Abel Mendoza, Malvasia, DOCa Rioja, Spain, 2018
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.
One of the traditional varieties of La Rioja, which almost disappeared from the area due to its sensitivity to botrytis. Many of the collected grapes are from over 50 vineyards located in clay-calcareous soils.
Fermentated in new barrels of French oak, which has been 5 months more on its lees
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 100
Fresh and complex. Apple, peach, quince and citrus nose. The mouth has a dense and structured entry with supple and sweet fruit and acidity combined with herbs and with a hint of vanilla.
Parma Ham works really well.
Robert Parker 93 Points
The 2018 Malvasía comes from a challenging year. All of these whites fermented in French oak barrels with neutral yeasts and aged in those barriques for some five months with the fine lees and bâtonnage. This is a variety that has larger grapes, and the larger 2018 crop means that the grapes have kept a good pH even of it doesn't have a lot of acidity. This is probably the gentlest wine, and it feels young and tender. Don't think of this as an aromatic white, as it's rather neutral and has a tendency to overproduce so that you have to control yields to get some concentration. Abel Mendoza tells me that he gets rid of the majority of bunches, and sometimes when the bunches are too large, he gets rid of the tip of the bunch. So, this is a more expressive wine than what Malvasía Riojana (a.k.a. Alarije in Extremadura and Subirat Parent in Penedès) delivers on its own. 3,444 bottles were filled in March 2019. LG, 93 Points, June 2019.
6 x 75cl