Bodegas Gratias, Soy Arenas, Manchuela, Spain, 2020
When Ana and Iván got together for a party with some oenologist friends in 2007, they decided to make some wine and put it in a barrel.
The results of this first vintage were astonishing and so Bodegas Gratias was born. After the success of the first vintage, they realised they had a chance to make a difference. In a region with a declining wine industry, Ana and Iván are on a mission to protect old vineyards of Bobal, Tardana and other local varieties, championing the vinous heritage of the area. They champion Manchuela as a region capable of producing exciting and relevant wines that draw on the best of tradition and indigenous varieties, yet with a spin that is undeniably looking to the future. These wines are artisanal and as natural as they come, being organically grown, fermented with natural occurring yeasts and minute sulphur additions, if any.
Soy has become three, with an increasing focus on terroir and emphasising the influence their three distinct soil types have on Bobal’s profile. Soy Arcilla or ‘clay’comes from a vineyard planted by Ivan's grandfather over 80 years ago. These unirrigated old vinebush vines on clay and limestone soils are harvested separately for the Arcilla cuvee, whilst the old bush vines for Soy Arenas or ‘sand’, come from an area where soils are comprise of deposited riverstones and sand. Soy 'Caliza' or 'limestone' comes from a plot where there is a limestone streak running across the plot near the Jucar river.
Gratias follow a minimal intervention ‘natural’ approach in both the vineyard and in their winemaking practices. Grapes are manually harvested which allows for a first selection in the field and then again in the winery. Whole bunch fermentation in small 5hl tanks with 2-3 manual pigéage per day. Grapes are pressed in a vertical press and the must put into old barrels for malolactic fermentation, followed by 6-7 months ageing. The wine is naturally cold stabilised over winter and bottled without fining, filtration of sulphur additions.
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: None
Lovely sweet ripe fruits on nose yet lighter than expected in the mouth, with a lifted gravelly character and lightness of structure accompanied by integrated grainy tannins and a long, fine, elegant finish.
Delicious with paella or richly flavoured rice dishes; also grilled meats and vegetables.
Decanter 95 Points
Arenas means ‘sand’ in English. This wine comes from outside the Manchuela DO zone, grown in Hoya Arenas near Cuenca, where soils are composed of sand and deposited riverstones. The wine is made naturally, with no additives or sulphites added, whole-bunch fermentation in small 5hl tanks, followed by malolactic fermentation and six to seven months’ ageing in used barrels, and a light filtration before bottling. Sarah Jane Evans MW: Full-bodied, dense and spicy, with layers of fresh dark plum, blackcurrant and textured oak, and well-handled tannin. Long, complex finish. Individual. Christine Allen: Blueberry, blackberry, spiced chocolate and a floral lift. Palate is full of juicy fruit and mocha, with blueberry and dark chocolate on the finish. Beth Willard: Milk chocolate, carob, red berry, peach syrup and wet stone aromas. Intense blueberry and blackberry notes on the palate, leading to an attractive tacky finish. 95 Points, Indigenous Reds Panel Tasting, August 2022.
6 x 75cl