Portugese wines from Anselmo Mendes, master of Vinho VerdeWine & Spirit Events & News
The Vinho Verde region of Portugal:
Is the extreme north of the country between the Douro and Minho rivers. Vinho Verde is not green wine or wine from unripe grapes, it is a regon known for lighter, fresh whites often bottled with a little residual carbon dioxide to give it a slight tickle of bubbles on the tip of the tongue. The serious whites come from the subregions of Moncao and Melgaco where the Alvarinho grape is cultivated. This grape is also famous in Spain and produces a fuller more aromatic wine which to me is the ideal summer seafood wine, especially shellfish which is big in the Portugese and Spanish diet of that region.
About Anselmo Mendes
Vinho Verde supremo Anselmo Mendes makes Vinho Verde under his own label and consults to, among others, Quinta do Ameal, Casa de Cello (both Vinho Verde) and Douro producer Alves de Sousa. Mendes was born in Moncao, Vinho Verde’s hotspot for Alvarinho, a grape which he’s “studied” for 20 years. His grandfather grew grapes and Mendes studied agronomy at university before completing a Masters in oenology, followed by a short but intensive period of work experience in Bordeaux. He started his own label in 1998, making wines from 25 small parcels.
About the wine
We recently discovered one of his wines, the Anselmo Mendes Passaros Alvarinho/Trajadura blend from Moncao (pronounced “Monshow” there is a squiggle under the letter c) and have the 2011 vintage in stock. It is crisp and very fresh with citrus and some stone fruit aromas and a lively acidity that makes it great for food. Mendes’ wines are NOT your typical 8% alcohol “Portugese lemonade” type Vinho Verde. This man is devoted to exploring the full potential of the white wines of his region and even produces versions with extra skin contact (sometimes called “orange wines”), barrique aged wines and a passito or dessert type Alvarinho. I’m looking forward to trying them all some day.