Spain has been producing sparkling wine (Cava) for more than one hundred years. Cava wines share the same elaboration method as French Champagne but have completely different characteristics stemming from the use of Spanish indigenous grapes (Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada) and the influence of the Mediterranean climate and soil. The top 5% of the fruit from the Covides vineyards is carefully selected for this cava. Only native yeasts are used in the fermentation. Covides pioneered the isolation and use of native yeast in Cava and continues to lead research in this field (the University of Barcelona rotates researchers in the winery throughout the year). Aging takes place in the subterranean cellars located under the winery at a controlled temperature of 57º F. Only a small dosage is used and the bottles are disgorged on order for shipment.
The Agerre family has been growing grapes in Getaria for three generations. Emilio Agerre is the third generation of winemakers and currently runs the winery with the help of his wife and son. The family owns 15 Hectares (37 acres) planted on the slopes of a mountain overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Getaria. The vines range from 10-30 years old, with the Atlantic climate the perfect habitat for the Hondarrabi zuri. The soils are sandy loam over gravel of Tertiary origin. The soil quality and steep incline allow for good drainage.
Balnea’s vineyards are located in La Seca, in the south of Valladolid, on a high altitude (2400 foot) plateau. The soil is rich in limestone with a gravel sublayer beneath. The low fertility of the soil and scarce rains combine to produce low yields of highly concentrated grapes. Winters are harsh, dry and sunny (2600 hours/year) allowing a perfect ripening. The Continental climate, with extreme temperature differences between day and night, is the reason for the unique balance achieved in these grapes.
Luis and Eva (husband and wife team) farm 28 Has (70 acres) in the mountains around El Villar, a tiny medieval town of 370 people. Their vineyards have been in each of their families' for four generations. They aim to make wine that fully expresses the character of the place they are both from, starting in the vineyards they know so well. Eva and Luis have a deep respect for their family vineyards and cultivate them following biodynamic practices. Environmentally friendly, organic products are paired with techniques such as using the crushed vine shoots as mulch and planting wildflowers to attract pollinators. The vineyards are all dry farmed and all the grapes are hand harvested biodynamically.
In Samaniego, near Laguardia, Basque architect Iñaki Aspiazu Iza used the natural slope of a hill to create one of the must impressive and unique wineries in the world. Standing on the viewing platform inside, looking down over this unique winery is an amazing experience. The five stories are without partitions, creating a large open space where all the work is done by gravity. There is not a single pump in the winery. After selecting the grapes on a sorting table, they fall into special containers that deposit them in small, custom-made conic fermentation tanks. Stirring is also done by gravity. The winery uses only French oak.
A harsh, continental climate with long, hot summers and very little rain means that vines are virtually the only crops able to survive in the ruggedly mountainous Priorat. The vines are planted on steep hillsides, making mechanized farming virtually impossible - the work in the vineyards is mostly done by hand. Additionally, the region is known for its unique soil, known as llicorella. Remarkably infertile, it is a dark brown mix of broken slate and quartz that sparkles in the sun. Combined, these factors lead to low yields of incredibly concentrated grapes. The head winemaker at Onix, Sandra Estevez, is part of a growing movement of female winemakers in Spain. She has made a name for herself by producing elegant, carefully balanced wines that frequently garner high praise.
La Ardilla is a fun wine with explosive flavors. It is made with Muscat of Alexandria, one of the most iconic grapes of this Mediterranean region. La Ardilla's winemaker is Fernando Tarin. The winery has 1700 Has (4,200 acres) of vineyards in western Valencia, situated only 40 km from the Mediterranean Sea. The proximity to the sea leads to a mild climate and the vineyards' optimal sun orientation allows for a natural ripening.
After having worked most of his life for other wineries, Jordi planted his own 5 Ha (12.5 acres) of vineyards in 1999. The soils are calcareous and poor in organic matter. The vineyard is dry farmed and the only fertilizer is an occasional spreading of composted vine cuttings and grass from the vineyard. The vines are cultivated in classic trellis style, with 9 feet between the rows and 3.5 feet between each plant, for a total of 2500 vines per Ha. The average yield in the vineyard is 3 lbs per vine. In 2009, Jordi began to construct his own small winery. He built it himself, brick by brick during his free time. Today, Jordi experiments to create innovative new wines and styles. Traditionally in Terra Alta, whites and reds were produced by the skin contact maceration process. Jordi's wines combine traditional methods with a modern touch. The result is wines that are fresh and silky in the mouth.
