Alvarinho 2 2 1: Anselmo Mendes and Diogo Lopes launch a novel wine honouring the most important of the Portuguese white grape varietiesBy Cláudia Santos In Sem categoria
- Two wine regions, two winemakers, one wine. Winemakers Anselmo Mendes and Diogo Lopes merge two distinctive expressions of the Alvarinho variety with grapes from both Monção and the Lisboa Region. This is how the Alvarinho 2 2 1 was born, a celebration of the most renowned national grape variety.
Torres Vedras, March 15th 2017
Monção, Minho valley: a climate of moderate Atlantic influence, mountains sheltering the valley from both sides of the Spanish-Portuguese border. Lisbon, Ventosa parish, in Torres Vedras: vineyards exposed to northern winds coming from the ocean. In the North, a wider temperature range. In the South, not so frequent heat waves. In Monção, soils composed of granite. At AdegaMãe, calcareous clay soils pave the way to a wine of distinct character. Amongst these two peculiar terroirs, grapes of the Alvarinho variety grow. With them, winemakers Anselmo Mendes and Diogo Lopes have conceived a unique wine, merging two expressions from such different regions. Two regions, two winemakers and a unique wine. Bottled by AdegaMãe, this is how the Alvarinho 2 2 1 was born, a celebration of the most important Portuguese white wine variety.
A project developed by the winemakers, the Alvarinho 2 2 1 is the result of experiments conducted by Anselmo Mendes in the North and Diogo Lopes in the South. Alvarinhos from the Monção and Melgaço sub-region are quite renowned and appraised both on a national and international level, but the character achieved in Torres Vedras has left these two winemakers, involved in the AdegaMãe project since 2010 (Anselmo Mendes as a consultant, Diogo Lopes as winemaker) very pleased. In Torres Vedras, the Alvarinho has found its place among some of the most important white wines from the AdegaMãe range, thus contributing in a decisive way for the general appreciation of the project as a whole.
“With such distinctive and quality expressions arose the opportunity and shared desire to launch a unique wine as partners. It all comes down to combining the original Alvarinho with a rising new Alvarinho” stated Anselmo Mendes. “This is our tribute to the most important Portuguese grape variety. A very exclusive celebration and strictly limited to 2700 bottles. A wine through which we tried to convey a very peculiar Alvarinho”, proceeds Diogo Lopes. “We believe this to be a wine that blends the typical and austere side of Monção with the exuberance and even peculiar salinity of Lisbon. The end result seems rather interesting to us” concludes Anselmo Mendes.
Curiously enough, and even though there was no established precondition, the Alvarinho 2 2 1 ended up delivering a 50/50 blend of Monção’s Alvarinho and Lisbon’s Alvarinho. Both batches were harvested in 2015 and independently fermented in French oak barrels. The final blend was designed and bottled at AdegaMãe. “It was with the utmost enthusiasm that we adhered to the idea presented to us by the two winemakers that have been supporting AdegaMãe from the very beginning. The Alvarinho variety delivers a very interesting profile in our vineyards and, not only does it expand our wine portfolio, it also underlines the differentiating profile of the Lisboa Region, with the potential to match with the best Alvarinhos from Monção. We are very proud to be part of this tribute to the most important Portuguese white variety”, says Bernardo Alves, general manager at AdegaMãe.
Alvarinho 2 2 1 – 2015 Harvest
Grape varieties: 100% Alvarinho (50% from the Monção and Melgaço sub-region, 50% from the Lisboa Region)
Tasting notes: Intriguing aroma. Shows notes commonly associated with the variety, but also notes of grapefruit and honey with a dash of stone, minerality. Voluminous on the palate and underlined by a robust texture. Citric fruit, utterly expressive and rich. Intense finish with slight salinity.
Production: 2700 bottles
Price: 25 euros
On Anselmo Mendes
Born in Monção in 1962 in a family with ties to the agricultural sector and the vineyard. He completed his degree in Agro-Industrial Engineering at the Instituto Superior de Agronomia of the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa and started his career as a professional winemaker in 1988 within the Vinhos Verde region. Since then he has always devoted particular attention to the potential of the noblest Portuguese white wine variety: the Alvarinho. After taking a post-graduate degree in Oenology at the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia do Porto of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Anselmo Mendes was eventually named winemaker of the year in 1998, just 10 years after he first started. The Revista dos Vinhos also named him producer of the year in 2011 and the weekly Expresso included him in its 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the country. He is devoted to studying the shifting aspects each grape variety expresses according to soil and climate. He designed wines such as the 2008 Muros Antigos Alvarinho which gathered the Best Portuguese White Wine and Best Alvarinho in the World awards. The national and international appraisal of the Vinhos Verdes region throughout the last couple of decades is profoundly linked with Anselmo Mendes’ own career.
On Diogo Lopes
Born in Lisbon in 1978, he is a reference among the new winemaking generation in Portugal. Ever the experimentalist, he shares with his biggest reference, Anselmo Mendes, the conviction that a wine should be a genuine expression of its region. In 2010, at AdegaMãe, Diogo Lopes began experimenting with both national and international varieties in order to choose those that best adapted to the fresh and Atlantic climate of the Lisboa Region. He first became interested in winemaking through his family background from the Beiras. In 2004 he graduated in Agronomy from the Instituto Superior de Agronomia of the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. His training included harvest internships in the main Portuguese regions (Vinhos Verdes, Douro and Alentejo) along with an experience in Napa Valley, California, in 2003.
He started off his professional career alongside Anselmo Mendes in the Alentejo region in 2005. In 2009 he took a post-graduate degree in Oenology at the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Finally, in 2010 he took over winemaking at the AdegaMãe.
AdegaMãe is the result of an investment in a new business segment by the Riberalves Group, as well as a tribute to matriarch Manuela Alves on behalf of the Alves family. The concept of “Mãe” (mother) comes as an inspiration for a place of birth and creation; a place conceived to make the best from the best grapes and produce the best wines. Located in the Torres Vedras municipality, AdegaMãe shows a clear vocation for the production of unique wines due to its proximity to the sea and the influence of the Atlantic climate. AdegaMãe is also a wine tourism reference within the region. Its exclusive architecture and the variety of activities that take place around the vineyards and the wine itself make it stand out. As part of the Riberalves Group, the Dory brand (inspired by the dories, old boats used by the Portuguese to fish cod) represents the main range of its wines. Since its first harvest in 2010, AdegaMãe’s labor has been acknowledged both in the national and international market, channeling nearly 60% of sales volume to exports. In 2016 AdegaMãe was awarded the Wine Company of they Year in Portugal at the annual Revista dos Vinhos awards. Later that year, AdegaMãe won the Press Choice Prize (2014 Dory Reserva White) and in 2017 it won the first Excellence Award (2013 AdegaMãe Terroir White) ever awarded to a white wine from the Lisboa Region.