April Wines of the Month: Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Alvarinho 2009 & Raats Granite Blocks Cabernet Franc 2010

Regular readers know that Alvarinho from the Vinho Verde sub-region of Monção e Melgaço absolutely floats my boat. So I was in heaven last month visiting the region, especially tasting several verticals of Alvarinho guru Anselmo Mendes’ wines (to be reported). They ought to be much better known over here and, good news, I’ve tracked down a great example for you in the UK. For my red, Raats Granite Blocks Cabernet Franc 2010 is on deal at Majestic until 23 April and is such a smart buy, you’d be crazy not to check it out.

Muros Antigos Alvarinho 2009 (Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde)

A richly fruited but bright Alvarinho with deliciously creamy, slightly nutty, ripe apricot and peach fruit; long, lush and supremely well balanced. All the stone fruity appeal of Viognier but with freshness and line. Incidentally the 2005 (pictured), from another warm year, put me in mind of a mature Australian Semillon or Riesling, fresh, but with lemon butter, toast and petrol notes. No doubt about it, this is an exciting grape, which performs brilliantly in this region. £10.83 at Wine from Portugal.

Raats Granite Blocks Cabernet Franc 2010 (WO Coastal Region)

A bright plum hue with ruby flashes, this medium bodied red is vivacious and complex.  It shows lifted five spice and inky, floral notes with a core of fleshy blood plum and juicy, crunchy even, pomegranate (or should that be Pomegranite?), wed to fine and velvety tannins.  There’s an undertow of sweet earth and a hint of smoky braai about it – a Cape sensibility – which I reckon would make it a fine companion for lightly grilled lamb chops or tuna. Well balanced with beautifully integrated acidity, it’s a distinguished and distinctive wine for the money – £9.99 or currently £7.99 on deal at Majestic. 13.5%

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