Enrique Mendoza Alicante La Tremenda Monastrell 2017
Bright ruby-red in color, this wine shows expressive notes of fresh black cherries and red berries mingled with hints of sweet spice, toast and cocoa. On the palate, this accessible red shows silky texture, liveliness and long length.
Pair it with pork chops, Kobe beef, or parmesan-crusted asparagus tips.
Although Enrique Mendoza founded the winery in 1989, his son Pepe now runs the business, aided by his younger brother Julián. Pepe is responsible for vineyard management and winemaking, while Julián looks after the commercial side of the company. So well respected is Enrique Mendoza that it was inducted into the prestigious Grandes Pagos de España. This group’s mission is to defend and propagate the culture of “pago” wine, meaning wine produced in a specific terroir that reflects the distinct personality of the soil and climate. To become a member, a vineyard must surpass strict quality standards and also exhibit a degree of uniqueness in terms of soil, climate or grape variety that sets it apart from the surrounding area. The association’s membership includes 25 estate wineries throughout Spain. Bodegas Enrique Mendoza is located near the town of Alfàs Del Pi, about 45 miles from the city of Alicante, and is surrounded by breathtakingly landscaped gardens. Most of the vineyards are located near Villena at an average of 1200 feet elevation, with some parcels as high as 2100 feet. Traditional plantings include Monastrell and Moscatel, although recently Pepe has experimented with international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The resulting wines are typically fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak, with long maceration (up to 28 days). Natural farming is prioritized at Enrique Mendoza. Indigenous yeasts are used, and insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers are avoided in favor of biodynamic practices. Pepe also emphasizes placing his vines under the optimal level of hydric stress to produce small, concentrated grapes; he uses computerized sensors to monitors moisture levels in the vineyard, adjusting irrigation accordingly.
Alicante is a port city in southeastern Costa Blanca and municipality in the Valencian Community of Spain. The eponymous DO is a non-contiguous appellation, divided between east and west. Along the eastern coast you find La Marina, a subzone known for its perfumed sweet white wines made from Moscatel de Alejandría; other white grape varieties include Merseguera and Malvasía. The drier, more extreme climate to the west is home to Monastrell, which accounts for 75% of total DO vineyard plantings. Other major red grape varieties include Garnacha Tintorera and Bobal, a thick-skinned black variety native to the Levante (the eastern edge of the Iberian Peninsula). Bobal had been destined for bulk wine production during much of its modern history but a new generation of winemakers today are taking advantage of the wide availability of old vine material, to produce full-bodied, concentrated wines, which are increasingly complex. In the last ten years, Alicante DO has gained popularity and respect for its new light, fresh wines and interesting varietal reds produced by pioneering bodegas.
Alongside the other wines emerging here, Alicante’s classic dessert wine, Fondillon, has been exported for centuries and is enjoying its own renaissance.
Full of ripe fruit, and robust, earthy goodness, Mourvèdre is actually of Spanish provenance, where it still goes by the name Monastrell or Mataro. It is better associated however, with the Red Blends of the Rhône, namely Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Mourvèdre shines on its own in Bandol and is popular both as a single varietal wine in blends in the New World regions of Australia, California and Washington. Somm Secret—While Mourvèdre has been in California for many years, it didn’t gain momentum until the 1980s when a group of California winemakers inspired by the wines of the Rhône Valley finally began to renew a focus on it.