalheiro was the first producer to make sparkling wine with Alvarinho using the classic method of fermentation in the bottle. The classic Soalheiro Espumante Bruto Alvarinho was the first sparkling in our collection and the Soalheiro Espumante Bruto Rosé came shortly after. They are vastly different – the first is made with 100% Alvarinho and offers a more aromatic profile, while the second is more elegant and mineral, made with Alvarinho, Pinot Noir and Touriga Nacional. In 2019, two new dimensions of sparkling were released: Soalheiro Espumante Bruto Barrica and Soalheiro Espumante Bruto Nature. Bruto Barrica features higher flavour and persistent texture due to oak ageing before the second fermentation in the bottle. Soalheiro Espumante Bruto Nature, on the other hand, is the first Alvarinho sparkling produced without the addition of sulphites. With this wine the second fermentation happens in bottle with the addition of special Yeast Pearls but, following ancestral method, there is no disgorgement. Our sparkling wines come in a wide range of styles, expressing the versatility of our Territory.
Innovation and Partnership
At Soalheiro, innovation is something organic, always present in our DNA. The IDI certification that we achieved in 2020 organises our ideas and projects, making it easy to discover new processes and innovative products. The Soalheiro team, our oenologist, and local creative partners work together with only one objective: to grow our wine knowledge. In this family, we organise the wines that are the result of our experiments and partnerships. In each wine, we explain the philosophy and the concept.
The distillation of the fermented skins of Alvarinho obtained after pressing has a long tradition at Soalheiro. In the past, all the producers of grapes made small distillations for their own consumption. We are no different and, in the early days of our winery, Joao Antonio Cerderia created a quality Bagaceira that aged for many years in oak barrels. After tasting it each year, our winemaker decided that it would benefit from at least 20 years of ageing. In the first years it is aged in young oak, then it moves to old oak and, finally, it ages in old port wine barrels. Since our first harvest, this spirit has been distilled from the best Alvarinho grapes. The complex ageing process gives it a special colour and structure, complementing the intense aromatics intrinsic to the variety.