Alvarinho is a white variety of the Vitis Vinifera species and comes from the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the noblest of Portuguese white grape varieties and produces a very high quality wine.
Casta Alvarinho is one of the finest Portuguese grape varieties, and is responsible for the success of the first Portuguese monovarietal wines.
It is a very old variety, and although the yield is low it is a very vigorous vine. Widespread in the Monção and Melgaço sub-region, it produces small, winged, not very compact bunches. The grape is of medium size, round and yellowish, developing pink tones when it is very ripe.
It gives rise to wines with an intense, distinct, delicate and complex aroma, ranging from quince, peach, banana, lemon and lychee (fruity character), orange blossom and violet flower (floral character), hazelnut and walnut (nutty character) and honey (caramelized character). The flavour is complex, soft, round, harmonious, full-bodied and persistent.
The sub-region includes the municipalities of Monção and Melgaço, which enjoy a very special micro-climate. It is exposed to the Atlantic and the climate is characterized by high rainfall, air humidity, mild temperatures with a small range, which gives the Alvarinho wine its unique features.
The history of the two municipalities, Monção and Melgaço, that constitute the sub-region stretches back over 700 years. The two towns are adorned with magnificent castles which have defended the territory since Portugal won its independence.
Monção has a tradition of vine cultivation. According to several authors, the fact that the charter granted by Afonso III, dated 12 March 1261, recognizes the ownership of the vineyards by the inhabitants of Monção, shows us the importance of the town at the time.