Over the years, Telmo Rodriguez, has built a reputation as a pioneering, and perhaps as one of the best, "driving wine-makers”, or rolling oenologist, i.e, a winemaker who moves around different areas to to produce various wines during the same harvest, using only native grape varieties of each region, focusing their efforts on the recovery of lost or forgotten vineyards and varieties. Telmo Rodriguez, who is more of a winemaker than a oenologist, is perhaps known worldwide as one of the intigators of Spanish Viticulture.
The term “flying wine-maker” was coined in the late 80’s by a number of winemakers from New Zealand and Australia, who came to emerging wine regions of europe with potential and abudant in raw materials, as the time of harvest in Europe coincides very Little with the oenological activity in their homelands. The aim of producing wines this way was to produce technically sound wines at competitive prices, as well as allowing the winemakers to produce across international markets. The term was quickly adopted to refer to any oenologist who works on one or more holds, regardless of whether they own their own winery. However, the term “driving wine-maker” is used when no aircraft for international travel is used to travel between plots.
In the case of Telmo Rodriguez and the Remelluri winery, the main aim of the winery is to search for good quality vineyards and collaborate with local vintners. Once a suitable site to produce wines has been founded, the winery creates new brands depending often on the market, with wines being sold at both a national and international level. The Company has supported local vintners deepen the study of each region and their historic wines. When working with single estate vineyards, philosophy is always reflect the personality of the terroir and the landscape above even the variety.
Telmo studied oenology in Bordeaux, before spending three years working in the wineries Prats, Cos d’Estournel and Petit Village, going on to continue his training in the Rhone Valley, working with big names such as Chave and Trévallon. His contempories include Paul Eguzkiza, who he met during his studies and has since worked with, first on Barón de Oña and later on Remelluri, which he led for 10 years, until in 1994 he decided to leave by choice the family project to develop its own business, la Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodríguez, junto a Pablo Eguzkiza.
Since its foundation, the Company has continued to use only use grape varieties native to each region, which differs to the boom of foreign varieties across many Spanish vineyards. The company’s work is based on the innate intuition to detect and find the best areas to produce wines, their ability to motivate the best winegrowers in each region, their knowledge of wine and their great rapport with a select distribution in major markets around the world.
The company began their first project in Navarra, and although the wine was a success, soaring grape prices 90s, and the lack of commitment of cooperatives where he was operated, forced the company to abandon the area to focus on other projects. The company then began to set up projects in Rueda, Malaga, Cebreros and even in the Portuguese Douro, spanning across to other regions such as La Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro, Valdeorras, Cigales, Rueda, Cebreros, Alicante and Malaga, although it can be that some of their wines appear one or two vintages and disappear from the market.
Wines from the Compañia Telmo Rodriguez,
These are the following regions in which the Compañia Telmo Rodriguez produces their wines.
La Rioja The company produces their riojan wines in the town of Lanciego de Álava, situated in the Rioja Alavesa, supported in the Sierra de Cantavria, and experiences both Mediterranean and Atlantic influences.
Altos de Lanzaga. The grapes used for this wine come from 7 different plots, La Estrada, Ermita, La Serna, Cerezos del Pinto, Veriquete and Castillejo, which between them span 4 hectares. The 7 plots form 4 Has of own vineyards worked in biodynamic way in process of getting the demeter certification and in no labour. The wine is a blend of three different grape varieties: Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha, and ferments in 300kg oak wooden casks, before being aged for 18 months in oak casks (1500 litres) and barrels (225 litres)
Lanzaga. The grapes used for this wine come from the plots Atalaya, Majadales, Arroyo la Losa, Pasocastillo and Soto. 12 hectares of the vineyards belong to the winery and are worked using biodynamic agriculture, and in process of Demeter certification, while the other 8 are cultivated using traditional viticulture and come from local suppliers. Lanzaga is a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, and is aged for 14 months in oak casks (1500-2500 litres) and barrels (225 litres).
LZ. The grapes for this wine come from the plots Campoluengo, Las Rozas, Castillejo, El Romeral, Agozaderas and El Plano. LZ is a blend of three different grape varieties: Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano, and is aged for 4-6 months in cement tanks.
