Bodegas Altolandon, Dulce Enero Ice Wine, Manchuela, Spain, 2022
Owner & winemaker, Rosalia Molina, makes organic wines in one of Spain's highest altitude wineries. Her mission is to make wines that express the typicity of DO Manchuela: the vineyard, the altitude and the varieties planted.
This is a climate on the edge of what is possible: at 1,100 metres above sea level, the grapes experience a large diurnal range that encourages even ripening and helps to retain natural acidity. Rosalia's vineyards are certified organic, she uses only natural fertilisers, promoting biodiversity by welcoming chickens, sheep and pigs from local farms to roam the vineyards freely. Grapes are hand harvested and vinified as naturally as possible with native yeasts and little other intervention. The wines are then aged in clay amphora and some in French oak to give texture and complexity.
Harvested in January, when the grapes have frozen due to temperatures remaining below minus five degrees for at least five days but never below minus 13 degrees. These weather conditions mark the beginning of the harvest, which is why it is only produced in exceptional years. A manual harvest of frozen but healthy grapes without any trace of rotting are quickly pressed in the same vineyard as the grape, with the ice crystals still in the grape causing s a high concentration of sugars in the must and plenty of acidity. Due to the dehydration, this improves the extraction of aromatic components.
As the water is first to freeze within the grape, an increased concentration of sugars are obtained from the must. The grapes must be pressed before the ice crystals break down. The yeasts for fermentation are native, providing much of the character and personality of the terroir. Fermentation is a very slow process, it can take 2 to 3 months and is carried out in small stainless steel tanks to provide a completely natural wine, with no added sulphites and the stabilisation and clarification are also a natural sedimentation process.
No oak ageing
This golden, almost amber coloured wine has a very intense, appealing nose of sweet tropical fruits, peach, apricot, citrus fruits and some spice. The palate is packed full of white fleshed and stone fruits, with the medium body ending with a long sweet finish, supported by crisp acidity. Clean and fresh, very mineral, hints of honey and plenty of persistence.
Serve very cold as an aperitif, or with foie gras, strong and tasty cheeses. Ice cream. Also with Iberico ham or prawns with lemongrass.
Petit Manseng 100%
6 x 50cl