Mendel Wines Mendoza
This small, bespoke new bodega is a source of some excellent old vine Malbec. Cabernet Sauvignon is also significant in the Unus blended red. Winemaking expertise is provided by Roberto de la Mota who previously made another benchmark red, Cheval des Andes at TERRAZOS DE LOS ANDES. Output here is small although the approach is highly sophisticated. The vineyards are located at altitudes ranging from 900 to 1,100 metres above sea level in the Luján de Cuyo sub-region of Mendoza. Much of the key to the quality of the wines are the old vineyards, up to 80 years in some plots, and the sparse mineral rich soils. The vines are flood irrigated block by block to manage the vines growth stress and this also helps in guarding against phylloxera with many vines being ungrafted. The summers at this altitude are never excessively hot and the summer nights cool, aiding the development of acidity in the grapes. Vinification, while sophisticated and well organized is nevertheless artisan in approach and philosophy. The fruit is carefully sorted and a long vatting of up to five weeks carried out.
The spicy, complex old-viney Malbec is aged for 12 months in roughly one-third new wood. The Unus gets a little longer 16 months and in all new oak. The Malbec which accounts for roughly 70% of the blend is combined with Cabernet Sauvignon aiding the grip and structure of the wine taking up the new wood. There is also a considerably pricier Malbec Finca Remola from an ungrafted 60 year old vineyard which is given the modern treatment of 200% new wood, being given a period in new barrels and passed again into a completely new set of barrels. A softer fruit driven Malbec, Lunta and a characterful low volume Sémillon add further interest to the range. Both the Malbec and the Unus are notable for their value as well as quality. (DM)
To find out more about Mendel and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Regional Guide to South America..
Or indeed you can check out the new extensively updated 9th edition Wine Behind the Label Wine Guide that is 2250 pages, it reviews around 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines Merlot, the two Cabernets, Carmenère and Syrah. (DM)