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 between Monção and Melgaço, a stone’s throw from the River Minho, which marks the border with Spain, in a little hamlet called Penso. 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 other cases, 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.
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.
Anselmo Mendes was born and grew up in Monção. It was then, as a child, that he became acquainted with the culture of the vine and wine production. The Alvarinho variety, and its wine produced there, immediately became a part of his life, to the extent that, today, Anselmo Mendes and Alvarinho are synonymous. He graduated in Agro-Industrial Engineering in 1987, at the Higher Education Institute of the Technical University of Lisbon, and post-graduated in Oenology at the Catholic University six years later.
To work as winemaker in a country like Portugal is to discover a rich and diverse universe and meet a major challenge: to add know-how, intuition and technology to the best nature has to offer. From Vinho Verde to the Alentejo, via the Douro and Dão, with "leaps" across to the Azores, Brazil and Argentina, Anselmo Mendes has undertaken a path as wine-maker, by cultivating a passion in each region, getting to know the voice of each land and trying to bring out the best in each wine. Today, as a consultant, he has had various successful projects from one end of Portugal to the other, and abroad.