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Archive for julio, 2017

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.