Working in Bierzo, the challenges Diego faces often result in what makes his wines unique and exceptional.
Of the various small plots dotted around the valley and mountain slopes of Bierzo that Diego works, they are all old vines (minimum 50 years), low yielding and mostly on steep slopes, low in organic matter but rich in minerals,and difficult to work.
Millions of years ago the valley of Bierzo was an inland sea and each of Diego’s plots represents a different scattering of minerals - clay or calcareous with slate, iron, gold or quartz.
The climate presents a further challenge in Bierzo - they have a long, often brutally cold winter and a summer that is short and almost always too humid (an average of 80-90% humidity).
Diego likens his winemaking style to raising a child - saying one needs to allow a child the freedom to develop and express his or her own personality, but a child is also vulnerable and needs protection and guidance.
In this way he approaches winemaking - opting to do as little as possible to interfere with the vines.
Using sulphur in the vineyard only when he believes is necessary, preferring to treat more gently with biodynamic preparations such as horsetail.
Similarly, in the cellar Diego believes a wine needs time and space.
He ages his wines in either cement or very old wood, believing wine needs to breathe as it develops.
He always does a very gentle maceration, usually just a few days of whole berries before pressing.
He avoids any kind of push down or batonnage and as a self labelled radical will never at any stage filter, fine or add sulphur in cellar.
All of Diego’s reds are made more or less the same way.
The whole bunches are placed in open deposit for 3-4 days and then pressed off.
The juice is then passed back to deposit and left for the entirety of the fermentation and ageing.
Not racked at all.
The grapes for El Aqueronte come from a single plot of old vine Mencia on a slate slope.
The wine is fermented and aged in an old chestnut barrel.
Grapes: Mencia (100%)
Soil type: Slate with a lot of mineral deposits
Age of vines: 50-70 years
Production: 1,262 bottles
Sulfites added: none
Bodega La Senda - El Aqueronte
See our Returns Policy section