Secastilla: Aragon’s Grand Cru

00100dportrait_00100_burst20190616111941901_cover

Disclaimer: This article is way overdue. It was supposed to be posted last year. Howevr, due to severe personal problems, I was not able to deliver.

To say that Spain has many grand crus could be a very exxagerated overstatement. In my experience, there is only a handful of Spanish wineries that can boast this prestigious title. Of course, they are Spain finest and include mythical Vega Sicilia, Pingus, Lopez de Heredia, Alvaro Palacions, Abadia Retuerta and Senorio de San Vicente.To obtain the title of a Grand Cru, a winery must has in place a combination of several important elements. First, you need to have great vineyards-think old vines-. Second, you need to have a distinct terroir, and also a track record of making not good but outstanding wine. This leads to me the final factor which is typicity in the wine. This is a European term to describe the degress to which a wine reflects its cultural origins. For instance, even if you make the best Syrah in Ribera del Duero, the wine would not be a cru because there has never been a historical precedent in growing that grape in the Duero Valley of Spain.

In my last trip to Spain, I discovered the Spanish version of the French Hermitage hill: Secastilla. The Secastilla valley is situated 800 meters above sea level, the highest point in the appellation of Somontano. The valley boast a special micromediterranean climate with important fluctuations in temperature between day and night.Secastilla history began with the Romans, the great civilization that spread the culture of the vine. During my visit, I learnt that they established a recreational area not far from this terroir ( natural spa) and thus established viticulture to supply their thirst needsThe Secastilla valley, high in the foothills of the Pyrenees, is a hidden gem, with old Garnacha bush vines producing exceptional wines of exceptional intensity and character.

Viñas del VeroViñas del Vero started winemaking operations in 1986 and a decade later they discovered the Secastilla Terroir. According to Vinas del Vero winemaker Jose Ferrer terroir is: the soil, weather and landscape and the people.

The Tasting:

Secastilla Garnacha Blanco 2017

( Aged 4 months in French oak)

Highly aromatic. Subdued aromas of jazmin and quartz complemented by white fruit. A little touch of oak brings out the character of the bouquet. On the mouth, structured with a bright acidity. This white Garnacha has an echo of a white HermitageSecastilla Garnacha 2016 joven

Delicious crunchy cherry fruit with a touch of violets and Licorice. Very spicy. Fruity with nice acidity and minerality. Beautiful and precise fruit concentration. Amazing freshness in the finale.

img_20190616_1244557287411718689908761.jpg

Secastilla Garnacha old vines 2014

( Coming from the vineyards of Guardia Miranda and Botiguero. Aged 10 months in Allier french oak barrels)

Fluid black cherry fruit with a touch of smoked jalapeno and Tapenade olive.Incredible balance, ripe fruit with touches of lead pencil shavings, pepper spice and fresh rosemary. Such an extraordinary wine.

After the tasting we had a lovely picnic overlooking the Secastilla Vineyards with some delicious Spanish specialties