Mendieta Osaba Rioja Alavesa "Mendi" 20

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I recently attended ProWein, one of the world's leading wine trade fairs held in Germany. While there, I had the pleasure of meeting Juan Carlos Sancha, a pioneer in viticulture and oenology based at the University of Rioja. His influence on the new generation of vignerons in Rioja cannot be overstated. I was thrilled to learn more about his contributions to the new direction of winemaking in the region.

Juan Carlos Sancha, a professor of oenology at the University of La Rioja and a passionate winemaker, has devoted his life to pursuing excellence in Rioja wines. He is widely known for his innovative winemaking techniques, and especially his focus on preserving and promoting the use of indigenous grape varieties. His dedication to sustainable and organic viticulture and producing organic wines have earned him respect among his peers and significantly shaped how young winemakers approach their craft.

You'll be hearing quite a bit more about Juan Carlos -and- his wines, in future newsletters.

One prime example of this new wave in Rioja is Mendieta Osaba, a family-run winery that has embraced Juan Carlos Sancha's philosophy and approach. Founded by the Mendieta family, the estate is a testament to the tremendous potential of small-scale hands-on vignerons wholly embracing the growing artisanal winemaking movement in Rioja.

Mendieta Osaba's commitment to organic viticulture and its dedication to preserving the environment aligns with Juan Carlos Sancha's vision for the future of Rioja wines. They are at the foundation of this growing trend of young, innovative winemakers who have taken up the mantle of preserving the region's rich heritage while adapting to the tastes and expectations of today's wine lovers.

The Mendieta Osaba estate is located in the foothills of the Sierra Cantabria in the scenic village of Lantziego, in the center of the highly regarded Rioja Alavesa terroir. Here, the Mendieta family has passionately cultivated grapes in their family vineyards for generations. Rioja Alavesa is celebrated for its calcareous clay soils, unique microclimate, and high altitudes, resulting in some of Spain's most refined and expressive examples of Tempranillo.

Juantxu Mendieta, fondly known as "Mendi" to friends and family, creates exceptional, handcrafted wines in limited quantities that genuinely capture the essence of this remarkable terroir and the new direction of Rioja. The winery's offerings include elegant Tempranillo blends, a single vineyard monovarietal masterpiece, and a superb single estate Malvasia/Viura blend. Some of these venerable family vineyards have been producing and thriving for over 70 years, and the quality is evident in the bottle.

A standout wine from Mendieta Osaba Wines is the "Mendi" Rioja Tempranillo, a beautiful representation of the region's signature grape variety and a glimpse into the new direction many young vignerons are taking in Rioja. Think of this as the future of entry-level Rioja.

In your glass, you'll enjoy a melange of vibrant red fruit flavors, well-integrated tannins, and a touch of spice, all blending in beautiful harmony. I especially love the dance between red and black raspberry notes and the subtle hints of red licorice. There's a tangy carbonic vibe that will remind you of a well-produced Cru Beaujolais, and I find Mendi Riojah to be just as food friendly as your favorite Beaujolais. Pair with anything from burgers and pizza to pork chops, duck, lighter steaks, and grilled birds. It would also do very nicely with grilled or spicy-seared salmon.

Now the question on everyone's mind is why such a hefty discount? Easy, the importer needed to move it out, and after we tasted this delicious red jewel, I knew it would be a great deal for local AWM customers.

Load up on this one while we have it -- it will drink like a champ for the next couple of years, and these best-buy gems are getting harder and harder to find!

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