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T: +34983103223 Ctra. Rueda - Nava del Rey, Km 1 (VP 8902), 47490, Rueda, Valladolid, España. GPS 41º 24´ 09.35" N, 4º 58` 53.13" W

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2017, a difficult harvest

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Climatic conditions during this cycle have been not just very challenging but downright unusual; and so, for example, whereas winter rainfall in previous years has been of the order of 300 mm, this year it was just 100 mm.

Hence the issue of irrigation: in order to help the vines develop as normally as possible; and here at Menade, Marco chose to start during budding – some 4 months ago – applying just 40 or 50 litres at a time every couple of weeks since.

As we’ve pointed out before, anticipation in ecology – which is essentially about the relationships between organisms and their environment – is vital and therefore according to Marco ‘this will be evident in our wines, because there will be much greater differences in the development of the bunches that come from parcels with no water reserves’.

Indeed so grave is the drought that the Rueda Consejo Regulador authorities have permitted irrigation 2 weeks before the norm; and those who have not taken advantage of this special dispensation will have major problems with the homogenous ripening of their grapes. Human intervention and the decisions people have taken in their vineyards will be key this year,’ underlines Marco.

In addition, of course, our region not only experienced frosts in late April and (again) in early March; but there were also hailstorms in late March. At Menade we were largely unaffected by the frosts thanks partly to the orientation of our vineyards but also due to the micronizing sprinklers that we’ve installed in some of our parcels.

These freeze the bunches prior to the natural temperature dropping radically and insulate them in an envelope of ice which protects them from truly extreme temperatures. Meantime, we were also lucky as regards the hail, which was specifically localized and thankfully passed us by.

As regards green harvesting, as you can imagine, our vines haven’t exactly been over populated with leaves this year and so we confined ourselves primarily to just recently removing the tips of some of the shoots given that the bunches have needed shade given the abundance of hot sunshine and the lack of rain.

It’s all been about pre-emption,’ continues Marco, ‘and to this end we’ve also irrigated aerially in order to refresh our vines and so that the stomas/pores in the leaves not seize up and impede the passage of gases into and out of the plants’. The micronizing sprinklers also came in useful during the aerial sprays; and if our many efforts pay off we will have a balanced harvest. Otherwise we will have two… ‘This year will be a winemaking nightmare,’ he concludes laconically.

On the plus side, however, the drought has meant that it’s been a year largely free of   pests, fungi et al; and, whereas last year we had to apply more than 15 natural treatments, this year we only applied three from budding thru to flowering. ‘The first was concurrent with our initial irrigation and consisted of valerian in order to stimulate growth; the second was with cinnamon and a series of mixed plant infusions in order to strengthen the roots of the vines; and the third, consisting of milk whey from the local dairy in Rueda, was to stave off the threat of oidium’.

In all, therefore, the 2017 vintage is not going to be by any means easy, but, given our major expertise and so many hours in the vineyards, we’re confident that – in our case at least – quality will be high.

New Menade elaborations: Clandestino Tinto

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This is the first of what we intend to be a new intermittent series and is made, totally sulphur free, from low yield centenary Tinta de Toro bush vines.

Not only does it reflect our passion for innovation – despite the fact that it’s made in a traditional, retro and old-fashioned manner harking very much to the past – but signals the beginning of a new quest in the sense that having (we hope!) proved ourselves with a range of high quality, individual whites our restless spirit somehow compels us to see if we can create similar waves with individualistic red wines.

Why Clandestino?

Well essentially, because given our interests in Toro and Ribera del Duero but also the climatic vagaries of the planet – together with the fact that we are very specific – we will only produce Clandestino by Menade, a true and honest range brimming with personality, when the conditions and circumstances are good enough in accordance with our quality orientated philosophy.

The first of our Clandestinos – as some of you may know – was a tasty marc made from Verdejo so this first, just released, Tinto is in fact already No. 2.

Vinified with its own wild yeasts in small stainless steel vats, gentle pigeage is employed in order to avoid over extraction; and its alcoholic fermentation is followed by a spontaneous malolactic. Neither is the finished wine filtered nor is sulphur used at any stage.

