We've gotten off to a good start with the pruning this year. We started right after New Year and have finished the small upper plot of the Carabaña vineyard - about 250 vines (all white Airén variety). It took so long to do because apart from the actual pruning, we also hoed up the earth around each vine to remove the grass and plants and to aerate the soil a bit.
|Panoramic view of the small top plot in Carabaña|
|Close-up of vine before pruning it|
|Close-up of vine after pruning it|
|Fabio hoeing up the soil around the vines|
|Fog in the vineyard in the morning|
- There are traces of pesticides in wine
- Experts tell us that the quantities are insignificant and safe for human consumption
BUT, here are a number of doubts (or 'beliefs' if you prefer) that are important enough for me not to use pesticides:
|Lovely earthworm - sign of a healthy living soil :)|
2. These products may well be safe for human consumption, but what about the runoffs that go into the soil, underground aquifers and rivers? I don't think they're safe for micro-organisms, flora and fauna, or for the environment in general. It's also a fact that the world's pollution problem is caused by industry and agriculture.
3. Even though each individual pesticide may be considered harmless and safe for human consumption, what about the 'cocktail effect' of many pesticides combined. There are no studies showing that they're safe in combination with each other.
|Tools of the day - hoe (or is it an adze?), gloves and pruning shears|
|Rabbit droppings - at least they left something nice behind|
after eating 20% of our grapes!
Not much happening in the bodega these days. Just checking and tasting the wines to see that they're coming along OK. Basically, they just sitting there and the cold of winter which helps them to settle down. The most pressing task at the moment is to do some bottling. We have several wines in oak barrels that need to be bottled, otherwise the oak will dominate too much.
|Crates of recycled de-labelled wine-bottles, ready for washing|
Not much happening on this front either in general, though there have been two very interesting events recently. The first was our annual Vinos Ambiz tasting where we presented our new 2011 wines and a couple of older ones too (see this post). This year it was on 16th December and held at CSO Casablanca, an 'occupied' (ie squatted) social centre in Madrid. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos until the very end, and no-one who was there has sent me any that I can use :( That'll teach me!
The second event was a lunch last Sunday with some wine-people at Los Asturianos restaurant in Madrid. It started off being just a tasting of my new wines between me and my US importer, José Pastor, but as time went by (and Spain being Spain!), things escalated and complicated themselves and in the end there were 7 of us with over 40 wines to taste!!! We were: José Pastor (US natural wine importer), Victor de la Serna (Spanish journalist and winemaker), Alice Feiring (US natural wine writer), Alfredo Maestro (Spanish natural winemaker), Richard van Oorschot (Dutch wine aficcionado), Nacho Bueno (Spanish wine aficionado). And these were the wines:
- Niepoort-Navazos 2009 Palomino Fino (Non-DO)
- Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Num.32 (DO Jérez y Manzanilla)
- Ximénez-Spínola Exceptional Harvest 2010 (Non-DO)
- Vinos Ambiz 2011 Airén (Non-DO)
- Lovamor 2011 Alfredo Maestro (VT Castilla)
- Vinos Ambiz Malvar 2011 Carbonic Maceration
- Albariño de Fefiñanes III Año 2007 (DO Rías Baixas)
- Reto 2010 Ponce (DO Manchuela)
- Níspero 2009 Eufrosina Pérez Rodríguez
- Picarana 2010 Marañones (DO Vinos de Madrid)
- Picos de Cabariezo 2010 (VT Liébana)
- Ganko 2009 Olivier Rivièr (DOC Rioja)
- Finca Sandoval Signo Garnacha 2009 (DO Manchuela)
- El Puño 2007 El Escocés Volante (DO Calatayud)
- Vinos Ambiz Garnacha 2010
- Vinos Ambiz Coupage 2010 (Tempranillo Graciano Sirah)
- Ultreia 2008 Raúl Pérez (DO Bierzo)
- Tilenus Pieros 2002 Bodegas estefanía (DO Bierzo)
- Finca Sandoval Signo Bobal 2008 (DO Manchuela)
- Ponce PF 2009 (DO Manchuela)
- Alfynal 2009 Bruno Prats (DO Alicante)
- Casa Castillo Pie Franco 2006 (DO Jumilla)
- Tres Patas 2007, Bodegas Canopy (DO Méntrida)
- Malpaso, Bodegas Canopy (DO Méntrida)
- Jarrarte Maceración Carbónica (DOC Rioja)
Apart from the above wines (as if they weren't enough!) Alfredo brought these:
Viña Almate 2011
Viña Almate 2010.
Viña Almate LA OLMERA 2009
Viña Almate LA GUINDALERA 2009
Tinto Castrillo de Duero 2009
Gran Fausto 2003
and José brought these:
I have to say that it was too much for me. I loved all of them, but I didn't have enough time to savour them and talk about them. I was surrounded by experts who could do 2 wines in about 5 minutes (we tasted them in pairs). So I'm not going to post any tasing notes here, firstly because I didn't take any (!), secondly because I'm sure the other 'comensales' will post some comments, and they're all more experienced tasters than me. The only ones I managed to savour were a few unfinished bottles that I stuffed into my rucksack as we left the restaurant, which I thoroughly enjoyed over lunch and dinner at home on Monday and Tuesday :)
I was also looking forward to a nice chat about natural wines, but that didn't happen either :( Too many people, too many wines, too many conversations going on at the same time. But hey, I'm not complaining - I really appreciated the chance to taste so many quality Spanish wines, at the same time, and surrounded by such knowledgeable people. Quite a lot of corners of Spain were represented at our table that day!
Sorry, I forgot to take photos!