Roger Voss, the European editor of Wine Enthusiast, recently published a piece detailing all the ins and outs of northwest Portugal and more specifically Vinho Verde. Dissected by two rivers, the Lima and Minho, the northern area of Vinho Verde is perfect for producing quality white wines with the varieties Loureiro and Alvarinho located throughout.
Loureiro is grown alongside the Lima river, in the lush Lima Valley, whilst Alvarinho is planted beside the Minho river in the Minho Valley.
These valleys have recently been the focal point of change with young producers ‘bucking the traditional production of inexpensive wines in favor of more concentrated, serious offerings’ according to Roger. The knock-on effect of this is that the larger producers have had to increase their quality in fear of being left behind.
Traditionally seen as low-alcohol or off-dry, Roger explains that these Vinho Verdes are now ‘rich, intense and often bone-dry expressions of the terroir of these rainy climes that experience mild winters and hot summers’. This is what high-quality Vinho Verde should be.
The most influential producer of the area is none other than Anselmo Mendes, who has been producing wine for over 20 years and consults throughout Portugal. His range is a perfect reflection of the extreme versatility of Alvarinho and Roger notes that ‘every wine is a star in its own right’.
Anselmo Mendes produces many different wines but his Curtimenta Alvarinho 2015 (94 points) was selected as the Editor’s Choice for a representation of Alvarinho whilst his Muros Antigos Loureiro 2017 (89 points) is a great example of a Loureiro to try.