QDM Bastardo is a single vineyard wine made by Bodegas Quinta da Muradella in the DO region of Monterrei, just above the border of Portugal in northwest Spain. 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 vineyard is 11.6 hectares (28 acres) with a 15% slope. From the proximity to Portugal, an estate here is called a quinta, rather than the traditional Spanish term finca. Muradella is named for a Celtic fort from the 3rd Century BC located near the town of Verin. At this bodega, winemaker and proprietor Jose Luis Mateo and the highly respected Raul Perez, a consulting enologist, make several wines all with certified organic grapes. The philosophy with QDM Bastardo is to prevent the extinction of a great indigenous grape that was very popular during the 1800's. Quinta da Muradella's other wines with the same purpose are QDM Albarello and QDM Sousón. Through exacting work recuperating old vineyards, Jose Luis and Raul have crafted wines that have earned accolades from numerous wine publications.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? The sole mission of this wine is to prevent the Bastardo grape variety from becoming extinct. This wine is made from estate-owned grapes grown with organic viticulture methods. Only 1 barrel is produced.
RATING HISTORY: 2015 91WA; 2011 92WA; 2008 93+WA; 2006 94RP; 2005 95RP
GRAPE: 100% Bastardo. Certified organically grown vines planted in 1990. Tended in quartz and clay soil at 410 m (1,345ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This wine has such density of aroma and flavor it will pair well with layered flavors and textures like beef tongue, whitebait fish cakes, venison and duck paté.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: The must undergoes a pre-fermentation “cold soak” maceration followed by fermentation in open-topped French oak barrels. The cold soak helps the wine retain the Bastardo grape’'s fresh aromas. The wine is aged for 14 months in 228-liter French oak barrels, 1-2 years old, and 15 months in bottle before release.
PRODUCTION: 50 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located in Zone 1, towards the interior of Galicia, by the Portuguese border. The Monterrei DO region is divided in two sections from north to south by the Tamega River situated at 420 meters elevation. The grapes that go into making this wine come from the southern Tamaguelos district, at 390-460 meters (1,280-1,509 feet) elevation. The soils are clay with iron-rich subsoils, which contribute volume and minerality in the wine's aromas and palate flavors. 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 with yearly rainfall below average compared to other regions in Galicia. In summary, Monterrei has a drier, warmer climate than western Galicia. Here, the average yearly rainfall is 23 inches and closer to the water in Rias Baixas, the average is 93 inches.
TASTING NOTES: Bastardo spent 14 months in French oak. It is medium ruby-colored with kinky aromas of underbrush, mineral, wild cherry and black raspberry. Elegant, velvety textured and complex on the palate.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold