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Clavis; our single-vineyard wine from Finca Antigua, La Mancha

Sometimes, vine growers and winemakers take for granted that everybody knows everything about wines and winemaking, but this is far from being true. Currently, in many vine-growing regions in Spain, and to some extent in Rioja as well, they are discussing the possibilities of distinguishing wines by the type of terroir. As a result, we will hear terms like vino de pueblo, vino de finca, vino de parcela or vino de paraje; all of them standing for local, single-estate wines.

Priorato, along with Rioja, the only qualified designations of origin in the country, was a pioneer in the development of the so-called ‘vinos de villa’ (village wines. These are not just wines from a certain subzone but, thanks to the marking out of a dozen specific comarcas (subregions), each with its distinct soil, climate and tradition, these were wines with greater guarantees of their origin. Apart from village wines, Priorato has developed vinos de finca (estate wines), whose names are linked to those of the vineyards where the grapes grow and wines are made.

With Finca Valpiedra in Rioja, Familia Martínez Bujanda, a member of the Spanish Association of Single-Vineyard Wineries (Asociación Grandes Pagos de España), embraces the concepts associated with true terroir in virtually all its wines. Finca Valpiedra and Cantos de Valpiedra (Rioja DO), Finca Montepedroso (Rueda DO), as well as the Crianza-labelled wine and Ciclos de Finca Antigua (La Mancha DO) are not only vinos de villa, (village wines), vinos de municipio or vinos de pueblo (town wines), but also vinos de finca (estate wines), because all the grapes used to make these wines come from the natural setting where they are grown.

Familia Martínez Bujanda uses only true terroirs with a character of their own, different from adjoining plots. The vines in Familia Martínez Bujanda’s plots have controlled yields that are significantly lower than average for the vines with the same designation of origin. Moreover, our commitment to a self-developed method of sustainable viticulture furnishes our wines with a unique character. Our ultimate aim is that our wines carry the spirit of the landscape that surrounds our vineyards, including the risks of being subject to Mother Nature’s whims. This is the reason why the Familia Martínez Bujanda wines change year after year, as the climate does. When the weather is not suitable for making the best wine, as was the case in 2013, no wines are bottled at Finca Valpiedra for that year. This means that there is no plan B to make only the best vinos de finca.

Varietals from Finca Antigua go beyond that. Each wine comes from a specific plot, so they are genuine vinos de parcela, or single-vineyard wines.

This peculiar viticulture concept is best represented by our great Clavis wine from Finca Antigua. Clavis is made with grapes only from Pico Garbanzo, a 4ha plot of silt and clay soil where a range of grape varieties (Garnacha, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Mazuelo…) coexist in a non-systematic arrangement enduring extreme weather conditions, with temperatures rising to 35 degrees Celsius in the summer and dropping to 15 degrees below zero in winter. Clavis will ‘pass away’ when the vines become exhausted, subject as they are to extreme weather conditions, for no new plants will be grown in this distinct plot of land.

With a balsamic character and intense aromas, and changing continuously in the glass, Clavis is a wine that is best sipped slowly. The vintage currently on the market (2006) is an absolutely round wine that will retain its high quality after being stored for years.

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