Anselmo Mendes needs no introduction. In his Melgaco winery he innovates and produces great whites from Alvarinho, Laureiro and Avesso and notable reds from Vinhao, Pedral, Brancelho and Borracal.
Last year we had lunch with him and his charming wife at their Melgaço home and tasted his entire range of wines. We went back to see him this June. The drive to Melgaco from our base Paco Calheiros in Ponte de Lima via the pretty little town of Valenca on the Spanish border and then along the Minho river separating Portugal from Spain, took just over an an hour. Even though Anselmo was away, the welcome his two assistants gave us was warm and their hospitality, generous.
We tasted thirteen wines before an excellent lunch. Some of the wines are listed below.
- Muros Antigos Escolha 2015. 20% Alvarinho, 40% Loureiro and 40% Avesso. Crisp, floral and fruity. (15)
- Muros Antigos Loureiro 2015 – Excellent (16.5)
- Muros Antigos Alvarinho 2012 – (17)
- Contacto Alvarinho 2015 – 12 hours skin contact. A lovely wine (17.5)
- Muros Melgaco Alvarinho 2015 – Fruit from south facing hills in Melgaco giving high acidity. Barrel fermented and aged in oak for six months (17)
- Expressoes 2014 – 100% Alvarinho, fermented and aged for nine months in second year French oak barrels. Oak not evident in aroma or taste. Full, rich and rounded in a Burgundy bottle. 13%. (17.5)
- Curtimenta Alvarinho 2014 – Fermented in oak barrels with skin contact for 24 hours. Nine months ageing on lees with batonnage in second year French oak barrels. Burgundy bottle. Delightful! (18)
- Parcela Única Escolha 2014 – 100% alvarinho from ‘a single plot that produces a wine that reveals Alvarinho at its purest and most original state.’ Soft pressing of whole de-stemmed grapes. Cold clarification and fermentation in new, 400-litre French oak barrels. Ageing in the same barrels for 9 months on lees with batonnage. Burgundy bottle. Stunning! (18.5)
- Muros Antigos First Edition 2001 – Oxidised!
- Pardusco 2013 – A red blend of Vinhao, Pedral, Brancelho and Borracal.
If you ever come to the Minho, Anselmo Mendes is a winemaker you should not fail to visit. His contact details are:
Zona Industrial de Penso, Lote 2
4960-310 Melgaço · Portugal
Tel/Fax: +351 227 128 541
His UK agent is Clark Foyster and some Anselmo Mendes wines are available from The Wine Society.