This northern grape is one of Portugal's finest and most characterful. It was one of the first Portuguese grape varieties to be bottled as a single variety. Its full-bodied, subtly fragrant white wines are easy to recognise, their complex but delicate aromas reminiscent of peach, lemon, passion fruit, lychee, orange zest, jasmin, orange blossom and lemon balm.
The wines are delicious young, but they can also age well, often for ten years or more. Alvarinho grows mostly along the River Minho, right up in the north of the Vinho Verde region - the northern Vinho Verde sub-regions of Monção and Melgaço are its famous heartlands. Compared to other Vinho Verde, it makes richer wines, higher in alcohol.
Alvarinho vines are vigorous, and care is needed to restrain their exuberant vegetation, yet grape yield is low, the bunches small, the grapes very pippy.