The end result is a fresh yet imposing wine of some 15% with rich, ripe, immediate black fruit and alluring overtones of dried fruits (in particular dates). Big but friendly tannins too, make sure you partner it with importantly flavoursome food; production was approx. 14,000 bottles.

 

Menade Social Calendar this Summer: World Tour

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While the summer normally means a welcome break from promotional activity, not least in Spain, we’re delighted that momentum internationally continues non-stop and – as below – we’ll be presenting our wines in Switzerland, Singapore, Australia and the U.S.

Menade will nonetheless meantime be open to receive anyone interested in visiting us and trying our wines –  though we urge our potential guests to book in advance by e-mailing us at comunicación@menade.es

Meantime, we’ll be in Switzerland in late July to enthuse re Menade Verdejo, Nosso, and La Misión on behalf of Vintra; and as part of the programme we’ll be hosting a food partnering dinner at the Ustria Startgels restaurant in Films

Next, in August we’ll be straight over to Singapore, a market that’s seriously taken with our wines and whose cuisine is to die for.

It’s then smartly over to Australia to work with various different distributors; to wind up the late summer, for the last couple of weeks of September, on an extensive tour of our increasingly faithful and blossoming US market.

Our venues will include Miami, New York, Dallas, Austin and Denver.

Wines to fall in love with

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Reactions to our presentations of the 2016 Menade wines are proving most positive, as is the response to our new label designs. Thank you so much everyone!

Spring in Spain kicks off for us with an appearance in Seville on March 30th at Vinos de España, una pasión

We’ll then be smartly off to Sweden to show our wines in conjunction with Moestue at the very end of the month and from there, from on April 3 and 4, we’ll be part of Coenecoop’s annual portfolio tasting in Holland – to afterwards zip across to the Emerald Isle and be with our friends of Le Caveau from the 5th to the 7th

After Easter we’ll be at the Vinarius Tasting to be held in Oslo’s Gamle Logen and then, from April 20th thru 23rd, go on to again support our friends of Delinat at Stuttgart’s SlowFood Fair while in between times also exhibiting our wines on the 22nd and 23rd with VitisVin in Kent, Belgium.

Following this, from April 28th thru May 6th, we’ll be in Taiwan for a spell with New Lifestyle Wines, showing our wines across a broad spectrum of their client base closely followed by our regular appearance at Fenavin, in Ciudad Real, from May 8th thru 11, which attracts professionals and importers from all over the world. Come and see us at Pavilion Virgilio, 14 – Stand 7.

Finally, the end of May sees us touring Massachusetts, Louisiana and Georgia with our US importers

European Cellars and then its back to the Old World for a spell with our Swiss distributors Vintra from June 5th thru 9th.

Wine Tourism

The Spring is the ideal time of year to visit us at Menade and, taking advantage of the hopefully nice seasonal temperatures, we’ll be participating in la Fiesta del Verdejo in neighbouring La Seca from the 28th thru 30th of April as well as in the one day Jornadas de Maridaje de la Ruta del Vino de Rueda on April 30th in nearby La Giralda de Castilla (Matapozuelos, Valladolid) where we’ll be preparing a special rice fest to welcome the impending summer. We’d love to see you there so simply follow us on the social media for further info.

The cycle of Life

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Having, in the interests of biodiversity, established our insect hotels, adopted the rhythm of applying treatments based on aromatic plants and flowers, installed a sizeable pond and – with our mobile tree project in full flow and teaching us ever more about the eco system –  we are delighted to tell you that animal life has now arrived at Menade.

Yes indeed, in a similar vein to our many insects, only bigger: hens, geese, and donkeys… Menade is now buzzing with life, as we decided that it was appropriate to complement our environment by re introducing what man had displaced.

Two of our newest residents are a charming long haired couple from Zamora: Zamo and Rana, a rare breed of donkey in danger of extinction. Friendly and sociable, not only do they unfailingly express gentle interest in our many visitors and make everyone feel happy but are so at ease with their new surroundings that Rana is already pregnant! Our insects like them too and their organic droppings are an excellent natural fertilizer.

