Verdeja is the local name for old, pre-clonal selection Verdejo in Castronuño and Toro, and while this wine shows plenty of Verdejo character this is clearly not a wine trying to be Verdejo from Rueda! Embracing Verdejo’s tendency towards oxidation, Esteban Celemín makes this wine in the traditional method of this region, with 1-2 days of skin contact and the inclusion of some raisined grapes. The result is a very highly concentrated, but totally dry, expression of Verdejo. This shows appealing ripe green herb (fennel, coriander, celery) notes intermingled with charred lemon notes on the nose, and the palate is dense with plenty of mineral acidity and citrus and stone-fruit notes.
Tasting: 100% Albillo Real from vines around Castronuño. This is Esteban’s expression of the traditional, slightly oxidative skin-contact wines of the region, made in the classical clay tinaja or amphora. The Albillo Real grapes’ thin skins macerate gently in the juice for 40 days, lending little in the way of colour but plenty of flavour and texture. The nose is bright but very bold, with notes of apricot, orange peel, and citrus, while the palate shows concentrated apricot, peach, and pear alongside savoury density. The clay and the skins give this a truly unique texture that is simultaneously substantial and truly refreshing.
Tasting: Esteban is fast becoming one of our favourite winemakers, he really goes from strength to strength with every wine he releases, the Melquíades perfectly illustrates this. The name shares his grandfather’s nickname, he explains that he was a loving man, but with a fiery temper at the same time! Soft, plush and very expressive, but with a kick at 16% abv, it has definitely earned the comparison. Rich, unctuous dusky purple berries coat the palate, the texture of this wine is phenomenal! Luxurious cassis, bramble fruits with Mediterranean herbs, the aforementioned alcohol seamlessly balanced, you wouldn’t even know it was there. Grown organically, un-fined and unfiltered, minimal sulphites used. Quite simply one of the most outstanding reds we import.