Alanda Tinto is an estate-bottled wine made by Bodegas Quinta da Muradella in the Monterrei DO region. Just above the border of Portugal in northwest Spain, the region of Monterrei was part of an area whose rich geology was once prized by the Romans for mining, notably gold. Ancient findings have confirmed that the Romans are responsible for another of the area's treasures, vineyards. The word Al-Anda means “Get going!” or “Get moving!” in English. Alanda is the first of several wines made by winemaker and proprietor Jose Luis Mateo. All the grapes grown to make Alanda are certified organic. The philosophy is to make a young red wine that showcases the varieties that were planted across Monterrei's three different districts during the 1980s: Mencia, Bastardo and Tinta Fina. At Quinta da Muradella, winemaker and proprietor Jose Luis has done excellent work recuperating old vineyards, and his efforts have earned accolades from wine publications including The Wine Advocate and Guia Peñin, the most influential and prestigious wine guide in Spain.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Organic viticulture. This is a low production wine (less than 1,000 cases total production for the world). Aged in old oak to preserve the fruit's character and identity of the terroir. Alanda is a representative wine from Monterrei and showcases the grapes from the 3 different districts.
RATING HISTORY: 2013 92 W&S "Year's Best Galician Wines"; 91 WA; 2012 95 W&S; 2011 91WA&IWC; 2009 92IWC; 2008 90+RP; 2007 92RP; 2006 91RP
GRAPE: 65% Mencia, 30% Bastardo, 5% Garnacha Tintorera. Organically grown (certified) vines planted from 1942 - 2002. Tended in slate, granite and clay soil from 360 - 700 m (1,181-2,296 ft) elevation
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: An excellent pairing is grilled or roasted red meats. The fresh and savory characters can work well with game such as rabbit or venison and game birds like pheasant, partridge and game hen whose meat has more sweet flavors.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: The wine is made using a cool maceration with spontaneous, naturally occurring fermentation with indigenous, native yeasts. This approach retains as much of the fruit's fresh aromas, palate flavors and most importantly the essential personality of the vineyard's terroirs. Malolactic fermentation takes place in two-year-old French oak barrels to enhance the wine's mouth filling roundness without introducing harsh barrel characters. The wine is aged for fourteen months in two-year-old French oak barrels.
PRODUCTION: 440 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Zone 1, towards the interior of Galicia, by the Portuguese border. The Tamega River divides the Monterrei DO region in two sections from north to south. The vineyards farmed are unique parcels. The soils from the Pazo de Monterrei and Tamaguelos vineyards are slate and clay, which contribute minerality and volume. Soils from the Oimbra vineyard are composed of gravel and sand and are expressed as powerful aromas, and complexity and depth of palate flavors in the wine. The climate is Atlantic (cold and wet) with a Continental influence (in general, extremely hot and dry summers with cold, dry winters). Monterrei is one of the DO regions within Galicia that is furthest from the Atlantic Ocean and its yearly rainfall is below average compared to other regions in Galicia. These inland Continental conditions result in a drier, warmer climate than western Galician regions. Average yearly rainfall for Monterrei is 23 inches and closer to the water in Rias Baixas the average is 93 inches.
TASTING NOTES: the different grape varieties were fermented together, part in stainless steel, part in cement, with one third of full clusters and aged for one year in used barrels and matured for a further three months in stainless steel before being bottle unfiltered. The nose is fruit-driven, there are no traces of oak, a combination of cherry fruit, herbal aromas and a pinch of spices, and a medium-bodied palate with focused, red cherry flavors, fine tannins and balanced acidity. This is supple and easy to drink, fresh and very pleasant.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold