Quinta de Soalheiro, located just along the southern shore of the Minho River on the Galicia-Spain border, is truly one of Portugal’s ROCKSTAR wineries.
Granit is made from Alvarinho grapes from a specific selection of small vineyards planted in sandy granitic soil. Today, these vineyards lie at around 400 meters in altitude in the sub-region of Monção and Melgaço. As the vineyard placement increases in altitude, the fruity characteristics of Alvarinho give way to more acidity and mineral notes. The parcels are chosen due to the minerality and less fertile qualities of the soil, causing the roots of the Alvarinho grapevines to root deep in the mountain slopes to find nutrients.
The grapes from these high-altitude vineyards are harvested by hand. After pressing, and before fermentation, the must is clarified. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats at a higher temperature than is usual for white wine (22°C). This assures that Alvarinho’s naturally fruity character does not outshine the delicate minerality of this wine. Bâtonnage and ageing on the fine lees improve the structure of the wine before its bottling.
Granit has a bright, lemon-yellow color, exhibiting elegant aromas with more mineral notes. The taste is crisp, vibrantly refreshing, dry, with more earthy and stony flavors. Citrus zest. Slightly under ripe pear and apple. Crushed stone. Great purity, but with the sensation of saltiness on the palate, reflecting the impact of the granite soils on Alvarinho.
“The 2021 Alvarinho “Granit” is an unoaked Alvarinho. It is dry and comes in at 12.46% alcohol. This has a somewhat more aggressive profile than the friendly (regular) Alvarinho, with the acidity here a little more prominent. That is completely relative, though. This is more along the lines of what I expected from the regular (or “Classico”). There is some tension in the finish, but the good fruit balances it well. This is, in fact, impeccably balanced and very expressive. It just tastes great. The fruit is more interesting than the structure, and there isn’t a lot of nuance or complexity. Perhaps that will come. This property has a reputation for long-lived wines, so there is no rush. I’m not sure this will be the longest-lived example in their history, but it should hold at least a decade from the vintage date. There is really no reason to wait. This is drinking well now. 2022-2031″. – 90 points, Wine Advocate (November 30th, 2022)