‘This wine is a particular bargain as it’s got so much more flavour than the average Vinho Verde… As it opens in the glass, there’s a complex but very pure…

‘This wine is a particular bargain as it’s got so much more flavour than the average Vinho Verde… As it opens in the glass, there’s a complex but very pure varietal aroma that is lemony, a touch floral and wonderfully fresh. Manages to be both light on its feet and yet intense.‘ – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com.

The Muros Antigos Escolha 2016 was Wine of the Week in November on JancisRobinson.com and we urge you to include this super value Vinho Verde in your summer drinking mix. Its fresh acidity, abundance of fruit and low alcohol makes it the king of seafood wines.

‘Here, there is no real talk of sweetness or fizz… He is just making white wine. The wines range from great values to seriously fascinating stuff that will change your view of the region,’ says Mark Squires of the Wine Advocate. ‘They are all intellectually interesting as well as quite tasty.’

Vinho Verde is made from a number of local varieties but Mendes focuses on Alvarinho in the Minho Valley and Loureiro in the Lima Valley. Loureiro is known for its bright peach notes and fragrance while Alvarinho is similar with perhaps more richness and limy character.

We offer the full range from Anselmo Mendes which includes the excellent skin-contact Contacto Alvarinho 2016, the more serious Muros Antigos Alvarinho 2016 and the two flagship, oak-matured cuvées – the Muros de Melgaço 2016 and the Curtimenta 2014. These classy wines will age happily for 5 – 10 years as Mendes focuses on lower yields and older vines.

Delivered swiftly all around SA, we’re including free delivery on our first offer of 2018!

PS: For those in Cape Town, join us hosting Sophia Bergqvist of Quinta de la Rosa next week Wednesday the 10th of January and taste through her incredible Douro wines and more. Book online now.

Tasting notes:

Anselmo Mendes, Muros Antigos Escolha 2016 – R 135
The 2016 Loureiro Muros Antigos Escolha is unoaked and comes in at 12% alcohol. This adds a layer or two of concentration to the Pássaros Loureiro reviewed this issue, but it also adds far more grip and tension on the finish. That’s really the selling point here. It is invigorating, without losing its balance. Beautifully constructed, transparent, bright and crisp, this should be a perfect Loureiro to drink this summer, but it will hold well, too. Its acidity will serve it in good stead. It is a very fine value. Sourced from vines over ten years old. – Wine Advocate, 90/100

Anselmo Mendes, Contacto Alvarinho 2016 – R 195
The 2016 Alvarinho Contacto is unoaked and comes in at 13% alcohol. This is a very different Alvarinho than the Muros Antigos reviewed this issue. I liked them about equally well, but for different reasons. The latter shows off its fine grip and zest. This hardly lacks that – it is rather intense – but it has a bit more personality, better aromatics and a hint of green and grass. Tasting them together and young, I’m hard pressed to decide. One issue will be how you feel about green nuances. That is certainly more prominent here. I like the extra personality, but your mileage may differ. It is just personal taste. As this lingered on the palate, I finally gave it a slight edge, at least for myself. It is a terrific Contacto, mostly on par with the brilliant 2015, not quite as ripe, perhaps, but even zestier while maintaining a bit of understatement. Sourced from vines over 12 years in age. – Wine Advocate, 91/100

Anselmo Mendes, Muros Antigos Alvarinho 2016 – R 195
The 2016 Alvarinho Muros Antigos is unoaked and comes in at 12.5% alcohol. This is a terrific value, and there is enough of it to be easily obtainable. Showing fine concentration and plenty of zing and zest on the finish, this is emphasizing freshness and acidity in its youth. It also has the body to absorb the power; but make no mistake, the intensity here is special, and this is built to age. Focused, transparent and simply gripping, I have to lean up on this in its youth. I suspect it won’t disappoint, but it is mightily impressive now for sure. I am not sure it is better than the brilliant 2015, but it may be even more intense. The question now is how it evolves. It was wholly unevolved when tasted in mid-March, not yet as expressive as it should be, but by this summer it should be fine. Sourced from vines over ten years in age. – Wine Advocate, 91/100

Anselmo Mendes, Muros de Melgaço 2016 – R 315
Alvarinho fermented and aged in oak. Very unusual bottle shape, like a flute but more chunky. First impression is a touch smoky and a hint of oak spice but the fragrance of the variety is not overpowered. Tangy with apricot and orange pith, so crisp and deep at the same time. The oak is discreet on the palate. Full bodied and complete and very long. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, 17.5/20

Anselmo Mendes, Curtimenta 2014 – R 435
The 2014 Curtimenta, one of Mendes’ specialty items, was aged in used French oak for nine months. It comes in at 13% alcohol. Surprisingly elegant, considering the oak treatment, this graceful Alvarinho is a bit understated and very focused. The grip and penetration on the finish demonstrates that this is not your ordinary Alvarinho, though. It lingers and persists, handling its wood beautifully. The wood-aged Alvarinhos are always a bit different – they have less purity and character, of course – but this is the perfect food wine and impeccably balanced, fresh and graceful. This was a sometimes tricky vintage. Curtimenta still excels. – Wine Advocate, 92/100

Leave a Reply