Abel Mendoza, Jarrarte, DOCa Rioja, Spain, 2016
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.
The wine was made by carbonic maceration. The must fermented at controlled temperature in cement tanks.
No oak treatment
Aa lively and young wine marked by its explosion of flavours. This young wine stands out from the rest of young Rioja, showing a different personality. This lively and fruity wine, perfectly reveals the quality of the grapes that compose it, playing a magnificent symphony of colour, aroma and flavour.
Grilled red meat, spicy cuisine, pasta with meat, pizza
Robert Parker 92 Points
I tasted the red Tempranillo 2016 Jarrarte next to the 2015, a comparison that is always interesting to see how the wines behave in two very different years. 2015 was considered warm but was somewhat underrated, and the wines are evolving better than expected. 2016 was cooler and perhaps a little overpraised, and the wines can be more heterogeneous. 2016 marked the red wines but in a very positive way. The wines are expressive, open, aromatic, fresh and elegant, with very good harmony and elegance. It might not be a homogeneous year, but what I tasted here is superb. I haven't seen this level of precision and elegance in a Jarrarte before. 13,902 bottles were filled in September 2018, after almost one year in barrel. LG, 92 Points, June 2019.
12 x 75cl