2012 Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho "Contacto" Minho
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Alvarinho Contacto comes in at 13% alcohol. This brand is fast becoming one of my very favorites from Mendes. It is usually a great intersection of quality and price. This is a wonderful follow-up to the very fine 2011. Take the power, finish and grip of its sibling, the very nice 2012 Alvarinho Muros Antigos reviewed this issue. Now, add yet a little more intensity, a full bodied feel and additional complexity. It results in an impressive wine, one that should age beautifully and have the stuffing to hold up well to many foods. Beautifully balanced as well, it is still tightly wound in its youth, precise, pure and focused. There is actually a lot more going on here than at first seems apparent. While never losing its balance, it showed, as it warmed into the 60sF (and THEN over several hours and THEN the next day in particular), what lurked underneath—transparency as well as some laser like bursts of acidity. It may have been at its best on Day 2 actually—and how many times have you heard that about Vinho Verde?--and at the end of the day at that, some 6 hours after the first taste. It likely will be better with a year or so of cellaring, even though it is certainly wonderful now. Stock up on this. Note: The “Contacto” is so named because it emphasizes prolonged skin contact. It is also a bit different in that it comes from a different terroir and soil type than Mendes' Muros Antigos Alvarinho—rolling stones rather than sandy. Drink now-2020.
This is an impressive and serious style of 100% Alvarinho wine. Intense and almost medicinal aromas open up to a wonderful palate of yellow stone fruits and pithy lime flavors, with a strong thread of acidity and minerality each weaving their way through the fruit. One could likely attribute the unusual complexity and persistence of this wine to the extra maceration of the skins on the juice as well as extended tank aging on the lees. Portuguese Alvarinho does not get much better than this. (Joe Manekin, K&L Portuguese wine buyer)