Located in the heart of the Salnes Valley, Viñabade was founded by Manuel Vázquez 50 years ago. The second generation of the family, Myriam and Manuel Vázquez, now run the winery. They select the best grapes from their Estate to produce the ultimate expression of each wine's character and personality.
The Robles family has been producing wine in Montilla-Moriles for three generations. The current generation, siblings Pilar, Marisa and Francis, began the first ever production of organic fortified wines in 1999 and now offer the only full range, from Fino to Pedro Ximénez in the world.
Viñas del Cámbrico
The Cámbrico vineyards are located on the granitic terraces of the mountainous Sierra de Francia Natural Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Salamanca, western Spain. The region has been home to vineyards for centuries, though 85% are now abandoned, due to depopulation and the difficulty of cultivating the mountainous landscape. In 2000, the founders of Cámbrico purchased 130 small plots of abandoned vineyards, saving many old vines, some up to 110 years old. The winery is devoted to preserving the natural ecosystem of this beautiful place. They not only follow strict organic growing practices but also encourage and revel in the flora and fauna that live in and around their vineyards. The native flora includes their vines, as they grow only native varietals, including Rufete and Tempranillo. The vineyards are planted on centuries-old mountainside plots, at elevations of 2,300-2,625 feet and are plowed by horse and harvested by hand.
Bere Aran is an all-natural, hard cider from the Basque Country of northern Spain. It is made using traditional methods from fermented juice from 60 different native apple varietals. Founded in 1870 in Astigarraga, the Bereziartua family has been making cider for 4 generations.
The Las Lilas vineyards are nestled between the Lima and Vez rivers, in the Vinho Verde wine region of Portugal. Almost half of the 34 acres of vineyards are planted with old vines (> 25 years old). Las Lilas' winemaker, José Oliveira has been working in the region for almost 20 years.
Situated north of the Danube, in Kamptal, resides the small, family owned and run winery producing Brunn. Winemaker Karl Steinschaden and his family are dedicated to traditional practices, completing the harvest 100% by hand in small cases. The old estate vines produce low yield with very high quality grapes. The character of the wine is defined by the soil of the vineyard and the climate of the region. An optimal climate leads to wines of elegance while preserving the unique flavors of the grapes.
Malbec is the flagship red variety from Argentina. It has found in Mendoza its true home. We work as hard as necessary during eleven months in the vineyard, to produce grapes that will need very little intervention during the winemaking process. The climate, the viticulturural program, the irrigation management: Everything is thought as a step towards the goal of true expression of the vineyard. The vineyard´s personality shines through the wine, vintage after vintage, with a recognizable and repeated signature. Fermentation took place in a small tank. At dryness, the wine was pressed and racked into French oak barrels, 100% new, where it was then aged for 15 months.
Marchiori & Barraud
Both Andrea Marchiori and Luis Barraud come from families with long winemaking traditions in Argentina. They met each other while studying winemaking in Mendoza. Together they pursued advanced studies at UC Davis and worked in California before returning to Argentina. After collaborating on a number of projects for other wineries, Luis and Andrea have finally accomplished their shared dream of making their own wine. They work with Andrea's family-owned Marchiori Vineyard, located in the Perdriel area of Lujan de Cuyo in Mendoza. Andrea manages the vineyard with exceptional care and close attention to detail. Together they make a small amount of wine in pursuit of expressing the best of the terroir for each varietal.
Ricominciare uses only grapes from the Finca San Vicente Estate, in La Consulta in Uco Valley. This vineyard has been in the family for more than 50 years. Deep sandy soils, the high altitude of the vineyards and the water coming from the thaw of the Andes Mountains combine to create wines of unique personality. The harvest is done 100% by hand. Only native yeasts are used and fermentation is done in small tanks plot by plot. The wines are bottled with no fining and only a very light filtration. The aim is always elegance.
Jose Antonio Cicchitti founded Bodega Cicchitti in 1982 in Guymallen, Mendoza. He was following in the footsteps of his grandfather, the Italian Vintner Giuseppe Mondati, who immigrated to Mendoza in the early 19th century. Today Cicchitti uses only grapes from the family estate. Yields from the vines are kept low. The grapes are carefully selected and handpicked into small cases of 30 pounds. Fermentation takes place in small concrete tanks followed by malolactic fermentation in American and French oak casks. Only native yeasts are used. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.