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Queirón Ensayos Capitales 2, Tempranillo Blanco 2019
Appealing aromas of dried apricot, honey, almond, white flower and brioche. The palate is complex and textural, with layers of ripe stone fruit, nutmeg and white spice over bright acidity - with well-integrated, lightly toasty notes. All leading to a long, elegant and voluptuous finish.
100% Tempranillo Blanco
Queirón represents one of the most long-standing symbioses of the association of a family with winegrowing in La Rioja. Originating from Quel, the Pérez Cuevas family has always been known in the area as “los majos” or friendly ones. In actual fact, some vestiges of this moniker still remain in the area, such as the so-called path of “los majos”. Lázaro Pérez, the great-great grandfather of the current generation, used to grow Garnacha while his daughter was responsible for selling it. The family eventually acquired a small bar – grocery store in Quel, called “Choco” where they sold to the public the wine that they themselves made in their primitive family winery located in the heart of the old quarter of this town in Rioja Baja, right next to a small distillery, another of the historical traditions of this town.
Tempranillo blanco is a white Spanish wine grape variety that is grown in the Rioja Denominación de Origen (DOC). It is a mutation of the red Tempranillo grape variety that is planted in Rioja. The white grape variety was discovered in a Tempranillo vineyard in the Rioja region by a wine grower in the late 20th century. In 2007, the Consejo Regulador of Rioja officially sanctioned the use of Tempranillo blanco in the DOC wines of Rioja.
The town of Quel sits in the Cidacos river valley, between the Sierra Yerga and Sierra la Hez mountain ranges, at the heart of Rioja Oriental. Here in the Barrio de Bodegas wineries have existed since the 18th century, with ancient winemaking caves at the base of the sheer sandstone cliffs, where grapes were gravity-fed from the vineyards above.This has been the home of the Pérez Cuevas family (who established and own Bodegas Ontañón) for generations, and the new Queirón winery is the fulfilment of Gabriel’s dream. It has been built around an existing cave, and the 4-level design replicates (in a very modern way) the traditional gravity-flow system that allows a gentle approach to the handling of the grapes at each step. They have more than thirty separate vineyard parcels located in and around Quel. These range from the ancient Garnacha vineyard of ‘El Arca’ (planted in 1892) to the Tempranillo vineyard ‘La Pasada’ - planted at some of the highest elevation vineyards in the entire Rioja DOCa.Established at the start of the new Rioja classification system allowing wines to be labelled according to their origin, their portfolio highlights the winery's heritage, and family’s long relationship, with the town of Quel.
The Tempranillo Blanco grapes are sourced from the El Aniceto plot in the Quel foothills of the Sierra de Yerga mountains. The vines are cultivated in sandy loam soils at around 640m altitude. The grapes are hand-picked at dawn, in the cooler temperatures to retain freshness, and are chilled to 10˚C.
The grapes are destemmed, crushed, and undergo a pre-fermentation maceration in stainless steel for 1-2 days, to soften the grape skins and aid the extraction of aromas. Then the temperature is raised to 12-14˚ and alcoholic fermentation begins. Fermentation takes place with the skins and with a very gentle pumping over, for a period of 6-7 days. Then half-way through fermenatation, the must (free-run juice only) is put into new French oak to continue fermentation. Once fermentation is complete, the wine is matured in used French oak casks (used 2-3 times) for 5 months on fine lees, with twice-weekly batonnage. After malolactic fermentation the wine is put in 'tinaja' (earthenware vessel / amphora) to allow a slow and gentle micro-oxygenation, for just over a year, before bottling.