Las Beates. This wine comes from a single plot located on terraces, that spans across 1.9 hectares. La Beates is a blend of three different grape varieties: Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha and Garnacha Blanca, and is aged for 15 months in foudres.
Málaga Málaga is the only region which produces sweet wines. In fact, the company began work in Málaga with the intention of rejuvenating the work with Moscatel in the abrupt and mountainous region of Axarquía, with naturally sweet wines, i.e, wines where all of the sugar and alcohol come from the grapes themselves and made partly with sundried grapes.
Molino Real. This wine is made with the Moscatel grape, from a 9 hectares of vineyards that are organically worked, located in the municipality of Cómpeta. This wine undergoes fermentation using native yeasts in 225 litre oak barrels, and ages for 20 months in French oak barrels. This is a young Moscatel.
Old Mountain. This wine comes from Axarquía Málaga, from the Monte Zorra and Viña Jacinto plots, which span 2.4 hectares and are organically worked. The grapes for this wine undergo pacification for 7 days, following by fermentation using indigineuos yeasts in (225litre) French oak barrels, following by 7 years ageing in French oak barrels.
Mountain Blanco. This wine comes from a vineyard in the Sierras de Málaga at around 500-1000metres in altitude, which is home to slate soils on very pronounced slopes in the called “umbrías”. Mountain Blanco undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks and is aged for 9 months.
Cebreros. Cebreros (Sierra de Gredos, Ávila) is the land of Garnacha. The majority of the vineyards recovered in the region are located in the Alto de Arrebatacapas region, yet the character of the wines greatly depend on the soil varieties, either granito or slate.
Pegaso Pizaara. This wine is made exclusively with the Garnacha grape, grown on slate slopes, Fermentatin is carried out with native yeasts in 3000kg wooden vats, followed by ageing for 24-30 months in French oak barrels of 500 y 400 litres from different origins.
Pegaso Granito. Another single variety Granache wine, using grapes taken from the El Robledillo, El Areguero and El Mojón plots, situated at 800-1000 metres altitude, one granite soils of magma origin. The vineyards are cultivated and worked using traditional organic agricultural methods. This wine undergoes fermentation in (4000kg) stainless steel tanks, followed by maturing for 18 months in (600litre) French oak barrels of different origins.
Alicante Alicante is the land of the Monastrell grape variety, although some believe the variety is of French origin, which under the name “Mourvèdre” is reasonable for some of the most prestigious wines in the south of the French Rhône.
Almuverde. This wine is produced in the town of Monovar, where the Monastrell grapes from on the Collado de Salinas, Madara, Falcones, Solaneta and Tumanes plots. This wine undergoes fermentation with native yeasts, in stainless steel and concrete fermentation tanks.
Ribera del Duero. Ribera del Duero is before anything the home of the Tinto fino (Tinto del País) grape. The region is also characterised by its high altitude vineyards, austere moor landscapes and narrow valleys, where the vines grow on limestone, stony and sandy soils. The company set up in the region with the aim of recovering classic wines and vineyards with a mixture of different soil varieties.
Matallana. This is a single variety wine made exclusively with the Tinto Fino grape, taken from different vineyards in the towns of Sotillo, Roa, Fuentecen, Fuentemolinos, Pardilla and Fuentelisendo. The vineyards span across 4.5 hectares between them, are organicly worked. The grapes undergo fermentation using native yeasts in oak wooden casks of 3000kg. The wine is then aged for 15-18 months in new French oak barrels.
M2 de Matallana. This is another single variety Tinto Fino wine. The grapes come from 9 hectares of vineyards owned by the winery, that are organically cultivated (in the process of being certified), as well as 11 hectares owned by external suppliers that are worked using traditional methods. The plots used include Los Guijarros, Los Hundidos, Carrahoyales, Los Apriscales and La Pirileja. The wine then ferments using native yeasts in stainless steel tanks and wooden casks. The wine is then aged for 14 months in french oak barrels. 50% New 50% of one wine. This wine is actually not made in the D.O Ribera del Duero, but in the towns of Burgos, Soria and Aranda de Duero. It is made exclusively with Tinto Fino grapes, grown on bush vines. The wine is then fermented with native yeasts in wood and stainless steel tanks.
