This exceptionally rare orange wine from Xosé Lois Sebio just got even rarer, with only 800 bottles made, we got our hands on the last few. It hurts to write this, but this orange Verdejo won't be made again, and oh what an amazing skin-contact wine it is.
Made from the grapes of centennial pre-phylloxera Verdejo vines, yes these are pie franco vines that were never affected by the phylloxera plague of the late 1800s and early 1900s that ravaged the vineyards of Europe. Pie franco quite simply means that these vines were never grafted onto the phylloxera-resistant roots of American vines, so they are pure and untouched, making them even rarer.
The 110 year-old Verdejo vines grow at a staggering altitude of 930-1000 meters above sea level, located near Santiuste de San Juan Bautista in Segovia about an hour and a half drive north-west of Madrid. The colder high-altitude air along with the sandy soils are what kept these vines safe from the microscopic mites that brought the European wine world to its knees.
"Largo Camino a la Cima" translates to "the long road to the top" and represents Xosé Lois' many years of searching for and visiting vineyards with good friends, eventually happening upon hidden gems such as these centennial Segovian Verdejo vineyards.
This wine is unlike any other Verdejo, showing incredible complexity and an uncommon combination of flavours and aromas. White flowers, stone fruit, vegetal and herbal notes, spices, and sandy mineral qualities. On the palate the wine is surprisingly elegant, well balanced, fantastically crisp acidity with an intense and lasting finish. You can enjoy this wine now or keep it for a while, it'll only get better in the bottle.
The wine is made using biodynamic and sustainable practices with low-intervention and no additives; also following the permaculture principles of Masanubo Fukuoka. This is highly artisanal wine.
Production: 800 bottles (The club holds the last 12 bottles)
Type: Blanco (white)
Finish: Elegant, balanced, fresh and mineral
Grape Variety: 100% Verdejo vines 90-110 years-old
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable & Biodynamic - Terroir Driven
Ageing: 10 months in used barrels of 228L, 300L, 500L, 600L
Winemakers: Xose Lois Sebio
Bodega: Viño de Encostas - Xose Lois Sebio
Region: Santiuste de San Juan Bautista, Segovia, Castilla y León
Designation of Origin: No D.O. - private single vineyard
Micro-Climate: Continental/high altitude – cool & humid winters (0ºC) and short dry summers (30ºC)
Elevation: 930-1000 meters
Age of Vines: 90-110 years
- Drink now or keep for up to 8 years
- No need to decant, simply open 15 minutes 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) and soft cheeses, white meats, Jamón Ibérico, paella and other rice dishes
- Ideally served slightly chilled
Xose Lois Sebio makes wine from vineyards in several regions within Galicia and Castilla & León including: Gomariz, O Bolo, Sanxenxo, Valtuille, and Santiuste.
The 110 year-old Verdejo vines grow at a staggering altitude of 930-1000 meters above sea level on a plateau, located near Santiuste de San Juan Bautista in Segovia about an hour and a half drive north-west of Madrid. This wine is made with no D.O. and is a private project of Xosé Lois Sebio. Santiuste is in the province of Segovia within Castilla y León.
Though the vineyards are located near the centre of Spain, the climate is less continental and more affected by the high altitude. The temperature from winter to summer varies between 0ºC and 30ºC but even during the summer the temperatures drop to 14ºC at night, so these vines are used to the cold. The soils are very sandy with good drainage.
The cold and rainy growing season for this 2014 vintage made the grapes ripen later than usual, giving them a higher level acidity which Xosé Lois says was perfect for balancing out the richness of the grapes from such mature vines. Manually harvested and sorted. The grapes undergo maceration with the skins and fermentation occurs very slowly and at low temperature in barrels of varying sizes. No malolactic fermentation. Sustainably made, terroir driven, and highly artisanal.
When it comes to winemaking, Xose-Lois Sebio is both an innovator and a traditionalist. Quite possibly one of the most knowledgeable winemakers in Ribeiro, Galicia, Xose-Lois draws from his extensive experience in both the theory and practice of winemaking. He was born and grew up in Vigo, Galicia, a coastal city in northwest Spain not far from where he now makes some of his Viños de Encostas. At the University of Ourense in Galicia, Xose-Lois completed a degree in Agricultural Engineering and a Masters in Oenology. He studied alongside some of Galicia’s greats and formed a strong bond with the entire winemaking community of the region, which he further solidified by working at various wineries in Rias Baixas, Ribeiro, and several other regions.
It was during his studies that he met Ricardo Carreira, the owner of Coto de Gomariz, one of Ribeiro’s top-rated wineries. In 2002, Xose-Lois began working with Ricardo and together they pushed the envelope; planting vineyards, bringing new wines to market, and completely revitalizing Coto de Gomariz. Together they modernized the winery and showed the world the true potential of Ribeiro wines.
In 2010 Xose-Lois began work on his personal project, Viños de Encostas. He became obsessed with the idea of creating honest wines with no makeup and a distinct personality. With Viños de Encostas (wines of the slopes), Xose-Lois focuses on forgotten locations, off the beaten path, areas that are difficult to cultivate, all the while practicing unusual winemaking techniques.
Of the 10 wines that comprise Viños de Encostas, some are traditional and others radically innovative, but they all display the finest aspects of the native grapes and their terroirs. The vines are low-yielding and costly to cultivate, which means they are anything but conventional. They are all small-batch wines, some of them cultivated organically, others biodynamically, and some more conventionally, depending on the location and the topography of each vineyard. Xose-Lois’ objective is to create wines that express the unique identities of Galicia’s native grape varieties and their terroirs. All of Xose-Lois’ wines are low-intervention, low-sulphur, and made without any unnatural additives.