At least once a year, we visit Albir in Alfaz del Pi along the Costa Blanca coast in Spain. We have been doing it for several years and our daily routines are pretty much the same each time. On of our trips, I came upon an article in the newspaper about wine that is made in the area. It turned out that it was just a short drive from the apartment to the vineyards of Bodegas Mendoza.
On their website, I found out that they have wine-tasting tours. I am glad I checked their website before we drove because they only have limited slots on these tours. They want to make it as personal as possible. The tour is for 1.5 hours.
Wines for sale at the meeting area.
We saw rows and rows of wine when we came in the doors. We were never pushed to buy anything. The winery started in the 70’s when Enrique became very interested in producing wine for personal and family consumption. He wanted good wine on the table and his initial intention was not to mass-produce them.
We were met by Enrique Mendoza himself
You could tell how passionate Enrique Mendoza is about wine. We tasted three reds and three whites. They were all paired with different cheeses and meats and they all complemented each other in taste.
Appropriately served in the correct wine glasses
With each new bottle of wine, a new set of different glasses came with it. The glasses were designed to bring out the best of the wine being served.
Inside a used oak barrel
They do not use oak barrels forever. The vineyards in Alfaz del Pi is used for ageing and bottling of wine. They do have grapes here to show us how they grow them, but the grapes for wine production are in Villena.
No herbicides nor insecticides here
The winery only uses natural grapes and they use compost. On the rails, I saw what I thought were rubber squares. He did not tell us the name, but we were informed it was to keep pests away. So they do not spray their grapes with chemicals. They just use these rubber squares and hang on the rails supporting the grapes.
Enrique Mendoza (rightmost) enjoys talking about wine
You can hear by the way he talks that he knows what he is doing. He loves growing grapes and making wine and showing others how it is done. Enrique does not want (for now) to go into mass-production. He would rather focus first on making good wine. Perhaps later, he said.
For each type of grape, they also showed the perfect soil to grow it in
Different wines are made from different grapes. Some wines can be a combination of grapes. Not all grapes grow optimally under the same conditions and in the same type of soil. So at their showroom, you not only see the different bottles of wine, you also see the kind of soil the grapes used were grown in.
You can rent the place for garden parties
For a minimum of 10 persons, one can eat at Bodegas Mendoza. Just send them an e-mail. There are no set menus. Each request is handled individually. The only thing that (obviously) cannot be negotiated is what wine is to be served. You can also rent out the whole place for bigger receptions. What about a garden wedding in a vineyard in Alfaz Del Pi?
You cannot resist Enrique’s wines
Of course we came out buying some bottles. They never pushed anyone to buy. But because we tasted really good ones which were paired with cheese and cold-cuts, everyone imagined doing the same when they get back home. So we all bought some bottles.
Please do not forget to book your tour in advance as space is limited and the do not do it everyday. I hope you get lucky like me to have Enrique Mendoza himself as your “guide”.
Interested in more vineyards? Here is a blogpost about vineyards outside Europe: