First taste: Valados de Melgaço – powerful Alvarinho
Our glorious bout of sunny spring weather cries out for a bountiful, fresh white, bursting with fruit. I reckon Alvarinhos from Vinho Verde’s Monçao e Melgaço sub-region – all sunshine and piquancy – fit the bill rather well. I didn’t get around to tasting the wines of Valados de Melgaço at Simplesmente Vinho, so I’m glad co-founder Artur Meleiro sent me samples. A great new find, with its muscular fruit, the range includes an impressive no added sulphur Alvarinho.
As the name indicates, the grapes are grown in the Melgaço part of this acclaimed Alvarinho-focused sub-region; in Paderne to be precise. Quinta de Golães – a four hectare vineyard – has been in Meleiro’s family for three generations, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the industrial engineer pursued the dream to release wines under an own label. Prior to that, the grapes were sold Adega Cooperativa de Monção.
‘Valados’ means terraces and Quinta de Golães’ vines – aged between 10 and 30 years – are located on terraced slopes, averaging 150m in altitude. Since the first vintage, grapes have also been sourced from selected growers in the neighborhood, whose vineyards have similar characteristics and production has mushroomed. However, judging by the wines, quality has not been compromised for quantity; all are certified DOC Monçao e Melgaço Vinho Verde. Below are my tasting notes.
The wines are imported into the UK by The Portuguese Fine Wine Company.
Quinta de Golães White 2016
This hand picked whole bunch pressed single vineyard white is a traditional blend of Alvarinho (over 85%) with Loureiro and Trajadura, sourced from a mix of old and young vines. The wine was cool fermented in stainless steel at 17 degrees centigrade, where it aged on lees for five months, the first wth batonnage. The Loureiro is immediately evident on the nose, which features delicate cucumber and bath salts riffs. In the mouth, the other varieties come to the fore. It reveals fresh pear with citrus and saline notes and has a silky, honeyed quality, which brings extra depth – an attractive complexity and richness to the palate. Good underlying acidity lends drive and persistence. As with all the wines, on day two, it retains excellent fruit power. These are muscular, concentrated but beautifully balanced wines. 12.5%
Valados de Melgaço Alvarinho Natural Winemaking 2016
This cuvee has no added sulphites. The fruit was de-stemmed and, prior to a cool fermentation in stainless steel at 17 degrees centigrade, the must underwent a period of skin contact. It was aged for 2 months on lees with batonnage before being transferred to oak for a further 8 months elevage. Though the fruit is less showy than the exuberant Reserva, it is impressive for this well structured no added sulphur wine. It has nice detail too, with very attractive nuances of orange blossom/orange skin, honey, juicy pineapple and fennel to its concentrated core of fruit, which holds up very well on day two. Muscular with good drive, the finish is long and lip smacking, with lovely mouthfeel and minerality. 13%
Valados de Melgaço Reserva Alvarinho 2016
Handpicked fruit was de-stemmed and, prior to a cool fermentation in stainless steel at 17 degrees centigrade, the must underwent a period of skin contact. It was aged for 5 months on lees, the first month with batonnage. The Reserva has a tighter pithier nose and delivers great intensity of fruit on the palate with scented grapefruit oil notes – an attractive bitter citrus edge – to nose and palate (incidentally, a vintage note, which I’ve picked up in other 2016s). In the mouth it has very firm, focused acidity, with tight pithy grapefruit and fleshier pineapple. Exotic orange blossom and a hint of fennel seed make for layer and lift. Again, remains powerful on day two, when that enticing citrus oil character – a foil to the fruit- is more pronounced. Impressive line and length. 13%