Pepe Mendoza, Tinto, DO Vinos Alicante, Spain, 2022
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.
Produced from a fusion of two sub-zones: Monastrell and Alicante Bouschet from Villena, Pinoso and Alto Vinalopó and Giró de Abargues from La Marina with vineyards at approx 500 and 300 meters with vines aged between 60-75 years. The Monastrell and Giró are unirrigated bush vines, whilst the Alicante Bouschet is on low trellis and permitted a little water only when necessary. Organically farmed but not certified. Giró is planted on ferric clay soils and Monastrell, Alicante Bouschet on sandy-loam 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, without enzymes, nothing added. The tanks are filled with lightly pressed grapes and 10% stems. The macerations are very soft, so as not to toughen the wine, lightly filtered, and bottled without clarification or cold treatment.
No oak ageing
Aromas of Mediterranean herbs and sun-baked hillsides, with pine, rosemary and hints of orange peel. The palate is full, round and beautifully balanced.
Robust enough for rabbit with rice, snails, roast and grilled meats, but equally delicious with cured sheep cheese and Iberian sausages.
Giró de Abargues 25%
Alicante Bouschet 5%
6 x 75cl
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 94+ Points
Award: Guia Penin 93 Points
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 95+ Points