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We have chosen Abel Mendoza Rioja 2014 to be our first natural wine with no added sulphites reviewed. We have prepared something special for it. Also, it coincides with the month of UK-wide Rioja promotion (various retailers and restaurants run some special events), so it is 2-in-1! Without further delay let us tell you all about this fantastic wine and why we think it is worth your attention.
It is an amazing limited edition, top notch wine from Rioja. To fully showcase the flavours we have also decided to prep delicious Spanish platter full of organic goodness and also free-range and organic medium-rare piece of fillet steak.
Here is what we have included in our Spanish feast platter:
Slices of jamon serrano and chorizo (some Spaniards will argue that noone slices chorizo that thinly and you are better off cooking it! oh well), piquillo peppers, peppers stuffed with goats cheese, small fresh peppers (for some crunch!), grilled peppers (don't you love that smoky and sweeter taste of a grilled pepper?), manchego cheese and olives. If you want a quick an easy, delicious platter to share with your loved one or friends, you can assemble this in no time.
This red wine matches perfectly to manchego, somewhat fatty jamon serrano and even spicier chorizo. It has typical to Rioja flavour profile as it is made of 100% Tempranillo and spent 11 months in oak, yet natural winemaking makes this wine even more exciting - it is not stale but playful and really excites you with its vibrancy and how full of life it is!
If you fancy something more substantial, you may want to go and match it to a protein. Some considerations here: pork might be just a bit too mellow for this wine, so you may want to add an interesting sauce to it or cook it with some chorizo pieces to infuse your pork with additional flavours; lamb on the other hand could be a bit too flavourful, so even if you decide to try, cook it as simple as possible and do not serve with a robust sauce. We have chosen a glorious piece of fillet steak. Infuse some oil and butter with springs of rosemary and garlic and simply grill constantly basting with butter. Our medium rare steak only took 6 minutes to prepare and a few minutes to rest. However admittedly you may need to rest it a bit longer, our platter has seen a bit more juices than needed when we assembled it. Oops.
Whilst you are busy with your steak, you can also make use of your time near the oven and toast some almonds with some sea salt. They will be crunchier and so delicious with your platter.
A bit more details about this Abel Mendoza Guardavinas 2014 Sin sulfuroso anodino (no added sulphites): it is fairly strong in alcohol: 14.5% abv and when we said it is a limited edition, we were a happy owner of bottle number 944, out of possible 1962. It is like to be a member of very special club. The winemaker produces quite a range of wines in Rioja Alavesa including some award-winning white wines, yet this particular wine was made naturally without adding sulphites after farming those vines using biodynamic treatments. It is an amazingly precise piece of work that also showcases what is nature about.
The wine starts (when you just open a bottle) as rather strong - this natural wine is playful, yet also rich and with pronounced flavour profile. It needs a bit of aeration, so make sure you pour yourself a glass, swirl it a bit and make it go through your wine a little bit, it will make it rounder.
This wine is definitely a food wine - it has a lovely an refreshing acidic profile that will cut through your jamon and steak nicely, as the wine is medium bodied it will also be great with grilled veg and pair perfectly with manchego cheese and goats cheese stuffed peppers. Flavours of spiced and ripe plums, hints of liquorice and earthy elegance.
It is a product of a passionate winemaker. Abel and his wife Maite have been making wines in San Vicente since 1988. Lying in the line of villages (Laguardia to Labastida) in the lee of the Sierra Cantabria, Abel has vineyards on the finest parts of Alavesa area of Rioja. 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 making other than his respect for the very natural quality of the grapes. More than anything in the world, Abel cares for his vineyards, each plot cared for independently and harvest done entirely by hand. Amazing!
Hopefully you loved this story and come back for more. See you shortly online or in-store! Cheers