Garagewine

Garagewine Airén

$35.15 USD/btl $105.47 USD/case $133.02 USD/case Retail

5 pieces in stock

Notes

In July of last year (2022), there was an article written by Amaya Cervera in Spain’s national newspaper “El País”, the title read, “The most reviled grape of Castilla-La Mancha rises from its ashes”.

This article, and several others now, are about cousins Jesús Toledo and Julián Ajenjo, the creators of Garagewine and trailblazers in reviving ancient grape varieties. 

Airén, a rather neutral grape, is typically of large production in Castilla-La Mancha but has recently been reclaimed as one of the respected indigenous varieties, with remarkable oenological potential. The grapes produce surprisingly unique wines, especially when they come from old vineyards, are made naturally in the traditional way, and by meticulous winemakers such as Jesús and Julián.

Since 2011 Jesús and Julián have recovered various other forgotten native grape varieties, such as Brujidera, Verdoncho, Tinto Velasco and Pámpana Blanca, and are now part of a research and recovery program with IVICAM (Instituto de la Vid y del Vino de Castilla-La Mancha — Research Institute of Vines and Wine in Castilla-La Mancha). They are on track to revive other local varieties such as Albilla, Tinto Fragoso, Malvar and Moscatel Serrano.

Ferran Centelles, the world acclaimed Sommelier of “El Bulli” — now collaborating with Jancis Robinson MW — wrote this about Garagewine's Airén:

“100% Airén from old bush vines planted in 1940. Vineyard located in Quintanar de la Orden (Toledo) at 691 metres elevation on clay-loam soils. Hand-harvesting with double bunch selection (in the vineyard and again in the winery). Bunches are completely de-stemmed and the must is allowed to macerate with its skins. Hand-pressed.

Alcoholic fermentation started by indigenous yeast at 16 degrees Centigrade. Aged on its lees. Jesús Toledo is the winemaker, working with his cousin Julián Ajenjo.

On the nose, some memories of sherry but finer and more delicate. On the palate, however, it is richer and more powerful. Ample, it suggests a lot of lees work and is driven by a salty touch. Very well done!  Gourmand!  Bitter impact at the end. I like it! A great discovery and a project to follow closely!”

Back in 1990 there were close to 480,000 hectares of Airén in Spain, 97% of them in Castilla-La Mancha. Until 2022 Airén was Spain’s most planted variety, now there are about 200,000 hectares left, representing 23% of all planted vineyards in the country.

Airén, also known as Mantúo Laerén, Layrén or Lairén, was already mentioned in the 15th century and officially cataloged as native to Spain in 1615, with its origin in La Mancha. 

Garagewine's range includes eight varietal wines, all of which are also single-vineyard wines as shown on the labels, these include Brujidera, Tinto VelascoAiren, Verdoncho, La Autóctona, Garnacha Tintorera, Cencibel, and La Forastera. However, Jesus and Julian have decided to cap their production once they reach 30,000 bottles total, since this project has always been about elevating their local varietals and not about money.

Facts

Annual Production: 2050 bottles (The club has access to 150 annually)
Type:
Blanco (white wine)
Body:  
Light
Palate: 
Dry
Finish:  
Saline and crisp
Grape Variety:
 100% Airén
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable. Traditional bush vines ("en vaso" in Spanish, "gobelet" in French), head pruning and dry farming
ABV%: 12%
Ageing: aged with lees, manual batonnage
Winemaker: Jesús Toledo and Julián Ajenjo
Bodega: #garagewine (Toledo & Ajenjo)
Region: Castilla-La Mancha, Province of Toledo, municipality of Quintanar de la Orden
Designation of Origin (DOQ): VT Castilla (IGP Vino de la Tierra)
Micro-Climate: In Quintanar de la Orden, the summers are short, hot, and mostly clear; the winters are cold and partly cloudy; and it is dry year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 0 °C to 33 °C and is rarely below -5 °C or above 37 °C.
Elevation: 691 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: 80 years-old, planted 1940. Vineyard plot "Alto Loser"
Soil: clay-loam

Tips

  • Drink now or keep for 2 to 5 years
  • No need to decant, simply open just before consuming
  • Pairs well with any fish and seafood dishes, Italian pasta dishes, sushi and sashimi and other Japanese dishes, Manchego cheese (any goat and sheep milk cheeses), white and poultry meat, Jamón Ibérico, paella and other rice dishes
  • Ideally served chilled

Terroir

The wine region of Castilla-La Mancha is not only the largest in Spain, but it is also the largest in Europe. The vinification vineyards of Castilla-La Mancha occupy an extension of 459,000 hectares (1,134,200 acres), which equates to almost 49% of Spain's total, and about 65% of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) land surface.

Castilla-La Mancha region includes the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo, and there are twenty Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs) and one IGP (PGI in English = Protected Geographical Indication).

Castilla-La Mancha occupies the central Iberian plateau, but also includes two important river valleys - most of the Tagus and half of the Guadiana - the corresponding mountain chains north, central and south of these valleys, crossing east to west, and the upper part of the smaller River Jucar on the east.

