Atlantis, the influence of the cilmate

By Vintae | Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

As you already know, the Vintae winemaking map of regions is fairly extensive in the north of our country, but there are still many regions to explore, some of them especially interesting. The northern and north-western region of the peninsula has been catching our attention for a long time now due to the great potential that the wines made under the influence of the Atlantic climate have been showing in recent years. The idea to start a project of Atlantic wines has always been present in the meetings held at Vintae, and finally, last year Raul Acha began to look for interesting vineyards and bodegas to make them in. And, this is how Atlantis, a collection of four whites and one red wine, was born.
The initial idea was to make a collection of white wines, although we could not resist including a Mencia red wine made in the DO Bierzo, which is without a doubt one of the most interesting denominations in the Spanish wine-growing panorama. Together with the only red wine in this collection, there are four whites made with Albariño from D.O. Rias Baixas, Treixadura from D.O. Ribeiro, Godello from D.O. Valdeorras and Hondarrabi Zuri from D.O. Txakolí de Álava.
What all these regions have in common is the influence of the Atlantic climate on the vineyards. The Atlantic climate has three main characteristics: mild average temperatures (between 12 and 15 degrees centigrade); a small temperature variation (between night and day and between different periods of the year); and abundant rainfalls distributed throughout the year. Although not all the regions in which Atlantis is made enjoy a full Atlantic climate, they are significantly influenced by the ocean. The mildness and pleasantness of this climate produce fresh wines with moderate alcohol contents and a good acidity.

Albariño | Rias Baixas

Albariño | Rias Baixas


Godello | Valdeorras


Mencía | Bierzo


treixadura | Ribeiro


Hondarrabi Zuri | Txakolí de Álava

While the Rias Baixas and the DO Txakolí de Álava have a 100% Atlantic climate, the region of Ribeiro has a transitional climate with less rainfall and wider temperature variations. Valdeorras and Bierzo also receive an Atlantic influence. The region of Godello has a greater temperature difference and is less humid than the other denominations of Galicia. El Bierzo, neighbouring Valdeorras, is marked by its particular orography, and it has a greater temperature difference and varying rainfalls in different periods of the year.
In addition to the influence of the climate, the other thing that the five wines comprising this collection have in common is that they are made with local varieties, with the aim of capturing the climatic characteristics and authenticity of each denomination of origin.

In the same way as the influence of the ocean reaches inland, the image of the Atlantis collection reflects its influence, filling the labels with sea creatures inspired by those featured in legends and old navigational charts.

Find further information about the wines in the downloadable Press kit and tasting notes.

#vintaegramming April

By Vintae | Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Hi everyone!
Here we will gather a new treasure chest of photos uploaded by you to Instagram and that include the hashtag #vintae, #bienbebido #matsu #libalis…  or in which we have been tagged.
Many thanks for all the pics!

Vintae crosses the pond: the Chilean adventure. Chapter 3

By Ricardo Arambarri | Wednesday, April 29th, 2015


In the previous chapter we were on our way to Cauquenes, the heart of the old Cariñena vineyards. On the way, we called another of Pedro’s friends, Renan Cancino. Renan is an agronomist from the small village of Sauzal, and he currently advises different bodegas, out of which De Martino stands out for being the pioneer in natural wines among the larger wineries.

renan carcino

Pedro Balda and Renan Cancino

After meeting on the motorway, we followed him on a secondary road and subsequently parked our car to get on his van, as it is better equipped to drive through the dirt roads that lead to his native village. What we encountered later on was even more inspiring if possible: very old País-variety vineyards. They are so old that none of the locals that we asked was able to tell us how old these vineyards were, but they were sure that when their grandparents were young, these vines were already old.

renan vinedo

Truly old vine

renan y pedro vinedo

Renan, Pedro and the vineyard

They are dry gobelet-trained vineyards that are very atypical in Chile and where a very advanced viticulture and very extensive irrigation is employed. To visit these vines, which are incredibly difficult to access, we even put the vehicle’s safety in jeopardy, to such a point where one of the passengers asked to get off the van (I will not say who it was, hehehe). But, what was most impressive and inspiring was learning about Renan’s personal project.

With the clear aim of recovering the wines that had always been made in his village, he makes a few thousand bottles of wine following the traditional style of the region: wines made in wooden fudres (large round wooden barrels) with local yeasts, without any added sulphites or pump overs and with a subsequent settling in old barrels.

renan sauzal tinajas

Large earthenware jar

renan barricas

Old barrels

We had the opportunity of tasting real gems that had already been drawing a lot interest from international critics. A series of bottles that not only contain surprising and extraordinary wines, but also the soil, customs and a singular culture of treating the vine and wine in that land. In addition, it also provides employment to a village that is remotely away from the development of the modern industry in the large cities. “Our aim is to make wines that have been always made in Sauzal, following step-by-step what our grandparents did and without worrying about the doctrines set in today’s winemaking.”

renan vinos naturales

Bottles waiting for the natural wine

However humble the project and secluded the area were, it did not surprise me in the least that the purchasers and journalists from cities around the world, such as London or New York, had found interest in Sauzal and Renan’s wines. And time will tell where their place is.

