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Abel Mendoza, Spain

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.

Viticulture

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.

Winemaking

His wines could be described as modern in style in that he uses only French oak and ages the wines for shorter periods than is traditional in Rioja. He produces both red and whites, ignores the local regulations of using age statements on the labels (eg reserva). The wines have a sophistication, complexity and breed that mark them out as one of the single finest producers in Rioja.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Very natural sustainable viticulture with emphasis on the health of soil and plant.
  • No Sulphur usage
  • Farmed organically, although the wines are not certified.