Pepe Mendoza, Blanco, DO Vinos Alicante, Spain, 2023
Pepe Mendoza is one of the most respected winemakers in southeast Spain, focusing on local and Mediterranean varieties, sourced from their own vineyards in the Alto Vinalopó region near Villena, and the coastal-influenced Marina Alta.
His latest project, Casa Agrícola is a personal project, created with his wife Pepa Agulló, to make high-quality wines from Monastrell, Syrah, Macabeo, Moscatel and Giró. With plantings dating back to 1923, vineyards are organically cultivated, dry-farmed on ancient terraces, and in tune with the climate of Alicante. Pepe refers to his entry levels wines as ‘landscape wines’, the white a delicious blend of Macabeo and Airen from Vinalopó, and Moscatel from Marina Alta, whilst the red is equal parts Monastrell, Giró and Garnacha Tintorera (aka Alicante Bouschet) from Alto Vinalopó. Pureza is skin contact Moscatel fermented in amphorae. With the pinnacle of the range, two single vineyard wines, El Veneno, a stunningly fresh expression of Monastrell sourced from the highest plots in Alto Vinalopó, and Abarques, which reflects the character of Giró and the Marina Alta location.
Vines are planted around Benimei, Marina Alta Serra Forta and Alto Vinalopó at 300 meters where the vines average 40 years of age. Traditional bush vines are cultivated organically, with Moscatel grown on clay soils, whilst the Macabeo and Merseguera are on more loam sandy soils.
A simple vinification based on the principle that less is more. Each variety is harvested separately at perfect maturity and fermented in small stainless steel tanks. The musts ferment freely with their own yeasts and no additions. A light filtration of the wine prior to bottling and minimal SO2 adjustment. No clarification, cold treatment or microfiltration.
No oak ageing
A wine that encapsulates the aromas of spring, with jasmine, citrus and mandarin peel, backed with an infusion of Mediterranean herbs, which develop with time in the glass to wild fennel, a herb typically found in the vineyards of the area. Delightful balance of texture and freshness on the palate.
Serve with fresh salads, seafood, light fish dishes, pasta and pizzas. Perfect!
6 x 75cl
Award: Guia Penin 93 Points
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 95+ Points