Celler del Roure ‘Setze Gallets’ Garnacha Monastrell blend 2013
Named after old coins of the region. Garnacha and Monastrell, short-macerated but held a long time in tank, an every day and fresh expression of local varieties.
Unwooded and filtered to bottle.
Pleasant and round, red-fruit and earthen, a modest tinto with a touch of structure, easy and fresh. Leads with a light but typical Monastrell nose of dates, raisins, tar and straw in baked earth and is surprisingly fresh in the mouth.
Established in 1996, Cellar del Roure’s sandy-loam vineyards are at 600 metres altitude, nestled under Sierra La Solana. The nearest town, Moixent, is an hour or so south-west inland from Valencia This hilly sub-zone of DO Valencia takes its name from nearby town Fontanars dels Alfarins. South on across the mountains is the north-western reach of DO Alicante, where lie Pepe Mendoza’s vineyards in Entrena.
Apart from being lovely wines, the Celler Del Roure story is one of a return to history: this area has a 2400 year culture of winemaking from locally adapted varieties. Apart from the aberrant 20th century, 2300 years of this was a legacy of fermentation and ageing in amphorae. Pablo and Paco’s bodega fonda (underground winery) was first excavated 300 years ago and houses 97 buried amphorae ranging from 600-2800 litres. Abandoned in the dark days of 1930s Spain, the Catalayuds are busy renovating this special cellar and its amphorae. Of the 97 ancient jars, 20 have been dug out, renovated and re-buried in the local agglomerado soil – a sand, limestone, chalk, clay mix.
Mimicking the maturation effects of barrel-ageing without adding oak flavour or de-acidifying the wine, these renewed amphorae are part of a process of cultural renovation and rediscovery accompanied by the revival of ancient local varieties, until nearly recently lost: Verdil Blanco and Mandó Tinto (this spelling is Catalan - in Spanish, it would be Mandot).
Most of the vineyards were planted in the 1990s and are aged around 20 years - the first production was vintage 2000. Sara Perez from Priorat and her father Jose Luis (Mas Martinet) act as viticultural and winemaking advisors. In particular, they have been working to optimise the balance between acid retention and textural enhancement through batonage in amphorae.