Wine of La Mancha
Bodega Altolandon is located in Landete, Spain, in the country’s east-central region. The estate covers 120 hectares (296 acres), and is at 1100 meters (3600 feet) altitude at its highest point.
It is this altitude that Altolandon believes is crucial to making their wines unique and special. At this height, the temperature range is greater, warmer during the day and cooler at night than lowland vineyards, making for a slow and prolonged maturation.
All of Altolandon’s plots are grown organically. Prevailing winds clean the air and vegetation is free of pesticides. Soil fertility is maintained only with natural fertilizers.
Altolandon grows a wide selection of grape varieties. Reds include Bobal, Malbec, Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Whites encompass Chardonnay, Muscat, Petit Manseng, Viognier, and Grenache. The planting density is 4,000 plants per hectare (2-1/2 acres), forcing the vines to compete and thus obtain smaller, higher-quality grapes.
The wines are made in stainless steel tanks to extract as much color and flavor as possible. The skins are kept in contact with the must for about two to three weeks under controlled temperature. Fermentation is done spontaneously, without added yeasts. Temperature during fermentation reaches a maximum of 26º C. (79º F.). Once initial fermentation is finished, the wine is pressed and goes into an assortment of new and old 225-liter French oak barrels, where it undergoes a secondary malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for between eight and 24 months, depending the type. Finally the wine is bottle aged for no less than eight months before distribution.
Altolandon Rayuelo 2008
This Spanish red is 80% Bobal (from 60-year-old vines) and 20% Malbec and Monastrell (from 15-year-old vines). Bobal is a dark-skinned wine-grape variety native to Utiel-Requena in southeast Spain. Despite its relative obscurity, it is one of that country’s most-planted grape varieties behind Tempranillo and Airen.
The wine was fermented in stainless steel using all-natural yeasts, and then aged eight months in French oak. The high-altitude grapes produce a wine with a nose redolent of red fruits, generous blackberry and dried-cherry flavors, and good acidity.
Enjoy this with Spanish Meatballs with Almond Sauce, Pot-poached Spiced Chicken, or Beef Tangine with Prunes.
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