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El Bierzo

a small wine appellation


Inicio | Losada | El bierzo

 Bierzo, a New Taste of Spain

Bierzo is a small wine appellation located to the west of the León province. It is one of Spain’s rising stars, producing high quality red wines from old Mencía vines, Bierzo’s traditional, indigenous grape variety.

The area under vine covers over 2,600 hectares (around 6,400 acres) of small plots of the Mencía variety planted in valleys protected to the north by the Montes de León and to the south by the Cordillera de los Aquilianos.

With their low pH, the soils are well suited and are made up of two types: slate and sandstone on the one hand and rich clay on the other. The vines are planted at an altitude of between 400 and 800m (1,300 and 2,600 ft).

The semi-humid, continental climate provides over 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, average rainfall of 750mm (30 inches) and a mean temperature of 12.3?C (54?F) with a high day/night swing in temperatures. This combination provides perfect conditions for quality grape production, as foreseen by Emile Peynaud and subsequently confirmed by the most influential wine critics.


Mencía


This grape variety has existed in Bierzo since the Middle Ages. At ripeness, it has low acidity and high sugar content and produces wines of good body and medium-to-powerful structure, and a soft, fat, velvety mouth-feel. Aromas range from fresh fruit, such as forest fruit, raspberries, redcurrants and ripe plums, to liquorice, Indian ink, herbs and minerals.

About the Mencía origin:
Finally the origin of the Mencía has been found and it is an Iberian origin, as many other varietals adapted to the environment to survive. DNA analysis studies show that Mencía is most likely from  Bruñal (Alfrocheiro in Portugal) and Patorra, a poorly cultivated Portuguese variety with no known Castilian synonyms. These data are the result of a work of the ICVV in collaboration with Portuguese researchers, published in 2015. Bruñal is directly related (first degree) with the variety Savagnin (synonymous with Traminer), which seems to have traveled a lot, also along the Camino de Santiago. Other names for Mencía can be found here link

Godello 


White variety of the Sil valley, of unknown origin. It is a varietal that produces very interesting white wines that evolve well in time, with a lot of structure, fresh and with a marked mineral character.

The new Bierzo


Head To The Northwest
A unique grape variety, an ideal climate and geographical location have provided the platform for Bierzo’s success, but what really helped bring Bierzo wines to the attention of the world’s discerning wine enthusiasts was the arrival of a new breed of young viticulturists and winemakers who sought out high altitude, old vineyards on steep slopes, with poor, slate soil from which they could harvest the best raw material for their wines.

Luckily for them, the Bierzo wine co-operatives, which had worked so hard to preserve a great number of old-vine parcels, welcomed this new wave, inviting them to take advantage of this fortunate legacy. This was the beginning of what we call the ‘new Bierzo’.



The emerging Spanish wine zones


Spanish wines are today better than ever with over 10,000 brands, some of which come from fascinating new wine regions. The Spanish wine market has evolved breathtakingly quickly, perhaps too much so. The diversity of styles is incredibly wide.

On the one hand, there are the classic wines aged for years in oak which develop a pale, brick-red colour and lightness on the palate. And at the other end of the spectrum, there are super-concentrated, over-ripe, unbalanced wines which for many people can be difficult to enjoy drinking and need years to eventually settle down and become accessible for the consumer.

Surely it’s possible to make a modern-style wine that reflects the full character of the vineyard’s terroir whilst being easy to drink.

Surely elegance can be combined harmoniously with power.

If you agree, come and find out more …




Viticulture in Bierzo today


The Bierzo appellation covers an area of 4,000 hectares (circa 10,000 acres), shared between more than 4,000 growers and forming a patchwork of small parcels of old vines with great potential for producing complex, elegant wines.

Though some of the appellation’s more influential bodegas have preferred to plant larger, more labour-friendly, wire-trained vineyards which are also more cost effective, the traditional bush-vine viticulture has remained largely unchanged in small vineyards.

Our viticultural methods

Our first priority is to sacrifice quantity and bring in low yields that will provide us with optimum concentration and ripeness.

Our vineyards are small bush-vine plots, a legacy from earlier generations that we believe, as previous generations did, are relatively self-regulating and require only minimum intervention.

But how traditional should we be?

Should we plough the soil because ploughing has always been done, or should we seed a grass cover-crop in order to combat erosion, reduce vine vigour and maintain soil structure?

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