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Abel Mendoza

Abel Mendoza [the viticulturist], and his wife Maite Fernadez [the oenologist], have been making wines in San Vincente de la Sonsierra in the shadow of the Sierra Cantabria in Rioja since 1988.Their vineyards are planted on the best parts of Rioja Alavesa with 50 acres farmed across 35 different plots scattered throughout la Sonsierra in San Vincente, Labastida and Abalos, on varied soils combining clay, marlstone and fine sandstone. Abel's vines are all indigenous, and he takes a Burgundian approach faithful to terroir, caring for each plot independently and harvesting entirely by hand, and when he uses oak, it is only French. Both red and white wines are produced in a modern style that ignores the traditional ageing classifications for Rioja wines – he therefore does not put age statements on his labels. Always being rebels, they were growing and making single varietal white wines before it was legal in the area! Abel says that he is not a fan of perfectly consistent wines, what is important to him is that the wines show vintage peculiarities, reflecting the character of the land, climate and varietal in every glass - the results are exciting expressions of Rioja that really push the envelope, and are highly sought after.