2020 Soalheiro, Primeiras Vinhas, Alvarinho, Vinho Verde, Portugal
I experienced a eureka moment in August. While dining at a smarty-pants fish restaurant in Portugal, a wine waiter asked me if I wanted to taste a “special wine” they had just received but that hadn’t yet made it onto the wine list. Of course, my answer was yes. I am sure many readers will be familiar with Soalheiro – Portugal’s most famous, ubiquitous, bargain-priced and, it has to said, delicious Vinho Verde.
Goodness knows how many cases are made of this stuff because it lines up on every supermarket shelf in the country. In fact, it is one of the most exciting things about summer hols! I was aware of a hierarchy of VVs from this terrific winery, but I rarely come across them, and so when I was presented with 2020 Primeiras Vinhas by a sommelier who was bursting with pride and eager to know my thoughts, I was a little more than excited. This is, without any shred of doubt, the finest VV I have ever tasted, and it arrived in the country a few weeks ago.
We tend to drink Vinho Verde ice-cold under a blazing sun, but this top-of-the-range wine, made from the original and oldest vines and seeing the merest hint of oak, is a true epicurean’s delight. It is exquisitely expressive in every department without ever overstepping the mark. Chablis fans will know what I mean when I say it is the Raveneau of Vinho Verde. And when you have experienced this epic treat, track down 2020 Granit (handford.net, butlers-winecellar.co.uk, vinoteca.co.uk), another sensational wine from the Soalheiro portfolio.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com)