sábado, 6 de abril de 2013

Vinos de Arganza (Flavium) - D.O. Bierzo, Spain


Vinos de Arganza is a dynamic young winery located in Toral de los Vados just south of Villafranca del Bierzo in the heart of the Bierzo region. It was established in the year 2000 when it produced its first young wines followed by its first Crianza and Reserva in 2003. Vinos de Arganza now produce young wines (40%), Crianza matured in oak barrel (50%)  and Reserva (10%). It is a family-run winery owned by Victor Robla who is a very well respected and devoted winemaker in Bierzo. They own 20 hectares of their own vineyards as well as holding long-term contracts with selected "viticultores" of the area. Alongside his wife, Angeles Varela, whose family has winemaking roots dating back to the 15th century, the main objective of the winery is to make the most of the terroir, producing wines from fruit of old vines whilst utilizing both modern and traditional methods to create wines of both old and new world characteristics sold at astonishingly great value prices. The winery has 1500 m2 for the elaboration and bottling facility with state of the art equipment, with 1800 barrels of French and American oak. Production now reaches1,800,000 bottles for both domestic and export markets. In 2007, the winery was awarded the BRC Global Standard certificate and IFS.


The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (AD23-79) mentioned the wines of the northwestern Iberian settlement of "Bergidum Flavium", today known as "El Bierzo". El Bierzo today is possibly one of the most exciting wine regions in Spain, and the Mencia grape, indigenous to the region, is the star red grape while Godello, with its floral, ripe fruit and green apple characteristics is the major quality white grape variety. Characteristically, Mencia has delicious red and black fruit flavours with tones of graphite terroir which is what makes these wines so special. The Godello, despite its small production (440 tons compared to 19,000 tons for Red), has been attracting attention and loyalty among producers and consumers alike. DO Bierzo is located in the northwest of the province of Castile and León and covers an area of just under 4000 ha of vineyards, some of which are over 100 years old. It borders on the provinces of Ourense, Lugo and Oviedo in the north and in the south on areas of La Montaña, la Cabrera and La Meseta, in León. The area consists of numerous small valleys in the mountainous part (Alto Bierzo) and of a wide, flat plain (Bajo Bierzo). Even though vine cultivation can be traced back to the ancient Greek inhabitants, it was the Romans who were the first to develop agriculture and to introduce new crops including Vitis vinifera vines, and new technology such as the Roman plough. The greatest expansion of viticulture, however, was related to the growth of the monasteries, especially the Cistercian order, during the Middle Ages. This was the result of the region being located in the middle of the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrim's road to Santiago de Compostela.  After centuries of production and after having achieved a good reputation in the markets of Galicia and Asturias, the Bierzo vineyards suffered a terrible blow in the 18th century when the phylloxera plague practically wiped them out. There was a severe economic crisis which forced many people to emigrate. Production was slowly re-established thanks to the technique of grafting on to new world rootstocks and wine production gradually recovered to assume the significant economic role it had played in the past. In 1989, the Bierzo Denominación de Origen was officially recognised. DO Bierzo has a special microclimate which is beneficial for viticulture. On the one hand, it is similar to the climate of Galicia with regard to humidity and rainfall, and on the other it is also similar to the hot, dry climate of Castile. The low altitude, ranging from 500m to 650m, also helps to prevent late frosts and means that the grape harvest is usually about one month earlier than in Castile. The average annual temperature is around 12°C, with the minimum in winter of 3.5°C and maximum in summer of 24°C. The average annual rainfall is about 700 mm, and the vines receive about 2,200 hours of sunshine per annum. The soils in the mountains consist of a mixture of fine elements, quartz and slate. The vineyards are planted mainly on humid, dark soil which is slightly acidic and low in carbonates. The authorised DO Bierzo Red grapes are Mencia, Garnacha Tintorera, experimental Tempranillo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the White grapes Doña Blanca, Godello, Palomino, experimental Malvasía, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.


- Wine making: Made from hand-harvested 100% Godello grapes.

- Tasting notes: "This wine has a bright yellow colour with fresh floral, herbal and apple aromas. Good structure and acidity with lively citrus lemon and apple fruits and a mineral touch, very clean and refreshing. Best served at 9 to 11 degC". burridgewine

- Price: £8.50


Verdelho is the name given to a small collection of grape varieties (of which Godello is a major member) grown in Portugal, Spain, Australia and, more recently, the Americas. It is thought to be of Portuguese origin and has a long history on the island of Maderia, where it was the most planted variety in the 19th Century.

The aromatic profile of Verdelho is crisp, sometimes with leafy or spicy accents. It typically makes rich wine in the Old World with ripe apricot and stonefruit aromas, while in Australia it is more reminiscent of citrus and tropical fruits.

In Madiera, Verdelho was known as a style of wine, an oxidised white wine consisting of Bual and Sercial grapes, but in 1993 it was decided that the word would be used to describe a particular grape variety. In Spain this variety is principally grown in Galicia (where it is known as Verdello) and may be blended with Albarino or Treixadura.

The Australians have been making Verdelho-style wines since the 1820s where it is as popular there as it is well-established, having a reputation as a simple, fruit-forward wine. The wines show good acidity and freshness and express a number of regional differences.

Western Australia is known for producing Verdelho wines with honey-suckle and lime cordial flavours while South Australian examples tend to be more tropical. New South Wales versions have spice character, often showing pear and white pepper notes similar to, but less intense than, Grüner Veltliner.

It is usually produced as a varietal wine but it is also common to blend Verdelho with Chardonnay or Semilion. The wines are typically not designed for aging and best consumed young. There is also reportedly a dark-skinned version of the grape called Verdelho Tinto.

Popular blends include: White Port Blend. Chardonnay - Verdelho.

Synonyms include: Verdello, Gouveio, Breval.


- Wine making: Made from hand-picked, carefully selected 100% Mencia grapes aged 3 months in American oak barrels.

- Tasting notes: "Intense red ruby colour, with ripe blackberry and blueberry aromas and beautifully balanced smokey cedar oak notes. These red fruit notes transpire onto a silky smooth, mouthwateringly juicy, herbal rounded palate leaving a fresh aftertaste. Best served at 18 degC. Ideal with meats, fish and mature cheeses". burridgewine

Guía Peñin 2012 - 91 points

- Price: £9.00


Mencia is a red wine grape variety native to northwest Spain. It is most commonly grown in the province of Leon (it is particularly suited to the slate and alluvial soils of the Bierzo region) but is also a principal variety in regions such as the Valdeorras, Monterrei and Ribeira Sacra DOs in neighboring Galicia.

Mencia, which produces thick-skinned, violet-blue grapes, was once thought to be related to Cabernet Franc, Modem DNA testing has disproved this theory, however, but has uncovered that it is in fact genetically identical to Portugual's Jaen.

In the past, Mencia wines were light-bodied and astringent - simple, rustic, regional wines. However, improved viticultural methods and extra vigilance in the winery have recently brought about more promising results with the variety. Wines today are more likely to have a bright complexion with a vivid maroon color, fresh acidity and tannins, and dark-fruit flavors with a herbal dimension of mint or thyme.

Some producers are experimenting with carbonic maceration to accentuate the variety's fruit characteristics and reduce tannins, and wines made using this method are more approachable in their youth. Mencia has all the attributes needed become aware of it.

Synonyms include: Jaen.

References: burridgewine and wine-searcher 

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