Toro. For many years, the D.O Toro seemed to have been forgotten. Vines in the region grow on the stony soils, growing in ungrafted Sandy soils. It wasn´t until the late nineties that the region saw a revival.
Pago la Jara. This wine is made exclusively with the Tinto de Toro grape, taken from plots located in the towns of Argujillo, Villabuena and Morales. The 5 vineyards used span accross 4 hectares and are cultivated using traditional viticultural techniques and worked by 3 families of suppliers, who have been working with the winery since 1998. The grapes are grown on low bush vines, on deep stony soils with good drainage. The wine undergoes fermentation with native yeasts in oak wooden vats of 3000kg and is then aged for 18 months in French oak barrels of different origins, 70% new and 20% of one wine 10% foudres of 1500 litres.
Gago. This wine is a single variety wine, made with the Tinto de Toro grape, taken from 20 hectares of vineyards, which are cultivated using traditional viticultural techniques. The vineyards are home to deep stony soils with good drainage. The wine undergoes fermentation with native yeasts in Cement casks of 12.000 – 15.000 kg. The wine is then aged for 14 Months in foudres of 1500 litres and barrels of 225 litres.
Dehesa Gago. This wine is made exclusively with the Tinto de Toro grape, taken from plots all over D.O Toro, on vineyards home to sandy soils over stony terraces. The wine undergoes fermentation using native yeasts in cerment and stainless steel casks, and is aged for 4-6 months in cemement casks.
Valdeorras. Although their work in Valdeorras is the most recent project of the company, it was in fact the first region they visited back in the early 90’s, when the company was still taking shape. They work with the Falcoeira winery in the town of Santa Cruz, where after the phylloxera outbreak, a mixture of varieties were planted without taking their origin into account. The company bases its work here on recovering the native Godello and Mencia grape varieties.
Gaba do Xil Mencia. This wine is made exclusively with the Mencia grape, taken from the A Torguiera, As Caborcas, O Pando and A Pedreira plots in the town of Larouco. The vineyards are located 550 metres above sea level, with 80% of the grapes are grown on trellises, and the other 20% on bush vines. The wine undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks.
Gaba do Xil Godello. This wine is made exclusively with the Godello grape, grown in the towns of Larouco and Santa Cruz (Ourense). The vineyards are located 550 metres above sea level, with 80% of the grapes are grown on trellises, and the other 20% on bush vines. Only 80,000 bottles are produced.
As Caborcas. This wine is made using grapes from the As Caborcas vineyard, located in the town of Santa Cruz. This wine is a blend of 5 different grape varities: Mencía, Merenzao, Sousón, Garnacha, Godello and Brencellao. The wine undergoes fermentation using native yeasts in stainless steel tanks and oak wooden vats. As Caborcas is then aged for 12 months in wooden fudres.
Branco de Santa Cruz. This wine is a blend of 4 different grape varieties, taken from vineyards situated in the town of Santa Cruz. The vineyards are situated at altitudes between 550 and 600 metres on slopes of the Banks of the Bibei river. The wine ferments using native yeasts and ages for 10-12 months in wooden fudres.
Cigales The hills of boulders that descend towards the River Douro and the original blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes are the main hallmarks of the wines of Telmo Rodriguez Company.
Viña 105. The grapes used for this wine come from the town of Cigales, from the El Manco, Barco and Molar ploys. This wine is a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, and undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks.
Rueda The Rueda region in recent years has become well known for specialising in dry white wines made with the Verdejo and Viura grapes varieties, as well as the French variety Sauvignon Blanc, introduced by the father of modern oenology Emile Peynaud.
Basa. This wine is a blend of two different grape varieties. Verdejo (90%) and Viura (10%), taken from different zones of the DO Rueda region. The wine undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks, with around 450,000 being produced.
El Transistor. This is a single variety wine, made exclusively with Verdejo grapes, taken from the towns of Rueda and La Seca. The wine undergoes fermentation using native yeasts in Cask and barrels different sizes of concrete containers and stainless steel, and is aged for 9 months.