Products & Producers

Paparico and Soalheiro, a friendship bond

It is always with great emotion that we see our partner brands celebrating 40 years of existence. With a very rich legacy in terms of Alvarinho wine, we sat down with António Luís Cerdeira, in an informal conversation as only two long-lasting friends could have. The truth is that this relationship between O Paparico and Soalheiro has lasted for over a decade and the bonds that unite us are always blessed with good wines and good gastronomy. It is at the table that lies the heart of many relationships and between us, it could not be otherwise.
One of Soalheiro's main characteristics is its capacity for reinvention. The tradition of innovation is a concept that defends the roots, but at the same time corroborates the adaptability to modern times.
"Innovation is always relative." - Luís Cerdeira told us. "The first innovation was made by my father in 1974. Until then there were only vines around the plot, there were no continuous vines in Melgaço. That's when he decided to take a risk with this totally disruptive innovation: planting continuous Alvarinho in a parcel.". The Soalheiro was a pioneer brand of Alvarinho in Melgaço. Taking on this responsibility, was at the same time an act of courage. The knowledge about what has become the phenomenon of Alvarinho was until then unknown. Monção and Melgaço as territorial locations linked to Alvarinho is also a recent geografic concept for the same reason.
The producer and winemaker Luís Cerdeira advocates that, in parallel to the combination of innovation and tradition, it is crucial to talk about knowledge. "If there was no progress in knowledge, we wouldn't be able to have value. Innovation is the result of knowledge and its evolution. If we make a product or an equal wine by imitation, we would only be able to compete in the market by what is called price. We invest our energy in knowledge, and in innovation. We assume this differentiation of value, which has always guided us.". Located at the northernmost point of Portugal, Luís Cerdeira expresses the importance of the territory but defends that there is a bit of the old world and a bit of the new world in this area. "The old world is that of Europe's designations of origin, where everything is the geographical origin. It's traditional, closed, and not very receptive to innovation. We work as the old world, with geographical origin. We value the territory, but we have something like the new world, we focus on one variety, one grape variety. The new world communicates only through the grape variety.". - explains the producer. Luís Cerdeira believes that synergy between brands is the most important thing. And he gave us an example of the work of restaurants such as O Paparico, and its sommelier Fernando Mansilha.


"We cannot finish the journey of a wine, on the wine"

- António Luís Cerdeira

It is imperative to add more value to wine, a value that is cultural, that is sustainable. Wine is a context, we don't think of it without gastronomy, we don't understand it as something that is not cultural. "Wine is that thing you have at the beginning of the meal, that you need to start a conversation and it is the first thing you forget when it starts. Wine has to bring us memories, wine has to bring us a context. We talk about a concept around wine, about values around wine, about a mission around wine." - said Luís Cerdeira. Also in this context, the very important work of sommeliers in the dissemination and contextualisation of wines was once again highlighted. In this sense, Luís Cerdeira emphasizes the importance of strengthening relationships between the producing brands and their final sellers.


We begin this article by talking about the friendship between O Paparico and Soalheiro, Luís Cerdeira says that all relationships should be unique and unrepeatable and that the great secret of both is that we work with passion. "We have to think about things, we have to create a - WOW - in everything we do. The hardest part is getting an idea, getting a connection, whether it is a menu, whether it is a wine, whether it is a set of menus, whether it is a set of moments. I think with the teams together, ours and yours, we can create a set of ideas. All partnerships should have something in common, which is respecting the identity of each one and each space. I think O Paparico is a restaurant with its own identity and the advantage arises from the fact that we explore its potential and the potential of Alvarinho. In other words, with our wines and your creations, we encourage clicks in the minds of those who visit you and even in their own experiences.". - explains the producer.

To finish, Luís Cerdeira reinforces the importance of these links, in a simple and logical way and we fully agree with him. "In the past, we used to look at the chef, the cook - I like the term - the person in the dining room, the sommelier, the wine producer and even the communication part, all separately. Nowadays there is no such thing, nowadays we all have to work together, because if some make it, others disclose it, if others disclose it, others have to come up with ideas, and others have to put those ideas into practice so they are accessible to everyone. So, I think it is a team job, I think we have a DNA that is typical, that is, our passion is wine, but it is also gastronomy, which is why I think this relationship is so organic.". - says the winemaker and producer.
Luís, thank you very much for your good mood and for such a rich sharing of knowledge. To Soalheiro, we wish you many years of life and excellent wines!