Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine


Hanging Out With My Importer

So, next morning I duly arrived late for my meeting (1 hour late) as tradition demands (!) but they (José Pastor, Chris Barnes and Mark Middlebrook) out-Spanished me by arriving 1½ hours late. Not to worry though, because I took the time to have an extra coffee and to fiddle with my new SmartPhone, which I still don’t know how to work properly.

Anyway, first stop: the new vineyard in Villarejo, which is easy to get to from Madrid as it’s very close to the A-3 Madrid-Valencia highway, at Exit 48 km.

Here we are, in the vineyard, taking photos and taking in the terroir.

The vines are all Malvar – a white variety that would seem to be native to the Madrid region. It’s completely unheard of anywhere else, and it’s very difficult to fine any kind of wine made with this variety.

The vines are quite old – but not as old as they look. I’ll have to check with the owner but I think they’re only about 40 years old. It’s just that they are very vigorous vines. The soil is surprisingly fertile (not at all like the soil in the Carabaña vineyard, only 11 km down the road) and I suspect that there’s water not too far down below the surface.

Last year (2011) we made three different types of wine with these Malvar grapes:
– Malvar, by carbonic maceration
– Malvar, by carbonic maceration and 15 days skin contact in stainless steel
– Malvar, by regular fermentation and 5 month skin contact in a clay amphora (‘tinaja’)

Our next stop was the winery )’bodega’ in Morata de Tajuña, about 15 km down the road, where we proceeded to taste everything I had!

The next stop was for lunch in LA Tinaja restaurant in the centre of Morata de Tajuña. This is a great restaurant and I go there quite often. The daily set menu is €8 and the food and cooking are excellent. They also have an à-la-carte menu and the wine-list is good too.

The waiters remembered JP, CB and MM from the last time we were all there last year! I didn’t think that we had behaved that badly!

It was a very productive lunch as we worked out exactly which wines JPS wanted to take and how many bottles of each, and which I duly jotted down on the tablecloth.

Next stop: Madrid, and after saying our goodbyes, I went to meet my architect and … went back to Villarejo!!! We went to meet the owner of a building where I hope to install the winery before the harvest this year. It’s not a pretty building, but it’s functional! It’s in the middle of an industrial estate surrounded by industrial workshops and warehouses.

I need an architect because the bureaucracy is so complex and ridiculously opaque and time-consuming that it’s easier (and probably cheaper, in the long-run) to pay an expert to deal with it! The most important issues seem to be the electricity and the water supplies. If these two areas don’t have the relevant paperwork in order then you can safely forget about the building itself – it would take months, if not years, and thousand, if not tens of thousands of Euros, to get it sorted. Apart from that, the application forms for a license and the supporting documentation to be handed in, are absolutely extra-ordinary and only a qualified specialist would be able to do it! Such is life in the inheritor states of the Western Roman Empire! I hear that it’s even worse in the East though!

After that, I went home and went to bed!