Monday, December 16, 2019

Edetària Selecció Blanc Vinyes Velles 2016: A "cutting-edge" Spanish wine

Wines from Spain has designated eight wines as Vinos de Vanguardia (Wines on the Cutting Edge) and introduced them to attendees at a panel discussion at the organization's Great Match Miami (November 5, 2019). I have reported on two of these wines (Tajinaste Blanco and Muradella Blanco) previously and will cover a third -- Edetària Selecció Blanc Vinyes Velles 2016 -- herein.

Panelists from left to right: Allegra Angela, Sommelier and
Beverage Director, Mandarin Oriental; Daniel Toral, Sommelier,
Florida Wine Company; Mia Van de Water MS, Eleven Madison
Park; and Michael Schacter, Editor of Spanish and South American
Wines, Wine Enthusiast (Panel Leader)

The subject wine is produced by Edetària, an estate located in the Catalonian DO Terra Alta. I will first discuss the DO, followed by the estate and the wine.

Terra Alta
Terra Alta (High Land), a DO since 1985, is one of the southernmost of the Catalonian wine regions.

Terra Alta (Source:

The main commercial activity in the region is grapegrowing with over 6000 ha of vines planted in the region's foothills and valley floors. Terra Alta is the second largest vineyard in Catalonia.

The climate is Mediterranean with strong continental influences as reflected in long, hot summers and very cold winters. Climatic conditions are modified by El Ciergo, a local dry wind from the north and garbi, a wind from the southwest. In addition to moderating temperatures during the growing season, these winds help to protect the vines from fungal disease. Rainfall ranges between 14 and 20 inches per year.

Soils in Terra Alta are clay and coastal limestone and are characterized by good drainage and a paucity of nutrients.

The varieties planted in the region are as follows:

White Varieties
Red Varieties
Garnacha Blanca Garnacha
Parellada Carinena
Macabeo Syrah
Moscatel Ull de Llebre
Chardonnay Merlot
Chenin Blanc Cabernet Franc

One third of world wide Garnacha Blanca is grown in Terra Alta.

The estate, located in Gandesi, the capital city of the DO, is named after an old Roman road that ran between Tortosa and Zarragoza. The owner, Joan Angel Lliberia, has forged a reputation for the production of authentic wines from indigenous varieties.

There are five different soil types across the estate:
  • Panal -- Fossilized sand dunes from the Quaternary
  • Tapas -- silty soils with clay material
  • Tapas blanc -- shallow soils with marl carbonated fragments
  • Codols -- old river bed with surface pebbles
  • Vail -- fertile lime deep soils.
A key part of the success of the estate has been its ability to match grape varieties to soil type.

The 60-ha vineyard is farmed organically and adheres to the following sustainability practices:
  • Preserve soil structure and oxygenate by rotating till and no-till cover crops
  • Green fertilizer (pruning remains, cover crop cuts, and manure
  • Avoid chemical fungicides and insecticides.
Vines are Guyot and bush-trained with half being over 60 years old and the remainder between 25 and 40 years old.

Edetària Selecció Blanc Vinyes Velles 2016
This wine is made from 100% Garnacha Blanco grown on 60-year-old vines planted in panal soil. The grapes were hand-picked and stored in small boxes at between 0 and 5℃. After a second triage at the sorting table, the grapes were pressed and vinified by plot in 500 L French oak barrels. The wines were aged for 8 months before being placed on the market.

Bright golden color makes this wine stand out visually in comparison to the other white wines tasted today. A perfumed nose with nuttiness and notes of baking spices. Burgundian on the palate with a rich style; would appeal to a Napa white wine drinker. Nutty, honey, chestnut. Balanced.


I recently read a Decanter article by Pedro Ballesteros Torres which discussed the latest trends in Spanish fine wines. I have summarized the key findings of the article below with the thought of using it as a screen through which to filter the wines identified by Wines of Spain as being cutting edge wines.

Edetària Selecció Blanc Vinyes Velles 2016 checks the boxes on four of the five relevant trends included in the chart above:
  • Grape varieties beyond Tempranillo
  • Impressive range of quality whites
  • Winemaking emphasis on authenticity
  • Organic vineyards.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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