Hallgarten spruces up its Spanish portfolio
Specialist wine importer, Hallgarten & Novum Wines, has introduced 12 new Spanish producers, adding a total of 35 new wines to its portfolio, from 10 different regions; Uclés, Cuenca, Ribera Del Duero, Catalonia, Galicia, Ribeira Sacra and Campo de Borja, as well as the islands of Majorca, Tenerife and Lanzarote.
Hallgarten Head Buyer, Steve Daniel comments; “The diversity in Spanish winemaking is incredible, you can go from the relatively small wine producing region of the Canary Islands to Ribera Del Duero and feel like you’re in a different country. Seeing this, we felt now was the right time to take a step back and embrace the regions that may not be at the forefront of people’s minds when they think about buying Spanish wine.
“Our aim was to discover the wines, grape varietals and regions that would naturally fit into our already strong Spanish range and tie into the growing demand for wines from this region. We feel we have succeeded in this and found wines that are not only unique, but perfectly suited to British palates, wine lists and wine shelves.”
The additions have been focused around island and high altitude wines with a volcanic influence, made using indigenous grapes - areas of the portfolio the business already specialises in.
New producers to the portfolio include:
Mesta, Uclés; this range of organically and sustainably grown single varietal wines stylishly showcases the Spanish wine revolution under the symbol of the Mesta – symbolising the powerful alliance of sheep ranchers in medieval Castile. Under the tutelage of Sam Harrop, these wines are pristine, crystal clear examples of modern winemaking from the highlands of central Spain!
Dominio de Fontana, Uclés; the single estate of Dominio de Fontana is located in one of the most northern and highest areas of Central Castile, with the vineyards situated at 700 to 900 metres above sea level. The estate is managed as an integrated ecosystem, which includes hundreds of century old Quercus oak trees, and the vines are cultivated sustainably. 50% of the vineyard is grown organically and Dominio de Fontana is working towards 100% in 2019. If you think you know the wines of central Spain, think again!
Quinta de Quercus, Uclés; the estate is situated at 800 metres above sea level in an area of outstanding natural beauty, in the heart of Castile. This contemporary Spanish producer produces single vineyard and single varietal wines from parcels of low yielding 30 year old Tempranillo vines. The vineyard is cultivated according to sustainable practices and respects the biodiversity of the estate. A beautiful example of the relationship between wine and oak from France and the USA.
Pago Calzadilla, Cuenca; a small, family-run estate producing a limited quantity of highly expressive wines from the province of Cuenca. Located just outside the town of Huete, the 20 hectares of vines overlook the river valley of Río Mayor. The artisanal winery was built in 1980, which coincided with the planting of the vineyard with red varieties of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet-Sauvignon. Syrah was added later. The vineyard is manually cultivated and the wines are made with minimal intervention in the gravity-fed winery.
Bodegas Lagar de Proventus, Ribera Del Duero; Renowned winemaker Pedro Aibar (ex Bodega Blecua, El Coto) contends that Ribera Del Duero has better growing conditions that Rioja: older vines, higher altitudes, lower yields. Based along the Golden Mile (Vega Sicilia, Pingus, Arzuaga) the estate’s history dates back over 300 years. Tr3smano is a beautiful illustration of Tempranillo’s magnificence, made from vines between 30 and 80 years old.
Mas de le Vinyes, Catalonia; this is very much the odd man out, as this family winery, based in Cabacés, Tarragona, concentrates on the cultivation of international varieties - Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon - alongside the traditional varieties of Grenache, Carignan and Macabeo. The result is a stylish range of modern, youthful and uplifting wines (check out those labels!) which are full of vibrant personality and are a reflection of contemporary Spanish lifestyle. A million miles away from the clichéd Don Quixote presentations still found on some Spanish labels!
Xosé Lois Sebio, Galicia; winemaker Xosé Lois Sebio doesn’t take much notice of the market. A born maverick, he wants to make wines with unique personality from risky wine-growing areas. If he wakes up one morning and wonders how an aged albariño would look, then he moves quickly to find out (O Con is the stunning result). His other wines are equally as eclectic, made from high quality grapes in areas which are often neglected or simply different. His sole intention is to respect and express the soil, variety and area. The wines are vinified with minimal intervention and low sulphur and are quite beautifully presented with quirky labels that reflect this non-conformist in every way.
Ronsel do Sil, Ribeira Sacra; the two hectares of vineyard are manually cultivated on the steep hills of Ribeira Sacra, where the vines are grown on the steep terraces known as ‘bancalas’ which were originally built by the Romans. Indigenous red varieties such as Mencía and Merenzao are grown alongside the native white varieties of Godello, Treixadura and Dona Branca on the banks of the River Sil. Ronsel do Sil has taken its name from the Spanish word ‘ronsel’ which means wake: the path a boat leaves when it sails through the water.
Pagos del Moncayo, Campo de Borja; Pagos del Moncayo is a family-run producer based at the foot of the Sierra del Moncayo. The vineyard is cultivated entirely manually and the traditional practice of treading grapes is still used to this day. They work sustainably and are part of EcoProWine, an initiative which aims to reduce the environmental impact of wine production.
Bodega Biniagual, Majorca; a family run business dedicated to producing wines from indigenous grape varieties, on land which has cultivated vines dating back to the 13th century. Located in the heart of Binissalem, the small village of Biniagual was renowned for its wine production until the phylloxera plague destroyed most of the vines at the beginning of the 20th century. The 34 hectare estate started producing wine once again in 2002, where indigenous Majorcan varieties such as Manto Negro and Prensal flourish alongside international varieties.
Bodegas Viñátigo, Tenerife; on the slopes of the highest mountain in Spain, a quiet and deliciously vinous revolution is taking place. One of those leading the charge is the mild-mannered and unassuming Juan Jesus Mendez, the man behind Viñátigo. Reminding us that the wines of the Canary Isles were rock stars in Britain’s Tudor times, Juan has led the resuscitation of some long lost varietals - Gual, Marmajuelo and Vijariego – found mainly on the tiny neighbouring island of El Hierro, the Jurassic park of vines. His promotion of these near-extinct varieties explains why many of Viñátigo’s bottlings are small-runs and hand-numbered.
Bodegas El Grifo, Lanzarote; the oldest winery in the Canary Islands, this family estate was established in 1775 on the volcanic island of Lanzarote and is currently owned by the fifth generation brothers Juan José and Fermín Otamendi Rodríguez-Bethencourt. The vineyard covers 61 hectares of prephylloxera vines and is situated at 28° latitude. The vines are cultivated against the odds, as they are exposed to constant trade winds and hot, arid conditions.