Vides Singulares, Spain
however in the process Raul and Maite have also managed to make some truly exceptional wines. Seeking out and rescuing indigenous varieties and vineyards abandoned due to rural depopulation; they are also managing to reinvigorate the social environment in which the vineyards are located, though a wine tourism project, bringing their concept full circle. Their labour of love started with just 2.7 hectares of old bush vine vineyard, located across several plots in Ávila, planted with predominantly pre-phylloxera Grenache, Albillo and Verdejo. The meticulous process of recovering the vines from the encroaching forest, decades of poor pruning and disease was costly in terms of both money and time, yet gradually vines were revived, the soils carefully ploughed and these precious old vines have once again been brought back into production. Their discovery continued with recovering 2 hectares of vineyards in the Sierra de Gredos, with a focus on low yielding, old bush vine Garnacha and Albillo Real in the old winery of Cebreros; here in the Alberche Valley, the poor soil marked with decomposed granite and slate produces highly expressive and singular expressions of the varieties. Their search took them to a third region, the spectacular Ribeira Sacra in the Val Do Miño where their main purpose built winery is located along with a further 4 hectares of vines. Here are in their other vineyards, nature’s cycle and biodynamics govern their daily work and now the vineyards are beginning to more than repay the attention they’ve received, with increased vigour across all varieties (Godello, Albariño, Loureira and Mencia) and incredibly fruit expression transmitted through the granite shale terroir.
Sustainable and ecological practices govern their approach to viticulture, where they seek to have a living soil and fruit as healthy as possible. Harvesting is always by hand into 12-kilo boxes, due to the fragility of the old bush vines. The plant’s vegetative cycle guides the processes to be carried out in the vineyard, with biodynamic practices adopted to achieve the perfect balance, respect for terroir and complexity in the grapes.
Winemaking is approached with the same care and attention as their vines. Grapes are harvested by hand, with partial destemming. Maceration with skins on red and the white wines, spontaneous fermentation, after which the temperature is controlled with cooling in the tanks, and in the case of white grapes with old earthenware vats. Aging from 9 to 12 months in barrels, large vats and stainless-steel tanks, depending on the vineyard and the variety.
- A collection of truly exceptional vineyards and wines, which speak of the emotional investment Raul and Maite have put into them at every stage.
- All the work done in the vineyard is carried out with the maximum respect for the plant’s vegetative cycle and trying to improve the conditions of the soil for optimum health and expression.
- Seeking out and rescuing indigenous varieties and vineyards abandoned due to rural depopulation in order to deliver both environmental and social sustainability.
Award: James Suckling 93 Points
Award: James Suckling 92 Points
Award: James Suckling 92 Points
Award: Jancis Robinson 17.5 Points