name="description" content="Terroir-expressing natural wine minimum intervention">

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Slew of Back-Posts (2 of 5): Hanging out with my Importer

So, next morning I duly arrived late for my meeting (1 hour late) as tradition demands (!) but they (José Pastor, Chris Barnes and Mark Middlebrook) out-Spanished me by arriving 1½ hours late. Not to worry though, because I took the time to have an extra coffee and to fiddle with my new SmartPhone, which I still don’t know how to work properly.

Anyway, first stop: the new vineyard in Villarejo, which is easy to get to from Madrid as it’s very close to the A-3 Madrid-Valencia highway, at Exit 48 km.

Here we are, in the vineyard, taking photos and taking in the terroir.

The vines are all Malvar – a white variety that would seem to be native to the Madrid region. It’s completely unheard of anywhere else, and it’s very difficult to fine any kind of wine made with this variety.
The vines are quite old – but not as old as they look. I’ll have to check with the owner but I think they’re only about 40 years old. It’s just that they are very vigorous vines. The soil is surprisingly fertile (not at all like the soil in the Carabaña vineyard, only 11 km down the road) and I suspect that there’s water not too far down below the surface.

Last year (2011) we made three different types of wine with these Malvar grapes:
-          Malvar, by carbonic maceration
-          Malvar, by carbonic maceration and 15 days skin contact in stainless steel
-          Malvar, by regular fermentation and 5 month skin contact in a clay amphora (‘tinaja’)

Our next stop was the winery )’bodega’ in Morata de Tajuña, about 15 km down the road, where we proceeded to taste everything I had!

No photos!

The next stop was for lunch in LA Tinaja restaurant in the centre of Morata de Tajuña. This is a great restaurant and I go there quite often. The daily set menu is €8 and the food and cooking are excellent. They also have an à-la-carte menu and the wine-list is good too.

The waiters remembered JP, CB and MM from the last time we were all there last year! I didn’t think that we had behaved that badly!

It was a very productive lunch as we worked out exactly which wines JPS wanted to take and how many bottles of each, and which I duly jotted down on the tablecloth.

Next stop: Madrid, and after saying our goodbyes, I went to meet my architect and … went back to Villarejo!!! We went to meet the owner of a building where I hope to install the winery before the harvest this year. It’s not a pretty building, but it’s functional! It’s in the middle of an industrial estate surrounded by industrial workshops and warehouses. 

I need an architect because the bureaucracy is so complex and ridiculously opaque and time-consuming that it’s easier (and probably cheaper, in the long-run) to pay an expert to deal with it! The most important issues seem to be the electricity and the water supplies. If these two areas don’t have the relevant paperwork in order then you can safely forget about the building itself – it would take months, if not years, and thousand, if not tens of thousands of Euros, to get it sorted. Apart from that, the application forms for a license and the supporting documentation to be handed in, are absolutely extra-ordinary and only a qualified specialist would be able to do it! Such is life in the inheritor states of the Western Roman Empire! I hear that it’s even worse in the East though!

After that, I went home and went to bed!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Slew of Back-Posts (1 of 5): Photography Exhibition

On Thursday 26th April I was at an ‘event’ pouring wine. It was the inauguration of a photography exhibition by Jutta Pfannenschmidt (from Germany) and organized by Hanna Kress (from Finland), held in a municipal cultural centre (in Madrid).

It was a surprise invitation for me. Firstly I’d never been invited to pour wine at that sort of event – in fact I’ve never been invited to pour wines at any sort of event! The only events that I usually go to are our own annual tastings (the last one in December 2011 was held in La Tabacalera – see this post), the odd local wine fair here in Spain, and the occasional informal tasting/get-together here in Madrid. So it was really interesting to be there, at this art gallery, as the people present weren’t wine-geeks! They were there to see the photographs!
But, having said that, they were also interested in my wines, and I was asked a lot of questions.
Photo Exhibition

Mainly questions about organic grape-growing and organic winemaking, which was interesting as I got some good feedback on what ‘normal’ winelovers are interested in. I tend to get immersed in rather archane technical details – both from reading stuff on the internet and also from the geeky wine people I tend to hang out with! So it was good to get away from that sort of detail and to get a view of what real people are concerned about.

3 Wines - Orange, Red and White
I took three wines there: a white (100% Airén 2011, from the Carabaña vineyard), a red (100% Tempranillo Crianza 2010, also from Carabaña), and orange wine (100% Malvar from the Villarejo vineyard). I was a bit worried about taking this orange wine, as it’s a bit unusual and mainly for wine-geeks – or so I thought! But everybody loved it! It was by far the most popular of the three. Interesting!

Orange wine is basically a white wine, made from white grapes, but made as if it were from red grapes, ie, there is a period of skin contact while the wine is fermenting, and perhaps some more extended contact after the fermentation is finished. I’ve been experimenting with this type of wine for a couple of years now, and I really like it – I think there are interesting possibilities and scope for making some really good wines here. But I’ve only just started and I’ve got lots to learn and lots of experimenting to do.

There was good background music provided by Michael (from Poland) throughout the event. 

Me and Michael, the musician
I missed the opportunity to have my photo taken with the Countess Finck von Finckenstein, who is the cultural attaché at the German Embassy in Madrid! (#hobnobbing #namedropping)

I was also chatting to a young man from Georgia who said he’d send me links to Georgian wine and on the use of clay amphorae, or qvevri as they’re called there.

And lastly, I missed a night out on the Gin + Tonics with Jutta and Hanna and company because I was iron-willed and resolute and went home early (-ish) at 1:00 am, because the next day I had to get up early for a visit from my US importer Jose Pastor Selections. That doesn’t happen often (my being iron-willed!) – as I usually give in to temptation and end up getting home really late and suffering for it the next day!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.