The 2013 Selección Personal is sourced from a different plot depending on the vintage, and in 2013 it comes from a plot between San Vicente and Labastida, a vineyard called Marrate in a zone known as El Bardallo. This plot is planted on different small terraces with old vines (about 70 years old) with mixed grapes, from which the Tempranillo is selected for this red. It has a subtle nose with moderate ripeness, without any excess or too much oak. The destemmed grapes fermented in stainless steel and the wine matured in new French oak barrels for 13 months. I found this wine quite oaky in previous years, but here the wood feels much better integrated, which is very welcomed, perhaps helped by the acidity and freshness of the year. This zone is quite stony and tends to produce mineral wines, of which this is a great example, with very fine, chalky tannins and a tasty, mineral finish. A great showing for Selección Personal. 4,520 bottles produced.
Score: 93 points -- Luis Gutiérrez, RobertParker.com, Aug 2016
"100% Tempranillo that was fermented in stainless steel tanks for 12 days and then aged in new French Oak for 12 months. This wine is closed on the nose with hints of blackberry and violets peeking through. Muscular and compact on the palate, this has more fruit on than the Jarrarte but it will also need more time. Put this in the cellar and forget about it for 5 years." -- Jon Ellison, Marquis Wine Cellars
Abel Mendoza is widely regarded as one of the single finest producers in Rioja.
Abel is passionate about his vineyards, and spends much of his time working manually in his 18 hectares of prime old vines around San Vicente de la Sonsierra in the north of Rioja Alta. Moreover, since these noble vineyards are spread out and are haphazardly planted with an array of grape varieties, harvest is carried out by hand, each plot and each variety individually at the optimum moment.
Preferring to ferment each of the traditional, and in some cases scarce white Rioja varietals separately in new oak barrels, he makes wines that are astonishing in their freshness and complexity. Sadly only a handful of cases are made each year and similarly a cuvee he makes 5V (5 varietals) blending all five varieties is also very limited. The flagship red - Abel's personal selection - is likewise fermented in new oak and is equally impressive as his whites. The Crianza is fermented and aged in a mixture of new and 1-2 year barrels, and then there is his ultimate selection, Grano a Grano, as the name suggests individually selected grapes.