A Spanish farmer´s tradition

On the olden times, it was a tradition in the Spanish farms to leave the wine bottles on the farm´s well so the liquid would be nice and cold for the thirsty farmers who worked under the sun. But some bottles would be left behind and forgotten at the well during the whole winter. When spring came back, the well was cleaned up for the new farming season and the wine was recovered. It was said that the wine was of better quality than when it was submerged.

As times passed, new cooling systems were created. Wells went out of use, and this tradition was forgotten.

Submerged wines

Spanish winemakers Viña Alondra (the Castelló siblings) learnt about this practice from their elders and wondered if it was true what their grandparents said: that a wine that has been kept underwater for years has better quality than before the immersion. So they decided to take some of their wines and submerge them at the reservoir of Las Cogotas in Avila. The reservoir is 1040 high, and the waters were left 20 meters deep.

Taking the bottles there would not be an easy task. Each bottle would be manually was sealed, and cages specially shaped to keep the bottles safe had to be artisanally crafted. To take the wine bottles down, the winemakers hired a team of professional divers that would work in low visibility and low-temperature conditions two times. First to place the cages, and then to get them recovered.

All the works were worth. The temperature was excellent and constant, as well as the pressure and humidity. The darkness and silence were complete. And the wine slept for a year.

Accidental wines

When the wine was rescued, the winemaker family discovered that it was more balanced in taste and aroma. Their elders were right: a submerged wine becomes better in quality. The time spent at the bottom of the reservoir improved the ageing in the bottle, giving it particular notes that are very evident.

This is why the Castelló siblings decided to call those wines ‘accidental wines’, as the ageing process was accidentally discovered.

Viña Alondra wine is a great wine itself. It is made out of Verdejo grapes, overripened so it can reach high alcohol graduation without adding any drinking alcohol, and aged for 12 months in French oak barrels using the perpetual oxidative ageing process.

The perpetual oxidative ageing process is a traditional process that has been used in Spain from time immemorial, and become very popular during the Spanish golden age. It consists in extracting a 10% of the barrel volume two times per year to bottle it, and the rest is refreshed with wine from the last harvest that has been kept under the sun for 6 months in 16l glass demijohns. Viña Alondra´s barrels have been ageing wine since 1948.

The grapes come from organic farming (the farm got registered as organic this year, meaning their first certified organic wine will come out in two years) and have been hand-harvested on the family´s farm, who owns and controls the whole winemaking process.

Finally, all those efforts are rounded up by submerging the wine for a year. This makes this wine completely unique, as no other Spanish winemakers are doing so in freshwater (about 6 Spanish winemakers carry a similar process, submerging their wine on the sea). 

Pablo Vergara Pérez

Pablo Vergara Pérez

Pablo is one of the founders of Las Delicias. He is the manager, the bookkeeper, the web designer, the cleaner, the marketer, the new products researcher, the sales assistant… What he loves the most of his job is that he actually needs to taste hundreds of products in order to find the most delicious ones.

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