The interest and recovery of autochthonous varieties after four decades of start for the planting of international varieties has entered a new phase. In recent years, interest in autochthonous varieties was a matter of recovering local identity and the need for differentiation in globalized markets.
Now add two more factors. In the first place, the autochthonous varieties are proving to be in better conditions to face the challenges of climate change. In the second place, the recovery of autochthonous varieties has gone from being a local desire to become a global necessity, given the enormous loss of biodiversity of the world vineyard.
Do not miss these unique bottles that are included in The Wine Guide 2023, directed by Lluís Tolosa with the collaboration of Ferran Centelles, Meritxell Falgueras, María José Huertas, Alicia Estrada and Zoltan Nagy.
After 50 years of research and dedication, the return of the tintilla from Rota to Tierra de Cádiz has been possible. González Byass has recovered some vines of this variety in Arcos de la Frontera, thanks to the planting of this variety in 1972, a bet that marked the beginning of the return of this native variety that González Byass was already producing in 1841. Marina García González , the winery's oenologist, was born among the vines. Her family has cultivated and produced wines for generations. The 45-hectare project is close to the Guadalcacín reservoir and the Sierra Valleja, in a paradisiacal enclave, known by the local elders as the land of vineyards
of Arcos. The composition of the soil, the temperate climate and the altitude of the vineyard create the conditions for the production of great Andalusian red wines. The Finca Moncloa Tintilla de Rota Edición Limitada is a unique and very rare red wine. Only 2,076 bottles have been produced in its first vintage. I was lucky enough to meet him and taste him. It has stimulating acidity and vibrant juiciness, with a slightly sweet entry into the mouth. A wine with personality, with an intense ruby red tone and ripe cherry. It presents aromas of red and black fruit, oak, cocoa, with light floral and balsamic notes. Finca Moncloa has been part of the Grandes Pagos de España association since 2014, which brings together great single-plot wines, with an unmistakable personality, which transport you to their origin in the glass. Ideal for those who want a wine with Andalusian history and passion. Zoltan Nagy
What is a good wine? Surely the best wine is the one that speaks transparently about the landscape to which it belongs. A good wine born in an environment of comfortable climate and happy geographies will speak, if nobody bothers it, with elegance and academic complexity. A good wine born in environments of suffering, extreme temperatures, Franciscan poverty... This wine will speak with a certain rudeness, but its rusticity will be sincere and honest.
This is the spirit of Las Loberas, dialogues from an extreme vineyard that speaks with wild but very true words. Wine from a single plot, the almost hundred-year-old Garnacha grows on sandy pink granite soils that regulate the continental climate very well. In addition, its location facing south and its measured height, over 780 meters in the Sierra de Gredos, make Las Loberas an unrepeatable wine, somewhat wild and with a Mediterranean imprint that makes this expression of Garnacha unique. To maintain the character of the vineyard, minimal intervention vocabularies are also spoken in the winery: fermentation in cement, partly with whole bunches seeking to continue the wild character of the vineyard; very restrained use of wood, just the touch of the foudre to round off the wine; unfiltered bottled, etc. A concentrated Garnacha, very fresh, very balanced, capable of taking us to the area of Las Loberas in one sip. A wine to shake us out of routine and give us the memory of an ancestral vineyard and the men and women who bequeathed it to us. Alice Estrada
The DO Cebreros is experiencing an amazing growth and projection, being the last DO created in Spain, registered in 2017. Its landscape is impressive and difficult to describe in words, very old vineyards, planted in a way as beautiful as it is irregular, in the middle of of the mountain. Surrounded by stones and huge granite boulders, it reminds us of something that we have too forgotten: the vine is very much a wild and adaptive plant to the environment.
If the wines of Cebreros were presented to the world as "wines with emotion and mountain", this Arroyuelos 2021 could be perfectly defined as "wine of passion and garage".
- Yes, you read it right.
- I keep the car in the garage, the bikes at most I store junk.
- Well, in the Las Pedreras garage, Bárbara Requejo and Guzmán de la Parra make the most promising wine from the Sierra de Gredos: fine, delicate and subtle Garnachas. Some mountain wines with the soul of Burgundy.
Barbara changed her role as technical director in one of the traditional wineries in the area to start this successful and personal project with her partner, Guzmán. We can visit him at the winery or at her restaurant La Querencia, a place full of flavor in Villaneueva de Ávila.
I propose a pairing, in case you dare to visit Guzmán in his kitchen: Los Arroyuelos 2021 (of which only 5,200 bottles are produced) and his artichokes with ham and pine nuts. The versatility, finesse and depth of this Garnacha will perfectly accompany this succulent dish. Ferran Centelles
Two main facts mark the history of the DO Pla de Bages. The first was the Alovera, the plague that devastated the region just when it had the most important vine plantation in Catalonia. The second is the existence of the Roqueta family. Documents are preserved that show that in the year 1199 wine was already produced in the Roqueta farmhouse, the residence, still today, of the family.
