It is safe to say that Telmo Rodríguez has the reputation of being one of the pioneers and best "driving winemakers", that is, winemakers that travel to different areas to produce wines from the same harvest, using only native varieties from their original regions, apart from paying special attention to the recovery of abandoned vineyards. Currently, Telmo Rodríguez, who enjoys being a winemaker more than an oenologist, is known in the wine industry for being one of the promoters of Spanish winemaking.
The term "flying winemaker" was first used in the 80s by certain Australian and New Zealand winemakers who came to some emerging areas of Europe where there was potential and raw material, as the harvest season in Spain coincided with a time of little oenological activity in their countries of origin. The idea of these flying winemakers was to produce technologically correct wines, at competitive prices and, generally, to also dominated some international markets or large chains where they could place their wines. The term was quickly adopted to name any winemaker who provides their services in one or several wineries, whether they have, or not, their own winery. However, when they do not take a plane to move between continents, the most accurate term is "driving winemaker".
In the case of Telmo Rodríguez, who has the family-run winery, Remelluri, they search for good vineyards and partnerships with local winegrowers. They locate a suitable place for their production, they create new labels, most of the time depending on the market, and the wines are marketed both nationally and internationally. The Company has always relied on local winegrowers to delve in the study of each area and its historic wines. When they work with unique vineyards, their philosophy is to always reflect the personality of the terroir and the landscape, even beyond the variety.
Telmo studied oenology in Bordeaux and spent three years working in the wineries of the Prats family, Cos d'Estournel and Petit Village. Then he continued his training in the Rhone valley, collaborating with important names like Chave or Trévallon. Among his fellow students we have to mention Pablo Eguzkiza, with whom Telmo has been friends since then, first in Barón de Oña and then in Remelluri, which he directed for 10 years. Then, in 1994, he decided to leave his family project to develop his own business, his interest, Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodríguez, alongside Pablo Eguzkiza.
Since it was created, the Company's main argument is to use only native varieties from unique areas. At that time, this philosophy clashed with the boom of bringing foreign varieties practically into all Spanish vineyards. His work is based on his natural intuition to spot the best areas, his ability to motivate the best winemakers of the region, his knowledge of wine, and his great rapport with a select distribution in the main world markets.
The first project of the company was in Navarre, and although the wine was a success, the surge in the price of the grapes in the 90s, and the lack of commitment of the cooperatives where it operated, forced the company to leave the area to focus on other projects. Others, like Rueda, Málaga, Cebreros and even the Portuguese Douro, followed them in their decision. Therefore, the Company now produces wines in La Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro, Valdeorras, Cigales, Rueda, Cebreros, Alicante and Málaga, although some of its wines may appear for one or two vintages and then disappear from the market.
Wines from Compañía Telmo Rodríguez
These are their production areas and the wines from Compañía Telmo Rodriguez : · La Rioja
The town chosen by the Company to produce its wines in La Rioja is Lanciego de Álava, a village in Rioja Alavesa, next to the Sierra de Cantabria, which accurately reflects the struggle between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic influence.
Altos de Lanzaga comes from the areas of Valvarreniga, La Estrada, Ermita, La Serna, Cerezos del Pinto, Veriquete and Castillejo. Their 7 plots form 4 hectares of own vineyards, biodynamically cultivated, in the process of attaining the Demeter certification. It is made from Tempranillo, Graciano and Grenache. It ferments in 3000-kg oak barrels and aged for 18 months in 1500-litre foudres and 225-litre barrels.
Lanzaga comes from the areas of Atalaya, Majadales, Arroyo la Losa, Pasocastillo and Soto. In total, there are 12 hectares of own vineyards biodynamically cultivated, in the process of attaining the Demeter certification. They also have 8 more hectares of vineyards of suppliers with a traditional viticulture. It is made from Tempranillo and Grenache. It ages for 14 months in 1500 to 2500-litre foudres and 225-litre barrels.
LZ comes from the areas of Campoluengo, Las Rozas, Castillejo, El Romeral, Agozaderas and El Plano. It is made from Tempranillo, Grenache and Graciano, with a ripening of 4-6 months in cement deposits.
Las Beatas comes from an extraordinary vineyard located in a unique place. It is planted on 1.9-hectare terraces, cultivated traditionally, with a mixture of Tempranillo, Graciano, Grenache and White Grenache, and with an ageing of 15 months in foudres.
Málaga is the only region where sweet wines are produced. In fact, the project is created to recover the tradition of the Muscatels from the abrupt and mountainous region of Axarquía, with naturally sweet wines. This means that they have all the alcohol and sugar from the grape itself, and that it is made from sun-dried grapes.
Molino Real is a pure Muscatel that comes from 9 hectares of own vineyards, organically cultivated, in the municipality of Cómpeta. It ferments with local yeasts in 225-litre oak barrels and ages for 20 months in French oak barrels. MR is their young Muscatel.
Old Mountain comes from Axarquía Málaga, from the site Monte Zorra and the vineyard Viña Jacinto, comprised by 2.4 hectares of vineyards that are organically cultivated. The wine is extended for raisining for approximately 7 days. It ferments with native yeasts in 225-litre French oak barrels and then it is aged for more than 7 years, also in French oak barrels.
Mountain Blanco comes from a vineyard in Sierras de Málaga, located between 550-1000 metres of altitude, planted on slate floors with steep slopes in the so-called "umbrias". It ferments in stainless steel deposits and ages for 9 months.
Cebreros (Sierra de Gredos, Ávila) is the land of the Grenache. Most of the recovered vineyards are located in the area of Alto de Arrebatacapas, but the wines differ depending on the soil: granite and slate.
Pegaso Pizarra is made from 100% Grenache cultivated on slopes of brown slate. It ferments with local yeasts in 3000-kg wooden vats and ages from 24-30 months in 500 and 400-litre French oak barrels from different origins.
