Tribute to an Underdiscovered Variety
The ‘Proyecto Garnachas’ is a journey through the history of Garnacha through the eyes of Raul Acha, our winemaker and passionate advocate of a variety that has historically been maligned for its complicated viticulture.
This adventure begins in the centenary Garnacha vineyards owned by the family of Raúl Acha, Vintae oenologist, in Cárdenas (La Rioja). His father has always wanted to uproot the vines, but Raúl defends their value. To substantiate his opinion, he sets out on a journey through the Ebro Valley…
On his way, he finds some of the vineyards that best reflect the essence of the Garnacha variety. The result is a collection of fruity, fresh and mineral red wines, capable of expressing the versatility and singularities of each elaboration area.
Garnacha is one of the varieties whose wines have increased in popularity in recent years. This has not always been the case…
The first reference data on Garnacha was in 1513 when Alonso de Herrara spoke of a variety called “Aragones” which, according to several experts, corresponds to Garnacha. That is why practically everyone recognizes its Spanish origin
Garnacha first took off in the middle of the 19th century with the arrival of oidium, a disease that Garnacha showed greater resistance to than other varieties, and for that reason, it was planted more extensively.
During the 20th century, Chateauneuf du Pape and Rioja were the areas where Garnacha of greatest importance was cultivated, producing wines of recognized prestige.
At the end of the 20th century, there was a downturn that led to Garnacha being associated with wines of lesser quality. The main reasons were the susceptibility to millerandage (or shattering) and the scant resilience of this variety (when it produces many kilos it loses its qualities).
From Rioja to Catalonia, passing through Navarra and Aragón, there are still small old vineyards waiting to be rediscovered.
The Lost Vineyards
Just 40 kilometres in a straight line from the Pyrenees, in this area influenced by the Atlantic climate, it is not very common to find vineyards since they disappeared decades ago due to phylloxera. Currently, there is only one, planted in 1999, and located in a unique enclave where the terrain, climate and altitude go hand in hand to provide the maximum potential of the Garnacha
Historically, Garnacha has played a prominent role in La Rioja. It was the main variety for years until it began to be replaced by the Tempranillo. Although here too many vineyards have been uprooted and can no longer recover, there are still old vineyards that are authentic jewels and provide some of the best Garnachas in the world
Ribera del Queiles
Located under the influence of the Moncayo Massif, in this area, it is very common to find wild vineyards that have been abandoned by their owners. Due to the extreme climate, the very hot summers and very low temperatures in winter, together with the high altitude, the villages in this area of the river Queiles can produce really special Garnachas.
Valle del Ribota
This region’s rugged, arid landscape, coupled with a continental climate characterized by very low temperatures in winter and very high temperatures in the summer, is where Garnacha produces best. But for decades, for various reasons, a large number of Garnacha vineyards were uprooted; of the 50,000 hectares in existence in the 1950s, there is barely 4,000 present.
This was one of the first areas that, betting on quality, rediscovered the great potential of the Garnacha grapes grown with low yields in old vineyards. The slate soils, the terraced vineyards, steep slopes and a mild Mediterranean climate, make this area distinctive and its Garnachas have a very interesting mineral character.
The Wines of Proyecto Garnachas
The collection of wines from ‘Proyecto Garnacha’ is a tribute to a variety that has historically been forgotten due to its complicated viticulture and its difficult production. Let us introduce them to you…
Check out Proyecto Garnachas full range of Wines on TWDC!