Mendoza La Tremenda Monastrell is immediately inviting with aromas of black cherries and hints of mediterranean herbs, spice, toast and cocoa. This is followed by rich cherry fruit flavours and nice savoury, ripe tannins. It has a lovely silky texture and very good length. Made from the Monastrell grape which is known as Mourvedre in France, where it plays a starring role in Chateauneuf du Pape, here it makes the stylish Mendoza La Tremenda Monastrell. The 2018 vintage has firm tannins and should be drinking well from June/July 2021.
It has spent 6 months in French oak barrels (2nd and 3rd year which gives a gentle oak nuance to this wine) and then was aged a further 12 months in bottle before release. This is a stylish, approachable wine which received 92 points from the Wine Advocate, at a very good price.
José (Pepe) Mendoza was the first Spanish winemaker to work in New Zealand, where he worked Grove Mill in Marlborough Valley. He later worked in Argentina with Altavista and Achaval-Ferrer. In 1990, Pepe returned to Spain and now runs the family-run vineyards and Bodega with his brother Julian. He is passionate about his vineyards, as he says “the best wine is in the best vineyard”. His “Finca Chaconero” vineyards are in the hills near Villena about an hour north of Alicante, where cooling breezes and lower night time temperatures, assist the development of the vines. He uses organic and biodynamic principles; no herbicides or insecticides are used and careful pruning and care of the vines produces fresh, concentrated, high-quality grapes.
This wine takes its name from the vineyard where it is grown on the Finca Chaconero Estate in the high vineyards of Alto Vinalopó; the 32 year old vines are now very much at home on the stony, chalky soils and are harvested by hand.
Pepe is modest about his winemaking skills, saying that the “finishing touches” are made in their underground winery in Alfaz de Pí in Alicante. This is where the wines are crafted and then aged in controlled temperatures and humidity; the result is world-class wines from this lesser known DO.
“Full of suppressed energy, this is a joyous wine full of ripe fruit softened by six months in French oak. Enrique Mendoza is a cheerleader for the great wines and traditions of Alicante.” 2017 vintage 90 points: Decanter Magazine March 2018
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Food match: Grilled meats and chicken, especially Pork, Spicy Sausages like Chorizo, Tapas