Fina Montepedroso in the Spotlight
Below is a translation of an article from National Spanish newspaper, El Norte de Castilla. It is an interview with Lauren Rosillo who is one of the most reputable wine-makers in the (Spanish) national scene. He is the technical director of Familia de Bujanda, owners of the Finca Montepedroso winery in the Denominación de Origen Rueda, where he elaborates a single wine with bottle aging potential after having been aged over its own lees.
I THINK THAT WE CAN MAKE GREAT WHITE WINES OF VERDEJO, THAT CAN LAST FOR MANY YEARS.
- How is that possible that the Verdejo white wine that you elaborate develops like the reds?
- We had a clear idea, although it is tough to go against the flow. The purpose was to work only with lees, without wood, with autochthonous years and restrain the vineyard yield. Our Rueda white wine has a red vocation. We macerate the grape juice with whole grain (skins and seeds). The ageing is over its own lees. The idea is that the yeasts break and releases the mannoproteins and glutathione that are in the cellular walls, a component with a high antioxidant capacity. Then, it is very important to use a good cork to protect and allow the wine to develop in bottle. In France, these wines are very valued, but we have a long way to go in Spain.
- What do the concrete tanks, concrete eggs and the clay jars provide to the wine?
- The advantage of clay, cement, and concrete eggs is that they don´t provide anything, but lets the wine develop. The wine evolves yet maintains the primary character of the grape; of the fruit as it develops.
- Have you thought of producing a barrel fermented Verdugo white wine in Rueda?
- No. What the Verdejo variety gives in Rueda what cannot be found anywhere else. We want to show its vegetal, herbaceous, “reineta” apple-like character. We don´t want to cover it or make it up. We have bought some concrete eggs where the wine develops in a very slow way. Imagine an enormous bottle of 1,700 (one thousand and seven hundred) liters. The first wine, 2014 vintage, will be released in 2018.
- Do you think that the Verdejo grape variety is so versatile as some defend?
- It has a wide range of possibilities, respecting the variety due ti its thoilic acid capacity, that other varieties have not. From my point of view, the Verdejo loses the character in wood, althought some great wines can be made, as Belondrade and Luton are doing. Some people are working with clay pots, they even get orange wines from white varieties because it has many catechins (a polyphenolic antioxidant). From Verdejo there is still none. They are elaborated in clay jars and amphoras and sometimes they are buried in the vineyard. This is a very natural way to treat the wine, as it was done thousands of years ago.
- What does a D.O. as Rueda need so that its whites get the same recognition as the reds of, for instance, Ribera or Rioja?
- First of all, time, because the path of this DO has been very quick. Once that the behavior of the variety is known, we have to open minds to get new things. No D.O. guarantees quality at 100%; the wineries must do this. But, there are always brands that set the pace and this has happened everywhere. There are D.O. Rioja brands of the 80's that move me to tears. There are always iconic brands, as Vega Sicilia in Ribera del Duero. In Rueda, for instance, Belondrade and the great wines of Herederos de Marques de Riscal enrich and give prestige to the DO. Of course, there is a place for Supermarket wine, but the mythic bottles and brands are the once to give prestige to an area.
- You looked for and found Finca Montepedroso. What did you like of that vineyard?
- I had tasted many Verdejos. I found the estate in 2007, when the thiolic boom was not yet at its peak. Of the many reasons, there were neutral yeasts and I had in mind a Verdejo without pretense. I came with my fiancée, my wife today and it was Easter. The grass we were walking on smelt of Verdejo, thyme and fennel from the bushes. Also, the vineyards were of an alluvium soil, where the Verdejo variety finds the highest expression. The estate where the winery was built is at 750 meters of altitude. It is the highest winery of Rueda township.
- How would you describe this Finca Montepedroso Verdejo white?
- It is a Verdejo without make up. It shows the variety, the soil and the climate with its wide ranges. It smells like hay, reineta apple, and very mineral notes form the limestone soils. Importantly, I think that we can make great Verdejo white wines to last for many years.
- Those were other times, have many things changed? What do you remember?
- Viticulture has changed a lot. The best fertilizer was the shadow of those working the vineyards, this is, Work. Now, the vineyard grower doesn´t get off the tractor. Love and passion for the vineyards are missing. When it got frozen, the pruning was better. Today´s mentality is that if grapes are not well established, the vines get rooted up. Now we get the tractor´s shadow, the man´s shadow is missing.
Finca Montepedroso Rueda 2015, 75cl