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

Wednesday 17 May 2017

La Gatta Mormigliana and other Wines

Cera na volta … La Gatta Mormigliana, coi denti de ferro ei baffi d’acciaio
Viveva in una grotta profonda e diceva: “Chi vien giù lo mangio”

Once upon a time there was La Gatta Mormigliana, with iron teeth and steel whiskers
She lived in a deep cave and said: “If you come in I’ll eat you”

So begins the tale of the Gatta Mormigliana. And pretty scary it is too, especially for the children of Barga and Sommocolonia! Including me!

I was surprised that a search in Google for La Gatta Mormigliana brings up zero results (except for my own label), - not a single entry about the tale itself. I guess I’ll just have to write it up myself and upload it. Maybe this summer, I’ll get my Dad to recite it to me like he did all those years ago when I was little J

Well, this is the label:

I’ll be using it for all my Tempranillo wines, all vintages. The vintage itself will be on the back-label. That way I don’t need to print different versions of the front label showing a different year. In fact it would be illegal for me to do so! The law says that if you are not a paid up member of a Denominacion de Origen (Appellation) then you are not allowed to write the year of the vintage. Neither are you allowed to write the grape variety or the name of the village/region you made the wine in. Go figure!

So the year and the grape variety are “encoded” or “hidden” in the lot number on the back-label. Eg,”Lot Number: L-Temperanillo16”.  Spot the deliberate spelling mistake so as to comply with the legislation!

Apart from the Gatta Mormigliana for the Tempranillo, I also have Doris for my ChasselasDoré wines:
This variety is originally from Switzerland and somehow got established in Sierra de Gredos a few hundred years ago. That makes it native or autochthonous I reckon. Locally it’s called just Doré (without the Chasselas), hence Doris J

There are not many vineyards of Doré left, and they are mostly around Cebreros, as opposed to El Tiemblo. I know of only one other producer who makes wine with Doré, and that’s Ruben Diaz who makes a wine called “Chass!” (Geddit? Chasselas?). All the other grapegrowers just send their Doré to the local co-op or bulk wine producer where it gets mixed in with everything else.

And my third nice label is Alba:

No prizes for guessing that Alba is for my Albillo Real wines!

Albillo real is used by quite a few local producers. After Garnacha, it is in fact the insignia grape variety of Sierra de Gredos. Even so it is quite difficult to get hold of. Firstly it is also used as a table grape as it’s sweet and aromatic and very nice to eat. It’s an early ripening variety (early to mid August) so there’s even more incentive to sell it for eating as opposed to selling it for winemaking). And it’s the preferred variety that  birds like to eat! All this adds up to it being an expensive grape.
But it’s worth the effort and expense. 

The resulting wines are generally interesting, complex and delicious. 

Not to be confused with Albillo Mayor, which is a completely different grape and not nearly so interesting or aromatic (apologies to any Albillo Mayor producers, mais c’est la vie!).

A few centuries ago, they used to make a sweet wine with Albillo Real, and it was called ‘vino precioso’. The only producer that I know of who makes this style of wine is Daniel Ramos, in El Tiemblo.

And so, slowly but surely over the coming years, I’ll be replacing all my remaining labels, one for each grape variety. I’ve been advised that I should pick a ‘theme’ and create a consistent, coherent and recognizable Vinos Ambiz brand, with minor variations to distinguish the different wines and grape varieties. But I don’t think I’m going to do that. I’m going to do totally separate styles for each wine. Probably a bad idea marketing-wise, but who knows?

I’ll probably do a few more Art Nouveau labels, just because I like that style so much. And maybe something Gothic and something ‘punky’, because I like that too. But also other styles too, maybe even some serious ones, which I haven’t even got round to thinking about yet. Time will tell. I have so much other stuff to be getting on with, that I’ll be happy if I can do 1 or 2 labels a year J


Artist who did the Gatta Mormigliana and Alba: Francesco de Aguilar Milanese

Artist who did Doris: Mattia de Iulis

Aspiring artists who may be interested in doing a future wine label, feel free to contact me.


Please write a comment to this post.

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