Abel Mendoza, Guardaviñas Sin Sulfuroso, DOCa, Rioja, Spain, 2015
Modest and passionate about his vineyards, Abel and his wife Maite have been making understated wines in San Vicente since 1988.
Lying in the shadow of the Sierra Cantabria, Abel has vineyards in the finest parts of the Alavesa. His knowledge and understanding of the soils is enthralling and to taste in his cellar can be an education on the effects different soils have in different years. He wants only to express the fruit and the soil and unlike many Riojans, he leaves it more or less at that. He does not want to stamp the wines with any particular style or mark of his own other than his respect for the very natural quality of the grapes and for the magical places that they were grown.
For two generations Abel Mendoza's family has been farming vineyards in Rioja which are scattered throughout the commune 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 cared for independently and harvest done entirely by hand. The grapes planted are all indigenous including malvasia (a variety widely planted in Rioja in the 18th century), viura, tempranillo and graciano.
After the fermentation, a percentage of the wine was matured in a new barrel for 11 months and the rest was in stainless steel tank. Natural aging.
% wine oaked: 35
% new oak: 100
Biodynamically farmed (although not certified), sulphur free (or natural, if you prefer) limited production wine from a 0.56-hectare parcel planted in 1979. It’s very fruity in the mouth, flavours of plum and liquorice, compact tannins and a bright, refreshing finish.
You cannot go far wrong with Lamb Cutlets, Chorizo amd Moroccan Tagine
Tim Atkin 93 Points
This is the third release of this biodynamically farmed, sulphur free red from a 0.56-hectare parcel planted in 1979. It’s a dense, chalky, structured wine with less oak than most of the Mendozas’ reds but the same core of fruit power. Sappy, youthful and juicy, with a fresh, mineral-edged finish. 2017-20, TA, 93 Points.
6 x 75cl