Abel Mendoza, Tempranillo Blanco, 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.
Calcareous clay soils, grapes from different plots of young vines.
Fermentation in new french barrels and 5 months battonage until bottlling.
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 100
Ripe yellow fruit on a very intense nose. With more acidity than the red Tempranillo, this is a grape with a great future in Rioja, especially in cold years. It has great length, volume and persistence.
Fish and Rice, White meat, White and oily Fish
Robert Parker 91 Points
No 2017 was produced, so I only tasted the 2018 Tempranillo Blanco, a ripe white with 14% alcohol from vines averaging six years of age. It fermented in French oak barrels with indigenous yeasts and matured in those barrels for some five months with the fine lees that were periodically stirred. This is the white variety that Abel Mendoza considers to be rounder and gentler, with good ripeness and a pleasant, soft mouthfeel. He looked for places where the grapes didn't ripen excessively and behaved better with yields of around 5,000 kilos, otherwise it can be too concentrated/ripe. That also helps to keep the freshness and is the first of the five white varieties to be harvested. It has some bittersweet flavors and good freshness. The plants didn't suffer in 2016, as there was enough water, and the wine feels more fluid and more relaxed. This can turn tannic in dry years; it behaves better in cooler years. 1,626 bottles were filled in March 2019. LG, 91 Points, June 2019.
Tempranillo Blanco 100%
6 x 75cl