Zamo and Rana are closely and constantly accompanied and observed by a clutch of busy, clucking hens who also keep a noisy and beady eye on absolutely everyone who comes and goes and seem to be in perpetual motion; and on a practical level they reluctantly provide us with the most fantastic fresh eggs.

The Menade Farm  – we shall tell you about our geese next time  – is therefore already on the way to becoming a pleasing natural habitat for both fauna and flora to co-exist and flourish harmoniously and it goes without saying that we are already considering further and diverse additional residents.

Life abounds.

New Vintage of Nosso

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Nosso diehards are not surprisingly all in a flurry as we released the new vintage a few weeks ago and it’s going fast!

2016 was a year of extreme summer heat, but we are very pleased with the results: more discreet, aromatically, than heretofore, it’s very refined with notes of white flowers and gentle lactic attributes fused with alluring elements of caramel and toffee but lacking neither the characteristic vivacity nor fresh acidic zip of our emblematic Verdejo.

Creamy too with the excellent satisfying mouth feel that makes it a bit special and quite different to anything else produced in our region.

Whereas we normally harvest our grapes at night when the temperatures are surprisingly low, the grapes for Nosso are invariably picked when the sun is at its zenith, as we like to ferment it in the most extreme circumstances possible – hot and dirty – in order to burn out potential oxidation from the word go; and, despite being natural and entirely sulphur free,  its eventual malolactic ensures microbiological stability (as does rigorous clarification) so that this tasty expression of our terroir reaches its growing worldwide fan base in perfect condition.

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World Tour to present new vintage

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In 2017 we will be unveiling our new vintages in France at the Millésime Bio – one of our favourite Fairs – so please come and visit us from January 30th through February 1st. The venue will be at Le Palais Phocéein de Marseilla, zone 2 – stand 468.

In February a quick flit across the ocean will take us to the 11th Expo for Vinos de España in México. We will wait for you at the Torre de Virreyes in Mexico City on the 21st of February.

March will be a hectic month with dates in Japan, Belgium and Germany. From March 7th through 10th Foodex in Japan will be taking place. 2016 saw great sucess for us in Japan, and we are delighted to be featuring in the ICEX section on this fair. Seek us out within stand 1C03.064.

Etikhove in Belgium will be our next international wine Tasting. On the 17th and 18th of March our wines will be shown at the Degustation Thienpoint Wine event. Closely following will be maybe the biggest of them all; Prowein in Dusseldorf from March 19th through 21st.

In Spain we will be presenting our wines in different provinces, so please keep an eye on our social media. Barcelona and Madrid are the first cities where our wine tastings will take place through Primeras Marcas (our Spanish distributors).

Mobile trees

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At Menade, in addition to the multitude of natural viticultural measures and practices that we’ve instituted over the last few years – many based on age old practices – as part of our continuing efforts to complement and improve the estate’s ecosystem, we’re delighted to give you a little insight into our ongoing mobile tree project.

These are planted on trailers some 3 metres high, so that they can be towed out into the very different parcels of the vineyard and we can study their environmental impact – in other words, how, in the interests of further biodiversity, they might benefit the eco system.

We are currently trying out cherry, peach and almond trees in addition to different sorts of herbs such as thyme and rosemary; and, further, in some instances, we affix bee panels in order to study their effects at different times of year – for example to encourage pollination during the flowering season.

The aim of this (we think!) novel experiment is to ultimately plant different parcels of our vineyards with those varieties that prove most beneficial and adaptable and harmonize rather than restructure the many components of our living landscape.

This means that in addition to delving into the exact nature of root systems and the depths that they attain in order that there be no conflict or competition with the roots of the all important vines, we also need to figure out which soil types and what temperatures best suit the various varieties of trees and plants as well as the diverse reactions of the complex insect world.

We release vintage with new image

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At Bodegas Menade, we have wanted to add further value to our philosophy by changing the design of the labels of our wines. These labels symbolise our respect for our eco-system and environment, as well as our profound love of the land.

We would like to express the natural aspects of our project. This project is changing constantly and emphasises, at the same time, the natural aspects of our wines. We have chosen four animals represented by Carlos Mena´s design, which we can easily find in our vineyards at any given time of year. These four little creatures represent the Castillian landscape and are also important for maintaining the balance in our eco-system.

