GM Selección Especial Mónica Blanco - 2014
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Seleccion Especial Monica Blanco is just as special as it sounds. This wine is made with the utmost care and according to Tim Atkin –it’s one of Rioja’s most distinguished and age-worthy whites–. Made with little to no sulfur added, wild yeasts, naturally occurring CO2, and clarified using bentonite clay, it's proof that aged white wines can be natural too.
Visually it’s striking, with an old gold hue. On the nose it’s intense with aromas of white flowers which then give way to notes of brioche, vanilla, peaches, and fruit salad. After oxygenation, the balsamic notes mellow out and become more mineral with hints of fresh peat amongst a whole array of fabulous natural aromas. On the palate, it’s full and dense with bright acidity which gives it greater length and a silky mouthfeel. Its luxuriousness defies description.
Annual Production: 1,500 (The club has access to 200 bottles annually)
Type: Blanco (White)
Grape Variety: 90% Viura, 10% very old unknown varieties
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable farming
Ageing: 24 months in American oak barrels + 5 years in bottle
Winemakers: Gregorio & Monica Martinez, Ricardo Cantera, Elena Stoica
Bodega: Gregorio Martinez
Region: La Rioja Alta
Designation of Origin (DOP): Rioja
Micro-Climate: Atlantic & Continental - hot summers, cold winters, good rainfall
Elevation: 700 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: 20 years old Viura & 70-100 years old others - “La Dehesilla” parcel north-facing, selection of old vines from Cárdenas (Najerilla) at 550m, north-west facing.
Soil: Iron-rich red clay, glacial deposits, & fine clay over slab stone (Cárdenas)
- Drink now or keep for up to 3 years
- If possible, decant before serving
- Pairs with Tapas, Manchego or any cheese (cow, goat or sheep), Ibérico ham, Paté or any Spreads, Poultry, Pasta or Pizza, Legumes, typical Spanish dishes, all Mediterranean and Asian rice-based dishes spiced but not too hot.
- Serve well chilled at 10º Celsius
Situated in an ideal location of La Rioja Alta on a plateau at 700m above sea level overlooking the Ebro and Iregua river valleys. The north-facing estate is sprinkled with centenary oaks, a testament to the magnificent microclimate of the area which is influenced by the Moncalvillo and Camero mountain ranges. The elevated plateau protected by the surrounding mountains creates conditions that are perfect for the grapes, combining Atlantic, Continental, and Mediterranean conditions with hot summers, cold winters and good rainfall.
The soils of the vineyard are heavily influenced by the last ice age and the former path of the Iregua river. The stones and glacial deposits left behind from the tertiary age give the wines a particular minerality. The soil is mostly iron-rich red clay, sedimentary sand, and glacial sediment which is also found in the nearby Moncalvillo mountain range. The soils coupled with the altitude and climate make for wines with fantastic ageing potential.
Hand-harvested in small 15kg cases; de-stalking is followed by 7 – 9 days skin contact in stainless steel vats without sulphur and with natural carbon dioxide; it is then pressed, clarified and fermented in 225-litre American oak barrels with wild yeast. It is aged on its lees for 24 months with a further 2 years in bottle. Lightly clarified with bentonite clay.
Founded in the 1970s by Don Gregorio Martinez, a well known Rioja entrepreneur, he began acquiring plots of land around Sorzano, his wife’s home town. Now the estate covers 150 hectares spanning the towns of Nalda, Sorzano, and Entrena, of which 32 hectares are planted vineyards.
Currently managed by his descendants, the project changed dramatically after the arrival of winemaker Ricardo Cantera in 2009. They used to sell grapes to other wineries and make a classic range of wines based on the Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva categories but now they have started making a new range of fresh reds and whites. Cantera has patented an energy-saving system that uses the carbon dioxide that is naturally generated during fermentation to break the cap from the inside of the vat through a mushroom-shaped device that spews the wine as if it were a volcano. Another advantage of this system is the ability to work with very low quantities of sulfites.
The grape varieties grown on the estate are Tempranillo, Mazuelo, and Viura, all of which are native to Spain.