The Anselmo Mendes Story
On the face of it, this is a small family-run operation, involving Anselmo and his wife Fernanda, Anselmo’s brother and now his son, Tiago and a few employees. They are based between Monção and Melgaço, a stone’s throw from the River Minho, which marks the border with Spain, in a little hamlet called Penso. But in fact, Anselmo’s name is seriously well-known in Portugal, associated with dozens of other wines from all over the country. His involvement as a consultant in these different projects varies. In some cases, he is blending and endorsing the wines. In other cases, he is fully involved in viticultural consultancy for his clients, and winemaking and blending too. All this puts quite a strain on his big Mercedes, which drives the length and breadth of Portugal many times a year.
He’s a lad from Monção, the heartland of the Alvarinho in Portugal, and it is his success with this variety for which he is best-known. He has a boyish, infectious enthusiasm for everything he does, particularly if it involves the Alvarinho grape. He has put his oenology training to good use in understanding the grape, the best ways to grow and vinify it. He is particularly interested in, and keen to demonstrate with mature bottles, just how much potential the Alvarinho grape has to age, particularly given the support from fermentation in oak.
The latest project from the man who cannot sit still involves the renovation of the 50 hectare Quinta da Torre, just outside Monção. Wines have been made from here since the 14th Century. These vineyards now form the main source of his grapes. He has now completed the purchase of the estate, together with its Medieval buildings and tower, which he is in the process of renovating. The plan is to create a visitors’ centre in these old buildings.
Since 1998 he has been a leading light in Vinho Verde showing not just Portugal but the wider wine world beyond just how good the wines from his home region can be. All the wines come under the appellation of Vinho Verde. These wines are not just light, refreshing summer wines, some of them are low yield, concentrated and serious wines, with complexity and depth of flavour.
Watch a video of Anselmo explaining his winemaking philosophy and his dedication to the Alvarinho grape variety (in Portuguese with English subtitles):
Anselmo Mendes Wines
Muros Antigos Loureiro from Vale de Lima with a mandarin, citrus, floral nose and dry linear palate.
Alvarinho Contacto. The name refers to the 12 hours of skin contact before the grapes are pressed, something which Anselmo had been studying for a number of years. The current vintage looks great, tight and intense on the palate with a real depth of flavour and length.
Muros Antigos Alvarinho comes from the hillside vineyards on poor sandy soils and stays 4 months on the lees with batonnage. Here we find the viscosity, intensity and generosity of the Alvarinho, well balanced by crisp acidity.
Muros de Melgaço Alvarinho is harvested from granitic soils and fermented in old oak with a small percentage of new oak used, the wines is then further aged in barrel for 6 months on lees. It is a richer, riper, more concentrated style, orange, grapefruit and spicy flavours but taut and persistent.
Curtimenta Alvarinho fermented on the skins for 48 hours and aged in 400 litre old oak barrels for 9 months. The grapes chosen for this wine are the ones with higher sugar and acid levels. This is an Alvarinho with both the depth and structure to age but equally the roundness and elegance to be served young.
Vinhão a bottle of elegant red fun, light but soft and juicy. We all love this in the office, a wonderfully different and sappy red.
|MELOU18B||Muros Antigos Loureiro||2018|
|MEAMA18B||Muros Antigos Alvarinho||2018|
|MEAMM17B||Muros de Melgaço Alvarinho||2017|
|MEVIN18B||Vinhão, Vinho Verde Tinto||2018|