We have also wanted to include the origin of our grapes, with which we make our wines, on our back labels. This includes the unique aspects of our vineyard estates. We ferment the different plots separately, as we would like our wines to express the soils of the area, thus resulting in a wide range of aromas.

The first of them is the snail for this natural Verdejo, Nosso. It is a snapshot of the earth, as well as of our vineyards.

For our wine, Menade Verdejo, we have chosen a hare, an ancient inhabitant of the vineyards. This animal is alive, refreshing, astute and entertaining… all adjectives which remind us of this, our flagship wine.

The whippet is our chosen image for Menade Sauvignon, elegant, slim and distiguished.

Dulce Menade is a typical Sauvignon Blanc varietal wine, pleasing, affable, just like the hedgehog, which is the animal we have chosen for this wine. They do, however, have a certain personality of their own and the resulting wine is lively, with good acidity.

 

La Misión

Made with Verdeja, La Misión comes from 100 year old vines planted in vineyards with mainly sandy soils. Once alcoholic fermentation starts spontaneously in stainless steel tanks using wild yeasts, the wine finishes fermenting and is partly aged in 500 litre French oak barrels. The other part is aged in tanks or pipes of 5,000 and 10,000 litres and also in ‘tinajas’ (traditional clay fermenting vessels) of different sizes made with clay sourced in part from the Menade vineyards. This has been a return to the earth and to our origins. After 10 months aproximately of ageing, La Misión is bottled and rests for a minimun of two years in bottle.

The Bodegas Menade project started in 2005. Wine, however, has been flowing through the veins of the Sanz brothers for six generations. Brothers, Marco and Richard Sanz made wine 35 years ago with grapes sourced from some 100 year old vineyards planted in Pollos, a family property. Virtually from the start, they could see that the Verdejo from this estate was different from other Verdejo grapes.

Eight years ago, they acquired the family vineyards and decided to start to re-graft all their vineyards entirely with ‘Verdeja’ as it was known locally, using Masal selection. This ‘Verdeja’ displays distinctive morphological traits: the berries are smaller, the bunches more oval in shape and it is more resistant to diseases such as botrytis thanks to its thicker skin. Its aromas are the true expression of Verdejo. They tend to be more rustic, but at the same time more genuine. Analytical parameters reveal acidity levels are higher and the grapes are more concentrated.

From day one, Menade’s philosophy has been based on a more natural approach to wine growing. The winery’s accumulated experience over the years has led to a more authentic way of growing grapes, where the final wine’s personality is key.

‘Rutas del Vino’ Awards

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For the first time, Menade has been chosen as a candidate for the wine tourism awards ‘Rutas del Vino de España’ which ACEVIN (Asociación de Rutas del Vino de España) organises every year. The two categories the winery is opting for are ‘Social and Environmentally Aware’ and ‘Best Winery open to Tourism’.

The first of theses categories evaluates the ‘actions carried out by a member establishment or service provider of a Spanish Wine Route, which actively and voluntarily contributes to improvements in social, economic and environmental circumstances. The second category is related to ‘quality tourism experiences and other activities related to tourist satisfaction and the promotion of wine culture’.

These awards are aimed at “encouraging work by the sector related to wine tourism in the last few years on both a professional as well as an institutional level in order to promote wine tourism in Spain”.

At Menade we are continuing to work towards creating relationships with local companies and our environment and we have prepared two very interesting activities  for the next few months. On 9th October, we will be offering our 3rd Cooking Class with Seasonal Products hosted by chef, Laín Montes and on 12th November, we will be celebrating European Wine Tourism Day with a classical fencing demonstration at the winery.

For another year, we will be sponsoring the Semana Internacional de la Música (International Music Week) in Medina del Campo,  which will be held from 7th to 13th November in the town’s auditorium. Bodegas Menade will also be present at the Valladolid Film Festival, Seminci which is part of the Cine y Video series. During this event, visitors will be able to enjoy a viewing of the short film made by Valladolid born director, Herminio Cardiel, which was filmed at Menade as part of the ‘Rueda con Rueda’ competition.

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