I will add a third fact, this time etymological. The origin of the word Bages comes from the name Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. Perhaps it was Baco himself who pushed Ramon Roqueta Torrentó to go down to Manresa and found the first family winery in 1898. Later, the new generations created Celler Abadal.
Abadal Mandó 2019 is bottled history. The winery began work in 2003 to recover the variety, from almost extinct vines. Thanks to this selection and recovery work, today there are 40 hectares of mandó in Pla de Bages, a complete success. It is a variety that makes red wines, of moderate alcohol with a certain tonic rusticity, which can cope with hot and dry conditions, hence its agricultural interest.
The recovery of varieties is hard and slow work, it was not until 2015 that we tasted the first vintage of this unique wine. Much of it is aged for 12 months in amphora and the rest in used extra-fine grain barrels. This is how a light, aromatic wine is obtained, with firm tannins and enveloping freshness. A unique wine, very representative of this ancestral variety. Ferran Centelles
Third vintage of this organic wine made with the ancestral Moneu variety, which has been gaining presence in the blend of varieties until it is the true protagonist. The reward has been the Gold Medal in the International Wine Challenge 2022 contest.
Representative of the work that Familia Torres has been carrying out since the early eighties to recover ancestral varieties, contributing to recovering the wine heritage and seeking solutions to climate change. In recent years they have verified that some of these varieties, in addition to showing great oenological potential, are resistant to drought and high temperatures, such as the Moneu, originally from Penedès, which they reintroduced on the Bleda castle estate and is now the backbone of this Ancestral Clos.
The 2021 vintage is quite special because it corresponds to one of the driest years in the Penedès area. It is a soft, light and silky wine. Its balance is based on the perfect proportion of each variety and the correct combination of aging. More than half of the wine is aged for 10 months in second-use French oak barrels that leave little mark on the wood, and the rest in stainless steel to maintain all the fruity expression. The Moneu variety carries out a part of the aging in jars and amphoras, looking for different evolutions and nuances. At the end the final assembly is designed. Predominance of red fruits, fine floral notes, especially violets, and a smooth, round and spicy finish. Luis Tolosa
Álvaro de Blas Serrano is a construction manager engineer at the Sagrera high-speed train station (Barcelona). Our friend Martha introduced us. An intelligent, cultured or educated man is immediately recognized. Despite his youth, he has been managing this macro infrastructure project for years, with a work contract of 300 million euros. Even so, whenever he can, he collaborates in the family business, the De Blas Serrano winery, in the Ribera del Duero in Burgos. So we ended up talking about wines and of course tasting them.
The winery was founded by Eugenio De Blas, Luis Miguel De Blas and José Manuel Serrano, with the technical direction of the Alsatian winemaker Sophie Kuhn. Fuentelcésped is a town with a long winemaking tradition, founded by the Premonstratensian orders of the monastery of Santa María de La Vid (12th century). Municipal ordinances to regulate the production and marketing of its wines are already known in the year 1607, when the municipality devoted almost all its land to vines and fixed wine prices in Castilla.
De Blas Serrano is a monovarietal 100% tinta del país from seven vines over 50 years old, planted at 830-940 meters above sea level, where the Castilian plateau imposes strong temperature fluctuations, with hot summers and frosts in spring. This is how this dark, dense and concentrated Ribera del Duero was born. Candied and sweet, notes of licorice, spices and cocoa, with a slight final astringency, persistent and penetrating. Its virtue is that it balances, power, structure and meatiness with a very smooth texture. Very good. Luis Tolosa
Imperial is one of the great centuries-old Riojan brands born in 1920. The name comes from its old bottling for the English market in a bottle called Imperial Pint, approximately half a liter. The Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) also maintains two other large centuries-old brands, Viña Real (1920) and Monopole (1925), the latter as the oldest white wine brand in Spain.
The main winery is still in its original location in the Barrio de la Estación in Haro. In 1879 it settled next to the railway to export large quantities of wine during the phylloxera crisis in France (1868-1892). Today CVNE is a group of four wineries, together with Viñedos del Contino (1973), Viña Real (2004) and Imperial (2005), the latter located within the historic facilities and dedicated exclusively to the production of Imperial.
They currently make the Imperial Reserva and the Imperial Gran Reserva. The latter has captured all eyes, especially since the 2004 Gran Reserva won first place in the Top 100 Wine world ranking of the North American magazine Wine Spectator.
But the Imperial Reserva seems to me unbeatable in value for money, with a very high and constant quality in all its vintages. From vineyards over 40 years old, it ferments in oak vats of different capacities depending on the size of the estate, with subsequent aging for 24 months in American and French oak barrels. Only at the end is the assembly of varieties made to refine it as well as possible. A great classic that never fails. Luis Tolosa