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In Praise of the Producer: Vintae

With 21st century Spanish winemaking on the move from its traditional Rioja heartlands, Majestic Buyer Matt Pym introduces a top new name to look out for.

Think of Spanish wines and your mind most likely turns to Rioja: Reservas and Gran Reservas with many years’ barrel and bottle ageing; classic names and labels, maybe all wrapped up in a golden wire cage. My own love for these wines is evidenced by the preponderance in my cellar of Rioja from wonderful recent vintages like ’01, ’04 and ’05. However, the real buzz in Spanish wine is coming from talented, ambitious young winemakers ready to explore other regions and varieties.

Spain has a wealth of amazing vineyard material, with 100-year-old vines not uncommon. In the past, much of this potential was wasted, but now these treasures are getting the recognition they deserve. The fruit is being transformed into plush, polished wines of grace, power and real regional character, by dynamic young companies like Vintae.


Vintae’s three Matsu wines, from Toro in the far west of Spain, unite the oriental culture of caring for nature (matsu is Japanese for wait) with advanced biodynamic techniques. All three are made from Tinta de Toro, the local variant of Tempranillo.

From circa 50-year-old vines and with just three months in oak, El Picaro (The Rogue) is all about fruit, with lush blackberries to the fore and a fresh, mineral finish. 14 months in oak and fruit from 90 to 100-year-old vines make El Recio (The Tough One) a serious wine whose intense chocolate, deep black fruit and vanilla aromas give way to a subtle mineral core offset by a silky, unctuous character. From 110-year-old vines, the superb, full-bodied El Viejo (The Old One) delivers a powerful aromatic array of pencil lead, spice box, lavender and black cherry. Of 3,989 bottles made in 2009, we have 600.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgUAG18a6Ig]


Vintae runs a project to make the best regional expressions of Garnacha throughout Spain, such as this one, from the rocky slate and gravel mountainsides in the Ribera del Queiles, east of Rioja. It’s a hard life for the 55-year-old vines, yet they struggle on to produce wonderful fruit for this youthful, full-bodied wine, with tobacco and wild berry aromas, great structure and refreshing minerality.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10FpmHL_lCo]

Matsu El Picaro 2010, Toro New!
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles

Matsu El Recio 2009, Toro New!
£15.99 or £12.99 when you buy 2 bottles

Matsu El Viejo 2009, Toro New!
£25.00 or £20.00 when you buy 2 bottles
Limited Availability

La Garnacha 2010, Salvaje del Moncayo New!
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles

  • http://lillajade.wordpress.com LillaJade

    I love the wine labels on these bottles! Could you do a post about creative wine labels? I want to collect cool bottles and use them as candle holders. Creative labels like these: