Enrique Mendoza

Located in the Autonomous Community of Valencia, down Spain's Mediterannean east coast, D.O. Alicante produces elegant warm country wines, predominantly dry reds from Monastrell and sweet whites from Moscatel. Alicante is the driest Spanish wine region, with 300mm or so rainfall per year. The winters are short and the summers are long, hot and nearly rainless. High altitude, however, with its dramatic diurnal temperature range, facilitates retention of acidity and the ability to maintain relative delicacy, definition and finesse. For the past 20 years, Pepe Mendoza has headed a project founded by and named after his father, Enrique. The Mendozas, firstly Enrique, and more-so Pepe, have spent 30 years de-vigouring the local Monastrell and replenishing its prestige. All of Pepe's focus is viticultural, with yields down half a kg/vine. Farming is 'biological-radical': mildew management is dandelion infusions, cinnamon powder for spiders, with camomile, nettle and other infusions also used for pest and disease control. Pepe likes to work the soil, not the caopy. Soils are opened to receive water in winter and closed a little in summer to retain it. Everything in the winery is done by hand, including pipeage - no pumps. The combination of wood, anthocyanins from grapeskins and air develop colour, structure, and stability. Wood is low-to-mid toast Nadalie in the main, very low impact, in larger formats and only newish. Pepe is playing with new square box fermenters rather than oval and barrel shaped Foudre and Tinas, as the removable panels make easy cleaning and reduce the likelihood of wines going in 'bad directions' (brettanomyces).

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