When it comes to winemaking, a few big names come along and shake the foundations of established trends at that particular moment. Historically, leading names here in Spain have been: Alejandro Fernandez (Pesquera), Juan Carlos López de Lacalle (Artadi), Marcos and Miguel Eguren (in Rioja), Álvaro Palacios (for putting the international eye on Priorat and Bierzo), Telmo Rodriguez (for his focus on terroir and vineyards) and the incredible work that Raul Perez accomplished in his birthplace of Bierzo, and throughout Spain, with his numerous projects. These winemakers have been game changers, an inspiration for generations to come, creators of style, and producers of some of the most influential, innovative and expensive wines in the country right now.
Most of these winemakers are still very active today, but there is also a new generation of young winemakers that are making a difference and saying, “We can influence the world of wine too".
Among these influential winemakers is Veronica Ortega. She comes from Cadiz, in the south of Spain, but she appears to be more comfortable (certainly in the world of wine) in the northern regions of Spain. Her CV is impressive too, having gained experience with wineries such as Romanée Conti, the previously mentioned Álvaro Palacios, and Raul Perez. This has given her extensive knowledge and she applies this combined experience to her own small but growing project. For now, she produces about 40,000 bottles of wine per year.
After her French and Spanish apprenticeships, Veronica decided to settle and produce her own wines in the Bierzo region of Spain. She is attracted to the Mencía grape variety because of its transparency and its capacity to reflect the soil quality from where it is planted. Some people refer to Mencía as the Spanish Pinot Noir. Personally, I don’t like the comparison, but there are definitely similarities such as fruit based flavours, a certain elegance, longevity, and soft tannins.
Veronica Ortega produces a range of wines that focus on elegance, terroir and simple winemaking techniques (with minimal intervention or manipulation). This tends to be the winemaking method that many newcomers choose to adopt. These wines are easier to understand and enjoy, allowing the grape, the land and the climate to express themselves, and leaving the intense use of oak behind. Of course this does mean that every single vintage will taste differently, but isn’t this how it was always meant to be?
At the moment Veronica produces two white wines that are heavily based on the local grape Godello (Cal and La Llorona), and five red wines that are all made using the Mencía grape. Veronica also produces a wine (called Kinki) that has been made with Mencía and some white grapes that represent a blend of 25%. However, her speciality is the single plot wines and the use of old vines. Some of the vines she works with are more than a hundred years old and caring for these vines is challenging work, but the resulting wines are full of finesse, elegance and character.
This year we have been able to bring a few bottles of “Version Original” and “ROC” to the island. Both of these wines come from the same plots of land but they each have a different expression due to the difference in altitude and the depth of the soil. They are also fermented and aged in the same way, but they have their own personality and a different set of aromas and flavours.
We have also brought Veronica’s entry level wine to Mallorca. This red wine is called "Quite".
It is produced using a variety of grapes from younger vines (still eighty years old though) and aged in an array of different containers such as barrels, wooden vats of various sizes, and amphorae. The result is a wine that is pleasing to everyone and can be served in any bar or at any dinner table. “Quite” is a luscious red wine, with juicy red fruit flavours and soft, rounded notes in the mouth. The price is very accessible too!
We are super happy to bring Veronica's wines to Mallorca and we hope we can continue to introduce more of her amazing wines in the future. If you feel like giving this young winemaker a chance, simply contact us or place an order online.
Photos of Verónica and landscape, courtesy of Verónica Ortega