Abel Mendoza, Tempranillo Grano a Grano, 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.
Old vines grown in San Vicente de la Sonsierra.
Temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 11 days then malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels. Maturation for 18 months in new French oak 225 litre barrels with 3 lots of racking.
Type: French 225l Barrels
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 100
Intense cherry cherry colour. Intense black fruit and perfumed aromas, with good fruit expression in the palate (plums, cassis) and and integrated oak and toast notes.
Beef and Lamb, stewed meats and fish sauce.
Robert Parker 95 Points
As with many other wines, this time I could compare the 2016 Tempranillo Grano A Grano with the one from 2015 and see the differences in the two vintages. Analytically, the wines are quite similar, but the profile is not the same. There is less influence from the oak, as the barrels are larger and used (not new). This is like a more intense version of the Selección Personal, with the imprint of the 2016 vintage, floral aromas, a clean nose with complexity and elegance, showing very young but nuanced. They are forced to select looser bunches to be able to destem the grapes by hand, and the grapes are more perfect, less compact and perhaps with a higher ratio of skin to juice. This explains the intensity of the Grano a Grano wines. The palate is balanced, with very good freshness and refined tannins. I think Abel has produced some of his best wines in 2016, and this has to be one of them. 2,040 bottles were filled in May 2018. LG, 95 Points, June 2019.
6 x 75cl