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Ludovicus Blanco

In the high mountains of Terra Alta (south of Barcelona) overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at 425 meters (1,394 ft.) elevation, the garnacha blanca grape was born. Today, Terra Alta is home to 30% of the world's garnacha blanca plantings. Garnacha blanca is well known in the Rhone Valley of France for making superb long-lasting white wines full of finesse and rich flavors. In France, its name is grenache blanc. The unknown and obscure territory of Terra Alta is the birthplace of garnacha blanca, and garnacha blanca shows its greatest beauty here. Located 5km south of Priorat, Terra Alta is full of valleys and rolling hills. If Priorat is full of slate, Terra Alta is full of limestone, otherwise known by wine people as "White Gold". Limestone is responsible for the beautiful minerality and delicate bright nerve that brings longevity, tension and finesse to wines made with grapes grown in this type of soil. Offering spice, body, minerality and rich flavors of thyme, fennel and a hint of honey, Ludivocus shows a pure expression of garnacha blanca from estate-owned vineyards, and is a true pleasure for the palate.

WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Grown in Terra Alta, where garnacha blanca was born. Estate owned vineyards. Full of spice, body and a beautiful layer of minerals that makes the wine extremely complex. Less than 3,000 cases produced.

RATING HISTORY: 2012 90IWC; 2011 89IWC; 2010RP

GRAPE: 100% garnacha blanca. Vines planted in 1998. Tended in limestone soil at 425 m (1,394 ft) elevation

PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This fresh, mineral-inflected Ludovicus Blanco pairs very well with scallop risotto, swordfish sauteed in butter and wild herbs, and also a host of casual foods such as tapas, pasta with white clam sauce and fried oyster sandwiches.

VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Macerated for 6 hours with its own skins and fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks

PRODUCTION: 3,000 cases

LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located a few miles southwest of Priorat, within the Terra Alta DO (Zone 5) in Catalunya's Tarragona province in northeastern Spain. In this remote region, the wine-making tradition dates back to the Romans, around the 2nd or 3rd Century. The winery and vineyards are in the town of Batea, situated at 356 meters (1,168 ft.) elevation. The soils are composed of 95% limestone and 5% clay. For climate, the average temperature from April-October is 67.3F. The hot day and warm-to-moderate night temperatures make Terra Alta a drier and warmer region than Montsant or Priorat. The low average yearly rainfall of 16.3 inches is less than in neighboring regions.

TASTING NOTES: Pale yellow. Aromas of lemon zest, chalk and white pepper, with a subtle floral nuance emerging with air. Dry and tightly wound, offering brisk, refreshingly bitter citrus fruit and honeysuckle flavors. Closes on a tangy note, with excellent clarity and lift.

UPC CODE: 8437008409412

All photos: Friederike Paetzold