This is a wine crafted entirely from indigenous varieties, in the warmest and driest appellation of Galicia. With minimal intervention, Jose Luis Mateo showcases this unique terroir, highlighting the freshness and minerality of Monterrei.
The vineyards are located in Zone 1, toward the interior of Galicia, by the Portuguese border. The soil is clay and river rock, owing to proximity to the Tamega River. Monterrei is the DO within Galicia that is furthest from the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is Atlantic (cold and wet) with a Continental influence (hot and dry summers with cold winters)
Alcohol Grade: 12%
Aging/ Vinification: 30 day maceration. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Spontaneous wild yeast fermentation.
Best to have it: 14-18ºC
Size: 750 ml
Ratings: 2016 91+WA; 2015 92 W&S “Year’s Best Galician Wines”
The Winery: Quinta da Muradella
Vigneron, historian, and preservationist José Luis Mateo began to plant vineyards by hand with his father near his hometown in the Ourense province of interior Galicia thirty years ago, a decade before Monterrei attained Denominación de Orígen status. Although he humbly refers to his early winemaking efforts as merely a way of producing “a decent white and a decent red” to serve at the family bar, José Luis is known today among his Spanish and international peers as the expert in Monterrei, where winemaking history dates back to the pre-Roman Celtic era. A true asset to DO Monterrei, he is also a passionate advocate for its potential to rank among the world’s greatest winemaking regions, of which he has explored and studied as a personal invitee of Eric Texier’s lauded Haut Les Vins winemaking group, and as an individual, spending time in Burgundy and Barolo.
The elegant wines of Quinta da Muradella hail from over 26 different organically farmed vineyard sites ranging from 360 meters to over 900 meters above sea level. A transitional climate zone, Monterrei draws influence from the frigid Atlantic Ocean, yet is drier and considerably hotter than coastal Galician DOs like Rias Baixas, and much more geologically diverse because two tectonic plates collide at its center. Though he feels his work is never truly done, José Luis Mateo has successfully identified at least 18 different soil combinations (based in either granite or slate) in his vineyards, with a potpourri of quartz, mica, wolfram, and iron mixed in. He also labored for years to master the elaboration of nearly two dozen native varieties before beginning to incorporate them into his field blends; these include broadly-used grapes native to Monterrei’s valley floor (Mencía, Treixadura, Doña Blanca, Bastardo) and lesser-known varieties (some of which he alone grows), such as the white Monstruosa de Monterrei and the red Sousón, which hail from the mountains, an area currently without recognition by the Denominación de Orígen. These can be found in the 100% varietal bottlings, yet even when blended, speak proudly for themselves in Mateo’s wines, which are fermented using only indigenous yeasts, made with zero adjustments, and bottled without fining or filtering using a minimal amount of SO2.