Abel Mendoza, Graciano Grano a Grano, DOCa Rioja, Spain, 2019
Modest, passionate and in no small part obsessive, Abel Mendoza and Maite Fernández have been making understated wines from their old vine vineyards, high up in the Cantabrian mountains near San Vicente de la Sonsierra since the late 80s.
His intimate knowledge of the diverse terroirs in this spectacular part of Rioja is enthralling, and every barrel tasted reveals startling provenance and true character of the vintage. Abel doesn’t make wines that flatter, they don’t speak of oak regimes, but rather of the quality of his fruit, expressed in its most honest form.
For two generations Abel Mendoza's family has been farming vineyards in Rioja, and today works 37 individual parcel, scattered in and around the village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra (towards the border of Rioja Alta and Alavesa). More than anything in the world, Abel cares for his vineyards, each plot tended to enable an authentic expression of the location, and harvested entirely by hand. The grapes planted are all indigenous varietals, including Malvasia, Viura, Tempranillo Blanco and Tinto and Graciano.
Fermentation in small stainless steel tanks and after the wine goes into new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation where it matures for a total of 18 months until bottled.
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 100
Cherry in colour with purple overtones. A perfect balance between primary and secondary aromas, red fruits and fruits in syrup, with elements of citrus, floral, balsamic, vanilla. In the mouth it is fresh with a honey like sensation. There is a spicy background with a hint of balsamic. Persistent wine, meaty and fresh, with a singular complexity which is very pleasant and fresh.
Meat stews, game, Ibérico ham.
Tim Atkin Rioja Report 2023 93 Points
Abel Mendoza's Graciano is a wine that takes no prisoners, showing considerable tannic structure and acidity levels. Sourced from five parcels in his native San Vicente de la Sonsierra, it's firm, densely oaked and serious, with chewy dark berry fruit, some Asian spices and the concentration to age. 2024-35. 93 Points, TA, 2023.
6 x 75cl
Award: Robert Parker 96 Points
Award: Tim Atkin Rioja Report 2023 94 Points