For two generations Abel Mendoza's family has been farming vineyards in Rioja which are scattered throughout the commune of San Vicente de la Sonsierra (towards the border of Rioja Alta and Alavesa). More than anything in the world, Abel cares for his vineyards, each plot cared for independently and harvest done entirely by hand. The grapes planted are all indigenous including malvasia (a variety widely planted in Rioja in the 18th century), viura, tempranillo and graciano.
Abel is a perfectionist and has no ambition to seek the limelight, so he spends none of his energy (or money) on marketing, preferring to concentrate his efforts in the vineyards and winemaking. It means the wines remain relatively unknown here in the UK yet in Rioja his status is somewhat legendary.
His wines could be described as modern in style in that he uses only French oak and ages the wines for shorter periods than is traditional in Rioja. He produces both red and whites, ignores the local regulations of using age statements on the labels (eg reserva). The wines have a sophistication, complexity and breed that mark them out as one of the single finest producers in Rioja.