Candea, meaning “simplicity” or “purity,” is the newest entry level offering from Jose Luis Mateo. Initially conceived as a “declassified” set of blends as a use for extra fruit, Candea is an ongoing project unto itself for Jose Luis. The goal behind these wines is to offer a clear picture of the special terroir of Monterrei as only Jose Luis can – but at a price point that is approachable for a wide array of wine lovers, from the casual every day drinker to the serious oenophile. As proprietor of Quinta da Muradella, Jose Luis has been singlehandedly responsible for the codification and ascent of Monterrei, bringing it from an area best known for bulk production to one of the epicenters of fine wine production in Galicia. It is his dream and his tribute to his home that drives the ethos of his wines – indigenous varietals, minimal interventionist winemaking, and exalting terroir over all else. It is this drive that has catapulted Jose Luis into international recognition as one of Spain’s finest growers and winemakers. His wines are a beacon for those who seek clear evocation of place and an unadulterated look at this very singular terroir.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? This is a wine crafted entirely from indigenous varieties, in the warmest and driest appellation of Galicia. With minimal intervention, Jose Luis Mateo showcases this unique terroir, highlighting the freshness and minerality of Monterrei.
RATING HISTORY: 2016 92WA; 2015 91 W&S, 2015 91WA
GRAPE: 40% Treixadura, 40% Dona Blanca, 20% Verdello. Vines planted 1997-2002. Tended in clay and river stones at 420m (1380 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: With its elusive combination of weight and acidity, Candea Blanco is equally at home with seafood or poultry. Grilled whole fish with a chimichurri sauce, or a roast chicken with root vegetables and a bitter green.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 6 months of lees contact. Spontaneous wild yeast fermentation.
PRODUCTION: 555 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located in Zone 1, toward the interior of Galicia, by the Portuguese border. The soil is clay and river rock, owing to proximity to the Tamega River. Monterrei is the DO within Galicia that is furthest from the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is Atlantic (cold and wet) with a Continental influence (hot and dry summers with cold winters). Average yearly rainfall for Monterrei is 23 inches.
TASTING NOTES: On the nose, beeswax, honeycomb, golden apple, wet stone. On the palate, mouthfilling and expansive. Ripe apple and pear are framed by stony minerals, lambswool and flowers. Beautifully balanced between fruit and mineral, weight and acidity. Long, mouthwatering finish.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold