QDM Souson is a single vineyard wine made by Bodegas Quinta da Muradella in the DO region of Monterrei. This wine has expressive aromas of Asian spices, lavender, menthol, mint, black cherry, black raspberry and earth. Just above the border of Portugal in northwestern Spain, Monterrei was part of an area whose rich geology was 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 farmed for this wine is 11.6 hectares (28 acres) with a 15% slope. Due to the area's proximity to Portugal, an estate here is called 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 makes several wines all with certified organic grapes. The philosophy with QDM Souson is to prevent the extinction of a great indigenous grape that was very popular during the 1800s. Quinta da Muradella's other wines with the same purpose are QDM Albarello and QDM Bastardo. Through exacting work recuperating old vineyards, Jose Luis has 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 Souson grape variety from becoming extinct. This wine is made from estate-owned grapes grown using organic viticulture methods. Only two barrels are produced. It drinks like fine Burgundy, with good structure, acidity and a dark, inky color.
RATING HISTORY: 2009 90WA; 2008 93IWC; 2007 94RP
GRAPE: 100% Souson. Certified organically grown vines planted in 2000. Tended in clay, quartz and gravel soil at 430 m (1,411 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This wine's earthy, spicy, dark berry fruit will pair well with sweet, richly-toned dishes like pheasant, quail, rabbit, duck, paté de campagne and pork or veal sausage.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: There is a long maceration without stems before and after fermentation, which is carried out utilizing indigenous yeasts. There is lees contact during malolactic fermentation in 228-liter barrels. The wine is aged in French oak barrels, that are two years old, for 14 months. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for an additional 6 months to achieve a natural stabilization.
PRODUCTION: 100 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 Tamaguelos district, at 390-460 meters (1,280-1,509 feet) elevation. The soils are clay with quartz and gravel, which contribute volume and minerality in 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: QDM Souson is from a once virtually extinct variety that was popular in Galicia prior to the phylloxera endemic. A total of 50 cases were produced. Dark ruby-colored, it sports a multifaceted perfume of earth notes, Asian spices, lavender, menthol, mint, black cherry, and black raspberry. Elegantly styled, on the palate it has outstanding volume, grip, and length that appeals to both the intellect and the senses.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold