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 in a little hamlet called Penso between Monção and Melgaço, a stone’s throw from the River Minho which marks the border with Spain. 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 others, 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 and 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):