El Camaleón - 2018
According to Vicente & Juan, El Camaleon is the "David Bowie" of their winery; it's subtle, elegant, intense, and provocative, all at once. Made with the extremely scarce Romé grape, the last indigenous red variety in Malaga, El Camaleon is very limited in production with only 2,300 bottles per season. Few hectares remain of these vines of which most are found in the mountains of La Axarquia.
El Camaleon takes its name from a peculiar quality of the Romé variety in which bunches of grapes on the same vine ripen at different rates; the different colours of the fruit look like the multi-hued skin of a Chameleon.
El Camaleon is medium violet in colour. On the nose, it's original and very nuanced with herbaceous aromas and notes of red fruit giving way to balsamic and mineral scents. On the palate, it's fresh and elegant, with a persistent finish.
Viñedos Verticales is a family endeavour started by Juan Muñoz, a 3rd generation winemaker, and Vicente Inat, a talented enologist with experience in several Spanish wine regions. The vineyards are located on the vertigo-inducing rocky inclines of Axarquia, Malaga, in view of the Mediterranean. The steep inclines of the vineyards have earned them the prestigious title of "Heroic Viticulture".
Their philosophy in winemaking is to work respectfully with the environment both in the vineyard and the winery. Tending to their vertical vineyards is labour intensive and results in small yields of high-quality wine with loads of character.
They work with old vines of Pedro Ximén, Doradilla, Garnacha, and Romé, but their crown jewel is the ancient Moscatel de Alexandria also known as Muscat of Malaga, one of the oldest remaining unmodified genetic lines of grapevine, originating from North Africa (Alexandria).
Annual Production: 2,300 bottles (The Club has access to 250 annually)
Palate: Dry & Fresh
Finish: Elegant & Persistent
Grape Variety: 100% Romé
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable Farming - Terroir Driven
Ageing: 10 months on fine lees in oak foudre
Winemaker: Vicente Inat Estrada
Bodega: Viñedos Verticales
Region: Sierras de Málaga, La Axarquía
Designation of Origin (DOC): Sierras de Málaga
Micro-Climate: Mediterranean sea breezes, hot summer days & cool nights
Elevation: Between 700 and 1000 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: 50+ years old
Soil: Schists, black phyllite, and slate
Owners: Juan Muñoz and Vicente Inat
- drink now or store for up to 6 years
- No decanting necessary, just uncork 10 minutes before serving
- Pairs with Tapas, Manchego cheese, Ibérico ham, red meats, olives, rice and pasta dishes.
Moclinejo is a village located in the South of the Comarca de la Axarquía, about 14km from the Mediterranean sea. The climate is very warm almost subtropical, with about 300 sunny days a year with a yearly temperature average of 18 Celsius. It has the warmest climate in Europe, with mild temperatures all year round.
The vineyards are all located on the very steep slopes of a series of low altitude mountains - ranging from 180 to 1000 meters above sea level - that constitute the Sierras de Malaga, just north and north-east of the town of Malaga. However, in the north-east of the Axarquía, there are mountain peaks around 2,000 meters of altitude, which constitute a natural wall to the extreme continental weather.
The harvest is done by hand and the grapes are collected in small boxes that are loaded onto the mules used to take them up the narrow steep paths of the vineyards. Production takes place in a lightly toasted wooden vat, which helps to stabilize the colour and not mask the varietal aromas. After spontaneous fermentation is complete the must remains with the skins for several weeks until pressing. Malolactic fermentation takes place in the same vat and it is aged for 10 months on its lees.
Vicente Inat studied Agronomic Engineering and Oenology in Valencia. After working with a number of wineries in multiple regions of Spain, he decided to settle in Ronda, Málaga, with his wife, who is also an oenologist.
Since 2005 he’s been working as the head oenologist at Descalzos Viejos, an iconic winery in Ronda. Vicente also teaches a Masters program of oenology at the University of Malaga.
After meeting Juan Muñoz, a third-generation viticulturist in la Axarquia, Vicente fell in love with the local vineyards and the people of the Sierra de Málaga. Finally, in 2015 he and Juan-Muñoz took the plunge and established Viñedos Verticales and started producing these vibrant wines from their vertical vineyards.
More info to come