On the blogby Alfred
March 12 2020

Quinta de Soalheiro, Vinho Verde Portugal

by Pasquale Charland

This area is the northernmost in Portugal, so far north that on the other side of the mountains, we are in Spain. A family that has four generations in the business world. Who is undoubtedly the pioneer in the creation of Alvarinho wine in Melgaço. An international reference for this type of grape variety that blends perfectly with the green landscape all around. It was in the 1970s that a passion for winemaking led Joao Antonio Cerdeira, with the help of his father, to plant his first Alvarinho vine and thus create the brand in 1982. The rest of the family joined the project. His daughter Maria Palmira and his son Antonio Luis will pursue the passion and dream, taking great care to keep the values of the estate intact in the pursuit of the family business.

Its geographical position, protected by the mountain range, gives it the necessary conditions for the best maturation. There are 16 different products, from white to red and then from rosé to sparkling wines, without forgetting a unique spirit, the last one in the family of products. The place is magnificent; a modern tasting room, adjacent to a panoramic terrace with a spectacular view of the Minho river valley. It is Antonio Luis, the winemaker, who is certainly the most visionary and avant-garde of the Vinho Verde region. He takes risks with his wines that others simply do not dare to take.

He works the wine in different kinds of fermentation tanks. The operations room is a good example of this. There are steel vats, large concrete casks, neutral oak barrels, slightly larger French oak barrels and longer chestnut barrels. In Spain, which is right next door, a very popular method exists, that of the pergola system where the vines are trained high up to hang an aerial trellis system. In Monção e Melgaço you can see vines in pergola, but this is not the family’s favorite method. Instead, the Cruzeta trellis model is chosen. Concrete posts are often seen for the oldest vines, which are now over 40 years old, while the youngest are around 15 years old.

 It is the fourth largest producer of Vinho Verde, wines sold all over the world. A reputation which is not to be made any more. A family that takes to heart careful work, constantly seeking perfection. Love, passion, for their profession, respect for the land and as main values, a tightly woven family that makes great wines!

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