Victor Mendes: From Successful Wine Retailer to Negociant

Vienna Vintner’s Victor Mendes is offering customers and wine club members a new line of delicious wines sold under the VIX label. The wines are sourced from California’s Central Coast and are crafted in collaboration with Edgar Torres, owner and winemaker of Bodega de Edgar in Paso Robles’ Peachy Canyon.  The line consists of 14 premium wines, mainly of Spanish and Rhone varieties that are produced in small quantities. Presently, Victor is selling his wines locally. However he has plans in the works to distribute them in other wine markets.

At Victor’s invitation the IWR recently tasted through a lineup of the current and future releases of VIX.  We were impressed with the overall quality of the wines.  They are Californian in style, generally fruit forward, fresh tasting and easy drinking.  They are well-made, nicely balanced with moderate levels of alcohol and round tannins and are for the most part made for early drinking, although a few are complex and age worthy. The Vienna Vintner is in Vienna, VA

Tasting Notes

There is currently only one white wine in VIX’s current line up, VIX 2021 Albariño  Paso Robles ($25 ) 90  The first vintage of this wine is highly successful. It is a lovely fruit forward wine with concentrated tropical and citrus fruit flavors, good acidity and a crisp finish.

The rest of the VIX portfolio consistes of red wines:  VIX 2021 Straight out of Paso Rosé SOP Paso Robles  ($24) 88   A blend of 40%  Syrah,  40% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre and 10% Carignan, produced with the saignée method. This rosé displays an eye of the partridge color and offers light strawberry and red-berry aromas and flavors.  It is an easy-drinking, quaffing wine with a crisp finish and is perfect for hot summer- day drinking.  VIX 2018 Pinot Noir Central Coast ($35) 91   Medium ruby in color, this Pinot Noir offers nicely integrated fresh cherry fruit and toasted oak aromas and flavors. Aged 24 months in French oak, 30% new, it is nicely balanced and medium weight, revealing good density of flavor and a light tannic grip. A nice food wine.  There are two red blends in the lineup, both sourced from Santa Barbara County:  VIX 2015 Stonehouse  Santa Barbara County ($40) 90  A blend of 62% Grenache and 38% Mourvèdre,  the 2015 Stonehouse is a delicious Rhone style fruit forward wine, offering spicy red fruit with a soft medium-bodied texture, round tannins and a pleasant finish. An easy drinking bistro wine that is very food friendly. VIX 2016 Stonehouse Santa Barbara ($40) 89  This bottling is a blend of 37% Grenache, 37% Syrah, and 26% Mourvèdre.  A young-tasting wine, the 2016 Stonehouse offers  black fruit flavors, earthy notes, and a  soft texture with  firm tannic grip. It is a pleasant tasting wine that could benefit from more time in the bottle and deserve a higher rating.  VIX 2017 Straight out of Paso Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles ($28) 90 A very drinkable fruit forward wine offering black current and red berry fruit aromas and flavors. It has a lush palate with a soft texture, round tannins and good concentration. It is not a complex wine but is soft and flavorful.  VIX 2018 Cabernet Franc Paso Robles ($45) 93  This is an  elegant wine and one of the top wines of the tasting. It offers concentrated dark berry fruit aromas and flavors, spice and herbal notes. It is beautifully balanced with soft round tannins, excellent structure and a long finish. Sourced from a special parcel of old Cabernet Franc vines.   Another excellent wine is the VIX 2018 Reserve Paso Robles ( $50) 93  This bottling is another top wine of the tasting.  It is 100% Tempranillo and reminiscent of a top flight Spanish Gran Reserva.  Opaque ruby and full-bodied, it reveals outstanding depth of black fruit flavors and spice with layers of complexity.  Aged 28 months in French oak, 50% new, it has a silky mouth feel, excellent balance and long aging potential.   A real winner.   VIX 2019 Reserve Central Coast $50  (91-92)    A blend of 40% Syrah, 20% Petit Sirah, 20% Carignan, and 20% Graciano, this bottling is a bigger wine than the 2018 Reserve but not as complex.  It is dark fruited and spicy with good structure and considerable tannic grip.  Aged 24 months in French barriques, 30% new. Unfined and unfiltered.

New Releases

VIX 2020 Grenache Paso Robles  ($50) 91 This is a delicious, fruit forward single varietal Grenache.  It offers spicy red berry fruit aromas with good definition and flavor.  It reveals excellent balance with good acidity and a soft texture that make it drinkable now.  VIX 2020 Tempranillo Paso Robles ($35) 90  This young Tempranillo is dark ruby in color  and offers  lovely dark red berry and plum fruit with notes of cedar on the nose and palate.  Aged 28 months in French barriques, 50% new, the fruit and the oak are well integrated in the wine.  Given its youthful character, the wine would benefit from additional aging, but could be enjoyed now after decanting.   VIX 2020 Carignan Paso Robles ($45) 92   Exhibiting a lovely fruit forward nose. this bottling exhibits dark ruby flavors with hints of herbs and spices.  Aged 22 months in barriques, 25% new, the wine displays a, soft texture with good intensity of red fruit flavor and hints of earth. Very nicely done; still young and slightly tannic.  VIX 2020 Mourvèdre Paso Robles ($45) 90 This wine is light-bodied and offers aromas of red-berry fruit and cedar with hints of spice, herbs and roasted meat.  Aged 22 months in French barriques, 40% new, it reveals good concentration and balance, rounded tannins, and should pair well with a variety of Mediterranean dishes. VIX 2020 Graciano Paso Robles ($45) 92   While Graciano has mainly served as a blending grape, it has been produced successfully as a single varietal wine in Rioja and elsewhere.  This Graciano displays a dark ruby color with highly expressive aromas and concentrated flavors of spicy dark red berry fruit and herbs. It reveals a lush texture with light tannins, excellent acidity, and a strong finish.



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