Following this immersion in the more traditional, genuine and natural Chile, we drove to our luxurious hotel (I am being ironic for those who have not experienced the adventure of staying at the only hotel that one can find in Cauquenes), where we arrived exhausted but satisfied.

The next morning, after an interesting breakfast surrounded by a large group of local women that supposedly were there as part of a training activity, we left towards Cancha Alegre, the project of another person that was key to us starting in Chile, Sergio Amigo.

I assure you that Cancha Alegre is worthy of another chapter. Soon we will tell you much more!

Vintae crosses the pond: the Chilean adventure. Chapter 2

By Ricardo Arambarri | Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015


As we told you in the previous chapter of this adventure, we were more than sure that we wanted to start a project oriented towards the soil and old vineyards, but there were still three main aspects that needed specifying: the vineyard, the bodega and the people.

In our return to Spain after that first trip, we decided that we wanted to help in this project. We needed to find a trustworthy oenologist that new the country and, most importantly, that was lively and felt like starting a project of these characteristics. It was easy; as soon as we told Pedro Balda about it, he jumped to the occasion.

The second trip was made at the end of February, days before the harvesting period. It was an ideal moment to do some fieldwork and try some grapes. Pedro started to contact people and he organised an incredible trip. A trip in which, in addition to learning about everything in further detail and choosing the vineyards that would produce our first wine, we met lovely people that accompanied us throughout the journey towards our first wines.

On our arrival in Santiago, we were received by John and we went directly to our first meeting: Bodegas Odfield. There we met Arnaud Hereu, a Frenchman with Catalan origins and a Chilean heart, who showed us the bodega. Small vats, fudres (large round wooden barrels), egg shaped cement deposits, professional people… it was a great place to make our first bottles of wine.

Vintae Chile bodega

Vintae Chile viña caballo

That night, after getting lost a few times in the roads of the area with many “down here, no, it’s up there”, we arrived at Santa Cruz to have dinner with Ignacio Cáceres. Ignacio is a friend that Pedro met in one of his previous trips to Chile. In a Peruvian-cuisine style restaurant in Santa Cruz and surrounded by piscolas (a typical Chilean drink), John and I had the opportunity of getting to know Ignacio quietly. With an education in oenology, experience in several harvesting periods (some of them in Spanish bodegas) and especially, a great person, we hit the nail on the head and found a trustworthy person in our moments of absence, which is a key aspect when a project is thousands of miles from home.

However, that dinner came with a hidden a surprise, which was the first clue of what we were going to do. Ignacio brought a bottle of wine made by a small winemaker friend of his. A Cinsaut 2013 called Trifulca: one of the two thousand bottles, clearly made with love and especially in a very respectful way, of an elegant wine with a very peculiar style that really caught our attention. Although it was the furthest of our destinations, we could not leave without visiting Huariligue.

On the next day and after getting up very early, we got on our way to Colbún. There was Philippo Pszczolkowski, an eminence of the Catholic University of Santiago de Chile, awaiting us in his small and charming house. A living legend of the Chilean viticulture, Philippo had not only located and recovered minority varieties in old Chilean vineyards, but was also responsible for bringing Jean Michel Boursiquot to Chile. Jean Michele is a French specialist in ampelography who discovered that a large part of the Chilean vineyard was not originally Merlot but Carmenere, a variety that originates from the southeast of France and that had practically disappeared in France after the phylloxera.

vintae chile profesor

He and his wife treated us as if we were family, and we had a long and interesting conversation about the past, present and future of Chilean viticulture. Pure inspiration, just what we needed! There we discovered that the old Garnacha varieties (which were in our initial plans) were practically non-existent and most of them were young plantations.

In addition, we found out that the greatest concentration of young vineyards can be seen in the south (as we already suspected) and that the older ones are of the País variety (a vine that was brought by Spanish missionaries in the mid-19th century), followed by the Cariñena and Cinsault varieties. He gave us the contact of another person that would be essential in our project, Sergio Amigo, and before we had to leave, he showed us an interesting cave, which as we later were able to confirm was inspired by the caves of our neighbour village of La Rioja Briones, thanks to a visit that Philippo made there a couple of decades ago. There we enjoyed two vintages of his own personal project, Alta Alcurnia 2009 and 2010, with Carmenere as the main variety, made in a delicate way and seeking the soil’s expression. Again, we were able to see how that philosophy was catching on in the Andean country.

In high spirits and with the mind full of ideas thanks to the inspiration received from the professor, we went direction Cauquenes: the heart of the old Cariñena vineyards.
What we discovered there is enough to fill a whole chapter, so stay alert!

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