We met up with Jesús Álvarez, export manager & winemaker for Agro de Bazán to chat about everything that he does to create wines of elegance and superior quality.
Agro de Bazán is made up of two wineries. Granbazán is situated up in the North West corner of Spain, producing fine Albarino wines due to the proximity to the sea and Mediterranean climate. The second is Mas de Bazán in Valencia, producing some great Spanish reds, both blends and single varietal. Both vineyards are over 100 years old and the wineries strive to keep the traditional techniques put in place in history.
Due to the unique microclimate and positioning of the winery, there exists a perfect environment for Albarino to be produced in the Granbazán winery. The high acidity in the soil, high rainfall, and the Mediterranean temperatures are an ideal, and the vines are trained off the floor to protect them from the high rainfall. The vines are hand pruned and harvested, adding to the great quality of the resulting wine due to the precision in selection.
Following this is the careful vinification of the wines, where first the juices are extracted from the grapes with as much delicacy as physically possible. After the initial de-stemming, the grapes are transferred into large tanks and undergo cold maceration. This extracts more flavour and aroma than pressing would. From this comes the free run must, the juice that is removed through the sheer pull of gravity and nothing else and which is used for the highest quality Albarino’s like our Granbazán Ambar. After 2 weeks fermentation, the wine is rested on the lees, again contributing to the elegant taste of the resulting wine, before being filtered and bottled for all to enjoy!
Even in their other wines, they extract as much juice as possible before using a press to top up the volumes without affecting the depth of flavours. Never wanting to waste any part of the grape, Agro de Bazán will then use the skins to create a grape marc – to be distilled into spirits.
Their Granbazán Ambar is the perfect balance between alcohol and acidity, with an oiliness due to the fresh free run must being used and a salty character created from the location of the vineyard to the ocean.
The location up in Galicia is perfect for the Albarino variety but not for the production of big reds that can compete with the staple Tempranillo’s of the country. Jesus looked across Spain, They looked across Spain, including sites in the well known wine producing region of Rioja, but decided that these had become far too mainstream and polluted. He wanted a challenge in creating the red wines and so looked for a less commercial but historically important area to make the wines. The vineyard is located in Valencia.
One wine in particular stands out from the many reds made at Mas de Bazán; their Bobal, a single varietal full-bodied red. For those unfamiliar with Bobal, this is one of Spains best kept secrets that sadly is generally blended these days to add intense colour, structure and spice to weaker blends. However, at Mas de Bazan they achieve an outstanding, complex Bobal that has a rich complex body, great length and real interest!
Very much like their whites, the reds of Mas de Bazán are also produced using natural means and with the application of as little man made equipment as possible. One unique factor of the vinification is the careful fermentation that is carried out in concrete tanks, true to its historic roots. To protect the wines from contamination, on the inside of the tanks there is a layer of hand painted tiles covered in protective resin. The very design of this can be seen on the bottle of the wine.
Their Bobal Crianza is a fruity and full bodied red, with the more complex notes of chocolate and sweet spice found underneath. A great find for those that are looking for a smooth red that can match the taste demands of game or other rich meat based meals.