Episode 1. Canary Wines
Episode 2. Somontano, Vineyards at the Foot of the Pyrenees
Episode 3. Jumilla, Monastrell, the Survivor
Episode 4. Jumilla, the Cycle of Time
Episode 5. Cariñena, Cariñena and Cariñena
Episode 6. Santa Margarlida, Mallorca, the Value of Being Indigenous
Episode 7. Yecla, a Town and Wine Region
Episode 8. Fondillón and Suparao
Premiere in September 19. Canal Viajar.
Marmajuelo, Gual, Vijariego, Baboso Negro, Verdello, Black Listán, Negramoll, are some of indigenous varieties that were responsible for some of the most prized wines in the world. However, wine styles do not remain constant and, above all, transformed the moment when ships are no longer the only way to travel to the Canary Islands.
We see how these varieties have remained unchanged over time and are undoubtedly already in the process of returning to their past glory, adapting to a modern style while maintaining the essence of their ancestral cultivation.
Do the Pyrenees separate or unite Spain with France? In the local Aragonese language, Spanish is fused with French. Therefore, it is not surprising to find vines from the south of France with local varieties. We meet our old buddy, Grenache, and make a new friend, Moristel. It is difficult to explain the abundance of Gewürztraminer, but that is best left to another episode. Today it is impossible to know all the wines of the world, as numbers have multiplied exponentially in recent years, which is good but also confusing. So, when looking at a wine list in a restaurant, if there are wines from Somontano, you have been saved because they never disappoint. There are no sour grapes among the people of this land.
There is evidence of the presence of grapes in Jumilla dating back 5,000 years. The Contestani, Iberians who settled here, used Greek tableware to serve and drink wine, which was probably locally produced. However, the market changed around a little more than a century ago. But we are more interested in talking about its great future that lies ahead. Fortunately, the new generations, while they want to incorporate fresh ideas into the wines, also admire some authentic traditional treasures.
Over a full year we witness the annual cycle of an old Monastrell vineyard as it struggles with poor soil and under a strong sun. We see titans that in just one winery crush more kilos than some wine regions, and other personalities who fight to change the bulk wine perception of Jumilla. And in the comings and goings to see the Monastrell cycle, local residents tell us in a bar how hard it was to make wine at the beginning of the 20th century. We learn how wines reflect the characteristics and circumstances of each year, and therefore why they are not the same nor stop evolving.
In this episode we visit the largest cooperative of Cariñena, which is the result of a merger of a group of cooperatives. We will see how they are able to make wine, in both large volumes and from small plots. Had it not been for their wide backs they would have surely been lost forever.
How extraordinary it is to enjoy tasting wines made from the Cariñena grape variety in the Cariñena wine region in the town of Cariñena. The French name Carignan comes from here and the grape variety also traveled from here to the New World. We fight so that no-one will forget it.
The result of new wines made after the discovery of a true Pandora’s box of indigenous grape varieties has made the hard work of obtaining its recognition more bearable. We make a parallel comparison with Majorcan “sobrasada” sausage, attending the final tasting of a competition to determine the year’s best, along with its makers, and with some wines, naturally.
Environmental values are here to stay and we travel on bicycle along a “Sendero Azul,” or Blue Trail, that runs from Can Picafort to Santa Margalida, to see the celebration of La Beata, the most deeply rooted and traditional festival on the island. You’ll see!
We do not know what the inhabitants of Monte Arabí drank, but we do know for the Romans, who left a deep impression here. The writings of Azorín in the old town of this municipality helps us to understand the differences between today and of his era. Wine is still bought in bulk in authentic processions, but its vineyards survive thanks to exports. We enjoy traditional harvest dishes, as well as gourmet delicacies, making touring its wineries a wonderful experience, thanks to both collective efforts and family work. We learn the differences in the wines from the highland and from lowland, in vineyards in which the resistant Monastrell lives with its companion, Garnacha Tintorera, which are still cultivated but using modern trellises.
Thanks to the efforts of several families we can appreciate today authentic oenological treasures, that might disappear soon. Fondillón is made under exceptional circumstances when grapes are left to dry on the vine. The dryness of the interior of Alicante guarantees that there are no problems of rotting, but its production cannot be guaranteed every year. The wine is marked by the complex history of the lives of Portuguese sailors, Louis XIV, Dumas and Azorin. A perfumed wine to be tasted and a silent witness of the passage of centuries.
In a humble area of Rioja of small vineyards, a style of wine that almost fell into oblivion is reborn. Only the loosest grape clusters are harvested fully matured, and are hung inside the cellars in well-ventilated buildings, waiting for months for them to turn into raisins, before they are trodden. It was necessary to document their historical existence to obtain institutional recognition. All thanks to only one family.