–with Peter Buckley of Vineyard Road, Friday, September 22nd.
Appellation: Cava • Subzone: Alt Penedès • Climate: Mediterranean • Varieties: 40% Macabeo, 30% Xarlel-lo, 30% Parellada • Soil: Calcareous Clay • Elevation: 250-350 meters • Vine Age: 25 years • Pruning: Espaldera • Farming: Certified Organic
The Suriol family has lived and made wine in the same masia, the Castell de Grabuac, in Penedès since the 15th century. They produce Cavas and still wines using traditional, non-interventionist methods, indigenous grape varieties vinified by parcel with native yeasts, local chestnut wood for barrel aging, and corks from the local forest. The results are some of the most complex and layered Penedès wines that we have tasted.
The Suriol estate is located in the village of Font Rubí in the Alt Penedès, just north of Vilafranca and west of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, and a one-hour drive from Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Their 25 hectares of vineyards are divided up into 20 different microplots and surround the masia, and have been certified organic since 1996. They employ biodynamic practices as well, utilizing native plants for preparations.
All Suriol Cavas are brut nature and vintage dated, and raised on the lees in bottle until order, with the disgorgement date noted on the back label. Fruit for the Cava Brut Nature comes from eight parcels planted in the late 1980’s. The grapes are handharvested, pressed, and fermented in steel vats, transferred to underground concrete vats for malolactic fermentation over the winter, then bottle aged for a minimum of 15 months, although 25-40 months is typically where they find the fruity and yeasty/toasty flavors are in perfect balance. It is a singular Cava with brisk acidity, creamy texture, and flavors of orchard fruits, nuts, fresh bread, and sea salt.
Alvaro Bueno, Benaza Godello (2016)
100% Godello from 20 -40 year old vines at 400 metres elevation. The wine region Monterrei (in Galicia) is located just above Portugal in the province of Ourense. Monterrei is a relatively new D.O. but possesses a long history of winegrowing, and at the moment is experiencing a renaissance in winemaking. The climate is relatively dry and warm for Galicia and more continental than Atlantic. The soils are a mix of clay and alluvial. Wine is fermented in steel and aged for 12 months on the lees.
Dominio del Urogallo, Fanfarria (2015)
Asturias, Spain • Appellation: Cangas • Organic, Biodynamic
Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is a red wine produced in Cangas by the Dominio de Urogallo winery in Cangas de Narcea, Asturias. Dominio del Urogallo is a project founded by Nicolás Marcos and his partner Fran Asencio in Asturias. Native to Toro, Nico discovered his personal and most revolutionary project in the Cangas area, with native varieties like the Verdejo Tinto or the Albarín Tinta, an Atlantic climate and soil made up of quartz, slate and anthracite. He cultivates the vineyards following the precepts of biodynamic viticulture and takes care of the fruit during production, without filtering or adding anything.
Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is the freshest wine in the winery, produced with the Mencía and Albarín Negro varieties. The grape is destemmed and ferments in stainless steel tanks, the wine is then decanted into used barrels where malolactic fermentation and stabilization take place for 6 months.
Alfredo Maestro, Viña Almate (2016)
Grower: Alfredo Maestro • Appellation: Vdt Castilla y Léon • Localities: Peñafiel, Valtiendas • Climate: Continental • Grape(s): Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) • Soil(s): River Stones, Clay, Alluvial • Elevation: 700-1,000 meters • Vine Age 10-80 Years Old • Farming: Practicing Organic • Pruning: En Vaso, Espaldera • Production 830 cases
The affable iconoclast Alfredo Maestro established his small bodega in 1998 in his hometown of Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero. Alfredo seeks out neglected vineyards around Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha, takes the parcels over, and works them organically. In the cellar, Alfredo works as naturally as anyone we have seen in Spain, eliminating all winemaking additives – including sulfur. Over time, Alfredo has accumulated 9 hectares across Castilla y León and La Mancha along with establishing a second small bodega near Madrid.
This cuvee is meant to express the terroir of Castilla y León in its purest form. Almate is the name of the first vineyard that Alfredo planted and gives the name to his bodega and to Alfredo’s entry-level Duero wine. This cuvee is made from fruit sourced from various plots in Valtiendas, an area located at 1,000 meters just south of the Ribera del Duero, as well as Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero.
Viña Almate comes from 100% Tinto Fino, aka the local clone of Tempranillo grown on river stones, clay, and clay-calcareous soils. Fermented 80% whole-cluster with wild yeasts in steel vats; Raised in neutral French oak for 2-4 months with one racking; Unfined & unfiltered; Very low SO2.
The vineyards for this wine are located in the Ribera del Duero and Valtiendas, where the climate is harshly continental with cold winters, hot days and cold nights during the ripening season, which gives wines with robust fruit and brisk acidity if the grapes are picked at the right time. The biggest threat to viticulture is frost in the spring and fall. The short growing season is ideal for Tempranillo, an early ripening grape.