It’s Got Soal…and it’s Super Bad!

It’s Got Soal…and it’s Super Bad!

Posted on Jun, 09. 2011 by

Categories: Wine

There, I got my groan-inducing pun out of the way (I’ve been listening to some old JB cuts today, so I could be forgiven). Anyway, what I’m on about is a rockin’ new Portuguese Alvarinho, Soalheiro, which is the solution to your white wine doldrums (you know, it gets hot, and all you want to drink is either beer or white wine, but after awhile, all those inexpensive whites just start running together…) I tasted this a couple weeks ago next to a few other similar wines, and it’s been on my list ever since.

This stud of a wine is from the far northern Vinho Verde sub-regions of Monção and Melgaço: roughly 10 granite-ey hectares in an area the locals call the “Suntrap”…Alvarinho (known as Albariño up in Spain) grows really well here (it’s common in many Vinho Verdes, actually). Let’s get this out of the way now, though: This is no Vinho Verde! If you want cheap gulping wine, we brought in a few cases of the Famega Vinho Verde recently. But the Soalheiro is on another level entirely—a level you’ve gotta get to. This is one of those wines that, to me, is a melange—a beautiful synergy of the best elements from other wines/grapes from other places. Honestly, I’ve never been able to really geek out about Spanish Albariño. It’s almost always passable, but rarely very unique, delineated or precise in any way. The Soalheiro, on the other hand, is all of those things. It’s got the wet-stone minerality of a classically-styled Sancerre; the acidity and layered precision of a sec Chenin, the fruity ripeness of Spanish Albariño, and the refreshingly clean and crisp profile of a Vinho Verde (it’s even got that slight green tinge and a touch of spritz!)

Oh, and it’s deep! There are layers here, depth, real character. It’s everything I’ve always wanted Albariño to be, everything I knew it could be. And it’s frankly unlike any white I’ve had lately…you could say it scratches that itch—a refreshing summer wine that is different without being wonky or weird for weirdness’ sake. This isn’t something you slog down every hot afternoon to cool down and relax, though; it’s something that you open to break the steady stream of cheap vinho verde, to serve with good food, or to just geek out over. It’s Albariño, er, Alvarinho, done right.

2010 Soalheiro Alvarinho
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $16.50 • Premier Cru: $17.25 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $23.25
Buy Now!

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