2016 Anselmo Mendes CurtimentaAlbarino/Alvarinho from Portugal
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- 94 Mark Squires - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
94 Mark Squires - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"The 2016 Curtimenta is all Alvarinho aged for nine months in used French oak. It comes in at 13% alcohol. Sourced from 20+-year-old vines, this is made with fermentation on skins, resulting in more color and more tannins. The oak seems almost irrelevant here, as the structure of the wine and its concentration overwhelm and counter the wood. That's not to say there is no oak impact, but it is impeccably balanced. Then, as the winery suggests, it finishes with a bit of tannic pop. There is remarkable grip on the finish, good acidity and that tannic pop. The next day (when it seemed 50% better than on the first day tasted), this was tight, focused and intense, perhaps the best Curtimenta yet. It's very fresh, the fruit lifted and focused, despite the wood, and it is the acidity that seals the deal for this wine. It simply slices and dices the wood into splinters after it's open for a day. In 2015, its high-end sibling Parcela Única was the bigger star, if only by a bit. This year, it's pretty even, but the styles are radically different. This has greater purity and intensity, while its sibling has a lusher, richer feel. Curtimenta handles the wood far better (it usually does when young, and it receives less aggressive wood treatment), at least now. Whenever I thought the wood was becoming assertive, the acidity and fruit came right back up. The Parcela Única may be even deeper and more like a white Burgundy than a Vinho Verde. Choices, choices. Buy both! In time, the balance of both may change for the better as they pull in the wood even more. That's not as important with the Curtimenta, given less wood impact, but even the Curtimenta could benefit from a year in the cellar. Needless to say, they should age rather well (although Parcela Única edged into the lead on the third day after opening, making me doubt again which was better). It's a very different vision of Vinho Verde, showing what the region can do when its top producers perform at the top of their game."