montxo martinez - bodegas yllera & Vivaltus
I first heard about German Blanco after i tasted his 'Milu' wine a few years ago and was instantly hooked on his wines.
I've looked out for his wines ever since and genuinely love his entire production range which seems to grow by the year.
The words ‘Boutique’, ‘artisan’, ‘organic’ and ‘micro-winery’ as thrown around when talking about a number of wineries but it definitely applies to German and his production out of Rioja, Ribera Del Duero and El Bierzo
The focus is more on cultivating the vines with complete respect for the terroir. Blanco produces living wines with minimal intervention and reverting to many traditional wine making techniques such as foot pressing. Each wine making process is also analyzed on a vineyard to vineyard basis which means there could be over 40 vinifications every harvest. The tanks are also selected based on the soil of each parcel, some oak barrels, some in steel, some in oak vats…the attention to detail is staggering!
I'm honoured he was able to take the time out to provide some great answers to our 'Meet Your Marker' series.
Your full name and job title
Germán R. Blanco; Artisan winegrower
How long have you been making wine ?
We´ve been making wine since 1999.
Tell us a bit about the winery and your location
We make wine in different locations; "Bierzo Alto” mountain (Casa Aurora winery) .In "Ribera del Duero" in a village called "La Aguilera " with Quinta Milú and also in " Rioja Baja“ in a village called “Calahorra”, there, we make La Bicicleta Voladora wine.
Our wines are always Village Wines, understanding this concept as an exclusive geographic delimitation, given that we appreciate each village, with its history, its vineyards and its soils as a unique landscape which deserves to be valued.
What varietals do you grow and which is your favourite?
I work and make wines with Tempranillo, Mencía, Palomino, Garnacha Tintorera, Trousseau, ... I don’t have one favorite . As possible Tempranillo because we make very fine and fresh wines with it in Quinta Milú and that is unusual. The really most important for me are the combination of soil ,vineyard and winegrower.
How would you explain your wine making style?
We work naturally and traditionally. With minimum intervention we look for the perfect expression of a landscape, its soils and the vineyards we have planted there.
We look for wines with a light red colour, should have a palpable, succulent and attractive texture... Powerful fruit, without over-extraction or aggressive tannins. I work with the lowest possible levels of sulphur.
Meticulous care in the vineyard is the first essential for us. The objectives are no chemical treatments, weed-killers, pesticides or synthesized fertilizers. I don't use the word biological, those are its methods.
We make our wines vineyard by vineyard. We understand that the best way of knowing the biodiversity of our landscapes through our vineyards and their soils is by treating each parcel individually.
All of our wines are aged. We understand the process as a form of guided ageing in which wood does not necessarily have to intervene. We use different materials such as concrete or terracotta and when we do use wood, we are always drawn to large volumes and used barrels. With the ageing process we are trying to highlight our work as farmers.
How did you get into wine-making?
My great grand mother, Aurora, was my mirror. My wines and my actions pretends to be a tribute to her.
What is your desert island wine if you could only pick one wine? (Can’t be your own!)
A very, very, very old Amontillado...
Who do you most admire in the wine industry ?
I´m not a person who believes in myths , I do believe in local heroes but I have to admit that I feel a big respect for Alvaro Palacios, his history and his wines.
Your favourite wine growing region (apart from your own!)
One bit of advice you would give to aspiring winemakers
All starts in the soils ....
For more information see;
Instagram - @grblanco898