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 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.
In A Gadda Da Vida is the only white Diego makes – a blend of all his white bush vines from 5 different plots around the valley of Bierzo.
When he brings the bunches into cellar he destems and places the berries and juice in large open top oak vats for 15 days before he then seals them off and leaves them another 75 days in total.
Most years he will only macerate around 45 days but as 2018 was so much colder and wetter he didn’t get nearly enough aroma and tannin and therefore opted to double the maceration.
After its time on skins he passes the free run juice to 250 + 300l French oak barrels where it rests for 8 months on its lees.
Grapes: Godello (50%), Doña Blanca (30%), Palomino (10%), Malvasia (10%) – there are also a handful of other indigenous obscure varieties in small quantities. Many of which he doesn’t know the names of!
Soil type: Clay based with a little calcareous, quartz and minerals such as iron.
Age of vines: 50-70 years
Production: 1,133 bottles
Sulfites added: none
Bodega La Senda - In A Gadda Da Vida
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