Noelia de Paz spent the beginning of the century carousing amongst the family vineyards that her brothers planted in 1999, though her hometown region, DO Tierra de León, didn’t achieve DO status until 2007. It was there, during this time working in her family’s winery Bodegas Tampesta, that Noelia’s love and dedication for León’s native grape varieties, Albarín and Prieto Picudo, really flourished. She has since fallen hard and isn’t looking back on her quest to become the Queen of Albarín.
Realizing the scarcity of many profound or dynamic expressions of these unique varietals in the market, the very ambitious Noelia de Paz is finally realizing her independent LaOsa mission to work closely with the local farmers to produce small production wines from her native DO Tierra de León. Today, Noelia, who refers to herself as LaOsa (the bear) carefully elaborates some of Spain’s mostly harshly ignored varietals, Prieto Picudo (Tinto) and Albarín (Blanco), in the Municipal of Valdemimbre in the southwest of León, within the Province of Castilla y León.
Noelia has also spent many years collaborating with friends and mentors throughout her travels to produce various vinous gems from the vineyards of neighbors in DO’s in Bierzo and Rías Baixas.
Noelia preserves the authenticity of the land by respecting the work and the experience of the landowners from the generations proceeding her by sourcing fruit from farmers who use traditional vineyard practices and avoid mechanical intervention as much as possible. She then applies her prowess in the winery to reach full grape expression while maintaining the acidity, oak and alcohol in balance, something not often achieved in León. Her dynamic presence is felt with every sip.
The grapes are grown in clay soil with river stones at 750m altitude. Leon has a continential climate with long, cold winters and hot summer days and cold nights.
25 year-old vines, dry farmed vineyards, non-certified organic. Tierra de Leon is one of the windiest growing regions in Spain, and that affects the grapes through the development of thick skins and tannin. Alluvial clay soils allow for good water retention, although the region sees very little rain < 20 inch/year. Poor nutrient profile in the soil means little green harvesting is needed to naturally achieve 2-3 tons per acre. This is a region to watch.
Hand harvest at the end of September, destemmed before being pressed off for temperature controlled native fermentation in stainless steel. Post fermentation, the wine rests on the fine lees for 5 months in old French barrels of 500L. The Albarín is then filtered and bottled.
Extremely aromatic with feminine floral and citrus notes. The wine is weighty in the mouth with excellent structure and body with a fresh, citrus acidity.
ABV = 13.5%.
** NB: NEW BOTTLE DESIGN/SHAPE **
The 2017 vintage was awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of Rueda (see blue link below).
The guiding philosophy of Protos is "Quality above all". For this reason, the whole process leading to the production of their wine undergoes an in-depth analysis. The vineyards are controlled exhaustively by both technicians and experts throughout the growth cycle, yielding a production of the highest quality. This also gives them in-depth information about all the grapes to be used before they reach the winery.
Harvesting for this wine is done at night, is 100% manual and the production was gathered in 20-kilo boxes; the grapes are then spread over sorting tables. This allows them to guarantee that only completely healthy, whole grapes reach the fermentation tanks. After fermentation this wine spends a further 3 months resting on its fine lees (indeed, the 2017 and 2018 vintages have been labelled, as per the photo, as a sobre lias).
This wine has a greenish straw colour and is bright and clean. The Protos Verdejo is powerful yet fruity with green apple, citrus and tropical fruit aromas as well as white blossoms, fragant herbs and fennel hints. The flavours are very fresh, with good acidity, fruity, well balanced flavours. It is a complex wine, with a long finish.
ABV = 13.0%.
The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their May 2019 "Weekday Wines" (see blue link below).
Alma Atlántica means 'Atlantic Soul' in English and is inspired by wines made in proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The aim of Alma Atlántica is to create fresh and lively whites with lots of personality and boldness of flavour. The Mara Martin Godello comes from DO Monterrei (meaning king's mountain) and is further inland in comparison to DO Rías Baixas. It is warmer here, but still sees some Atlantic influence, with the average rainfall at 683mm per year.
The vines are grown on the sides of the valleys around the river Tamega, at 400-450 metres above sea level. The climate here is Mediterranean, influenced by the Altantic ocean. Soils are a mixture of granite, slate, clay and sand.
The 2018 vintage in Monterrei saw the one of the largest crops in the region's history. The growing conditions throughout the season were excellent, and the Godello grapes were harvested with balanced acidity and optimal ripeness.
The grapes were hand picked into 20 kilogram crates, destemmed, crushed and pressed. The must was settled for 24-36 hours. Alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 16-18ºC for 15 days. The wine was aged for two months on its lees before bottling, to give it a full and complex mouthfeel.
Clean and vivid straw-yellow in colour, this wine has typical aromas of hay, apple and pear with intense notes of wild flowers and subtle nuances of lime citrus, which continue through to the palate. The wine has good definition, depth and structure that are derived from lees contact. The finish is long and lingering.
ABV = 12.5%.
Martín Códax was founded in 1986 by a group of winemakers led by 9th generation winemaker Luciano Amodeo. Today it comprises around 2,400 tiny vineyard parcels managed by 550 families in Rías Baixas. It has become the largest producer in Galicia with 450 hectares of vineyard planted with Albariño, representing 13% of the total Rías Baixas DO. The co-operative was instrumental in the creation of the Rías Baixas DO in 1988 (the statutes were signed at the winery) and has championed and conducted extensive research into the Albariño variety. Named after the medieval Galician poet and musician Martín Códax, the winery has strong links to local art and music.
The vineyards are primarily in the Salnés Valley, an average of five kilometres from the sea, ensuring the warm days are moderated by cool nights. The warm temperatures give ripeness and full citrus and apricot fruit, while the colder temperatures at night ensure fresh, pure Albariño aromatics. The soils are granitic and the vines are trained on a traditional horizontal trellis system known as 'Emparrado' which is similar to pergola.
The 2018 vintage in Rías Baixas was very good. The rain in May was balanced by the dry weather conditions, high temperatures and sunshine in August and September which allowed the veraison phase to develop properly. The grapes were harvested in great conditions in September.
The wine was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel vats at 16-18ºC and underwent partial malolactic fermentation. It was then rested for four months on its fine lees which gave a smooth, almost creamy texture to the wine.
This wine is pale lemon in colour. The nose is full of ripe fruity notes married with floral aromas: apricot, citrus, tropical fruit, jasmine and orange blossom. The palate is refreshing and zesty with great flavour intensity which persists on the long finish.
ABV = 13.0%.