This extensive geography procures an enormous amount of terroirs, micro-climates and elevations.

Quintanar de la Orden's location is quite central in Castilla-La Mancha, and is in the north-western part of the DOP La Mancha, just about 130 Km south-east of Madrid capital.

La Mancha's extensive viticultural area spans over 154,000 hectares (380,500 acres) of vineyards across 182 municipalities and four provinces, including Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo.  To put this into perspective, Australia has just over 146,000 hectares of vineyard (2022 data).

In addition to being one of the largest wine regions in Spain, La Mancha also boasts a rich history in winemaking. The practice is believed to have originated in Roman times and was widespread during the Middle Ages. During the time of Moorish rule between the 8th and 15th centuries, the region was referred to as "al-mansha," meaning "parched earth," a nod to its arid countryside.

Garagewine's vineyards are located near and around Quintanar de la Orden, in the province of Toledo. The Airén vineyards sit at 691 meters of altitude and grow in clay-loam soils. The climate is very arid, the summers are short, hot, and mostly clear; the winters are cold and partly cloudy; and it is mostly dry year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 0 °C to 33 °C and is rarely below -5 °C or above 37 °C.


Vinification & Ageing

The 80+ year-old vines of Airén are hand harvested in 15kg crates in the twilight hours of the morning. The grape bunches are hand selected both in the vineyard and a second selection is made at the winery. The grapes are de-stemmed and the must macerates with the skins. After manually pressing, the must undergoes natural alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts at 16ºC. The wine is subsequently aged on its lees, with manual batonnage and undergoes light filtration before bottling.

Winemaker

Cousins Jesús Toledo and Julián Ajenjo, are the creators of GarageWine and trailblazers in reviving ancient grape varieties. From these varieties, they create small-batch artisanal wines with a big focus on showing the uniqueness of each grape and their local terroir.

What started as a project in a garage has turned into a life-long mission. Since 2011 Jesús and Julián have recovered various forgotten native grape varieties, such as Brujidera, Verdoncho, Tinto Velasco and Pámpana Blanca, and are now part of a research and recovery program with IVICAM (Instituto de la Vid y del Vino de Castilla-La Mancha — Research Institute of Vines and Wine in Castilla-La Mancha). They are on track to revive other local varieties such as Albilla, Tinto Fragoso, Malvar and Moscatel Serrano.

Now, Jesús and Julián work out of their new micro-winery in Quintanar de la Orden, the small space still feels garage-like. Hand powered grape-presses and concrete fermentation eggs adorn the floor and give it a feeling of an artisan’s workshop; producing rare liquid art. Still, their operation is anything but unsophisticated; they have their own mini-lab to test wine samples which helps them further hone their craft. 

Their vineyards are strictly dry-farmed, by choice, and their obsessive care over each vine for such a small yield at the end of the growing season is praiseworthy.

In their own words: 

"As a small family winery, our goal is clear: to bring back the local or minority varietals in our region "La Mancha Toledana". We do this by performing microvinifications with minimal intervention and all in a completely handmade manner."

Their micro-winery is humble but all the wines they create in the little space they have are larger than life. Truly garage wines.

Ratings

17 out of 20 Points - Ferran Centelles for Jancis Robinson MW (JancisRobinson.com) 

Vintage 2018: 

100% Airén from old bush vines planted in 1940. Vineyard located in Quintanar de la Orden (Toledo) at 691 m elevation on clay-loam soils. Hand-harvesting with double bunch selection (in the vineyard and again in the winery). Bunches are completely destemmed and the must is allowed to macerate with its skins. Hand-pressed. Alcoholic fermentation started by indigenous yeasts at 16 °C. Aged on its lees. Jesús Toledo is the winemaker, working with his cousin Julián Ajenjo. Just 532 bottles.

On the nose, some memories of sherry but finer and more delicate. On the palate, however, it is richer and more powerful. Ample, it suggests a lot of lees work and is driven by a salty touch. Very well done! Gourmand! Bitter impact at the end. I like it! A great discovery and a project to follow closely.

Vintage 2019: 

100% Airén from old bush vines planted in 1940. Vineyard located in Quintanar de la Orden (Toledo) in the vineyard parcel named Alto Losar. Hand-harvesting with double bunch selection (in the vineyard and again in the winery). Hand-pressed. Alcoholic fermentation started by indigenous yeasts. Aged on its lees. Jesús Toledo is the winemaker, working with his cousin Julián Ajenjo. Just 1,061 bottles.

Delicate aromas of white flowers and green apple, plus a clear mineral profile. A delicate touch of lees. It is a fine wine. On the palate, it displays freshness. It is salty, crisp and deep. A delicate yet concentrated Airén. I like how it flows on the palate. A very meritorious wine. #garagewine handle their whites better every year. Good for them!

88 Points - Luis Gutierrez Santo Domingo (The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker)

Vintage 2020:

I like the austerity of the 2020 Airén from old vines with moderate alcohol (12%) and good freshness. It's not very expressive but is balanced and clean, very drinkable. 2,047 bottles were filled in January 2021.

You may also like

Recently viewed