Pegaso Granito comes from Grenache of El Robledillo, El Areguero and El Mojón, located between 800 and 1000 metres of altitude, planted on granite soils of magmatic origin, and with a traditional organic viticulture. They ferment in 4000-kg stainless steel deposits. After this, they age for 18 months in 600-litre barrels made of French oak from different origins.
Alicante is the land of the Monastrell. Many people believe that this variety is French, since under the name "Mourvèdre" it is responsible for some of the most prestigious wines of the south of the French Rhone.
Al Muvedre is a wine from the village of Monovar, where the Monastrell, cultivated in vase-shape, comes from the areas of Collado de Salinas, Madara, Falcones, Solaneta and Tumanes. The grapes ferment with local yeasts in stainless steel and concrete deposits.
· Ribera del Duero
Ribera del Duero is, first and foremost, Tinto Fino or the National Red. Vineyards planted at high levels, austere moorland with narrow valleys where the vines are cultivated on lime, stone and sand soils. The Company's work is based on the recovery of the classical vineyard, with a mixture of soils.
Matallana is made from Tinto Fino of different vineyards located in Sotillo, Roa, Fuentecen, Fuentemolinos, Pardilla and Fuentelisendo, which make a total of 4.5 hectares of own vineyards cultivated organically, in the process of being certified. It ferments with local yeasts in 3000-kg oak vats and ages for 15-18 months in new French oak barrels.
M2 of Matallana is born from 9 hectares of their own vineyards organically cultivated and in process of certification, plus 11 hectares of vineyards from suppliers with a reasoned traditional viticulture, located in the sites of Los Guijarros, Los Hundidos, Carrahoyales, Los Apriscales, La Pirileja. It ages with native yeasts in stainless steel deposits and wooden vats. Then it is aged for 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% single-use.
Gazur comes from different areas of Burgos, Soria and Aranda de Duero. It is made from 100% Tinto Fino, from vines grown in vase-shape. It ferments with local yeasts in wooden and stainless steel deposits.
This area has remained forgotten for years and years. Its vines, which grow among the stones, sprout from the sand without grafting. At the end of the 90s, their rediscovery began.
Pago la Jara comes from the villages of Argujillo, Villabuena and Morales, from 5 plots that comprise 4 hectares of vineyards belonging to 3 families of suppliers who use traditional wine growing with the company since 1998. They have vase-shaped vines of Tinta de Toro cultivated on deep, gravelly soils "cascajos" with good drainage and varied textures. The grapes ferment with local yeasts in 3000-Kg oak vats. They are aged for 18 months in barrels made of French wood from different origins. 70% in new barrels, 20% in single-use barrels and 10% in 1500-litre foudres.
Gago is made from 20 hectares of vineyards from suppliers who carry out a reasoned traditional viticulture in Grulla, Montenuevo, Taso, El Hierro and Casa Blanca, on deep, gravelly soils "cascajos" with good drainage and varied textures. It ferments with native yeasts in cement tanks of 12,000 - 15,000 kg of capacity. Then it is aged for 14 months in 1500-litre foudres and 225-litre barrels.
Dehesa Gago comes from different areas of D.O. Toro with sandy soils on gravel terraces, also known as "cascajos". It ferments with native yeasts in cement and stainless steel deposits, and remains for 4-6 months in cement containers.
It is their most recent project, despite the fact that it was the first area visited by Compañía Telmo Rodríguez in the early 90s, when the project was still in its early days. They cultivate the Falcoeira vineyard in the village of Santa Cruz, where after the phylloxera, they planted a mixture of varieties without really considering their origin. Their work has focused on recovering the native varieties Godello and Mencía.
Gaba do Xil Mencía is a varietal of Mencía from the village of Larouco (Ourense), from the sites A Torgueira, As Caborcas, O Pando and A Pedreira, 80% cultivated in espalier and 20% in vase-shape, at around 550 metres of altitude. The grapes ferment with local yeasts in stainless steel deposits.
Gaba do Xil Godello is its varietal of Godello from the villages of Larouco and Santa Cruz (Ourense), 80% cultivated in espalier and 20% in vase-shape, at around 550 metres of altitude. It ferments in stainless steel deposits, and around 80,000 bottles are produced.
As Caborcas comes from the village of Santa Cruz, from the site As Caborcas, and it is made from Mencía, Merenzao, Sousón, Grenache, Godello and Brencellao. It ferments with local yeasts in stainless steel deposits and wooden vats. It is left to age in large wooden foudres for 12 months.
Branco de Santa Cruz is made from Godello, Treixadura, Doña Blanca and Palomino form the village of Santa Cruz, from different plots located between 550 and 600 metres of altitude on the hillsides of the river Bibei. It ferments with native yeasts and it remains 10 - 12 months in wooden foudres.
The hills full of boulders descending towards the river Duero, and the unique mixture of Tempranillo and Grenache grapes are the main identifying traits of the wines of Compañía Telmo Rodríguez.
Viña 105 comes from the village of Cigales, from the sites of El Manco, Barco and Molar. It is made from Tempranillo and Grenache, fermented in stainless steel deposits.
This area was famous for its old wines, but since a few years back, it has specialised in dry whites made from Verdejo and Viura, and the French variety Sauvignon Blanc, introduced by the father of modern oenology, Emile Peynaud.
Basa is made with 90% Verdejo and 10% Viura, from different areas of D.O. Rueda, fermented in stainless steel deposits. Its production is of around 450,000 bottles.
El Transistor comes from the villages of Rueda and La Seca, and it is a Verdejo varietal. It ferments with native yeasts in foudres and barrels of different sizes, and concrete and stainless steel containers. After this it is aged for 9 months.
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