Armas de Guerra Blanco
Founded in 1879, Vinos Guerra is the oldest winery in the Bierzo region and one of the most historic wineries in Spain. The founder Don Antonio Guerra was a pioneer in many ways. He was one of the first producers to bottle method champanois wines in Spain. In addition to wine, Don Antonio also produced a variety of spirits from Agua Ardiente to Vermouth and Anisettes. Today, the Guerra winery farms one-third of all the vineyards in the Bierzo region. Out of the 3,000 ha (7,413 acres) of vineyard land in Bierzo, Guerra takes care of 1,000 ha (2,471 acres), however they only make wine with the best 10% of grapes. This rigorous selection process allows the Guerra wines to consistently show extraordinary quality. In addition to been so selective, Guerra possesses among the oldest and most precious Mencia (Mehn-cee-ah) and Dona Blanca vines in the Bierzo region. The average age of these vines is 50 years, making wines that express an impressive sense of depth and flavor.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A historic winery founded in 1879, making wines with old vines 50+ years old, from dry-farmed vineyards. Guerra controls one-third of all the vineyard land in Bierzo (1,000ha - 2,471 acres) and only makes wine with the best 10% of the grapes harvested.
RATING HISTORY: 2015 89VN; 2013 88IWC; 2012 89IWC
GRAPE: 85% Dona Blanca, 15% Godello. Vines planted from 1955 to 2008. Tended in river stone and clay soil at 550 m (1,804 ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: The traditional food match is seafood, especially the local Galician shellfish specialties like scallops, mussels, clams, lobster, crab and oysters. In fact, the scallop shell is the longtime symbol of Galicia and the ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Pilgrams walking the journey would bring back Galician scallop shells as proof that they completed the journey to the “end of the world” which at that time was the western coast of Spain.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Pre-fermentative cold maceration during 8 hours. Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 10 days. 100% unoaked.
PRODUCTION: 3,500 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located mostly in the lower valley of the Bierzo region. The vines are tended in clay and river stones. The average elevation of the vineyards is 550 m (1,804 ft) elevation. Temperature from April to October average 16.3C (61.3F) with annual rainfall of 626mm (24.6").
TASTING NOTES: Light straw-yellow. Citrus zest and fresh pit fruits on the perfumed nose, joined by hints of chamomile and fennel as the wine opens up. Juicy and broad in the mouth, offering fleshy pear, peach and Meyer lemon flavors that tighten up steadily on the back half. Finishes on a lively orange pith note, showing good persistence and a hint of florality.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold