Bodegas Olivares, Altos de la Hoya, Ungrafted, Murcia, Spain, 2019 through Merchant of Wine.

Bodegas Olivares, Altos de la Hoya, Ungrafted, Murcia, Spain, 2019

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About The Producer
Jumilla was one of the few places in Europe spared during the Phylloxera epidemic of the late 1800's. Virtually everywhere else on the continent, vineyards were devastated and, to this day, can only be planted when grafted onto American rootstock.

For Jumilla, the key to its vineyards' survival was their sandy soil—which is anathema to the Phylloxera insect. As a glorious consequence, Jumilla not only has some of the oldest vines in the world, but also the largest number of ungrafted vines. Most of these vines are Mourvèdre, or Monastrell as it is locally known, one of the most prized varieties of Mediterranean Europe. And Jumilla's summers boast hot days and cool nights, perfect for ripening grapes, while maintaining acidity.

Today, Jumilla is awakening to its vast potential, and a winemaking revolution has followed — led by growers like Olivares' Paco Selva. He owns 65+ hectares of ungrafted old vineyards in the northern part of the appellation, called La Hoya de Santa Ana. It is the coolest sub-zone of Jumilla, with sandy, lime-rich soils that yield intensely aromatic wines, while protecting the ungrafted vines from Phylloxera.

Overview of the Wine
Monastrell is our region’s classic variety and with Altos de la Hoya we aim to capture its essence. Each harvest, we select from our top lots, utilizing only wild yeasts for fermentation.

These same sandy soils that give Bodegas Olivares’ wines their perfumed aromatics were also anathema to the Phylloxera root louse that devastated all but a handful of Europe’s vineyards in the late 1880s.

And so, Paco’s holdings form an important part of an elite group of vineyards that survived on their original rootstocks, including Quinta do Noval’s Nacional vineyard and Bollinger’s Vignes Françaises.

Almost as important as the ungrafted vines is the fastidious care they have enjoyed. Generations of consistent pruning mean the vines are far less twisted, and usually much healthier, than similar plots elsewhere in Spain. With steady wind and a dry climate, there is little disease pressure; thus there was never any need to adopt chemical fertilizers or pesticides. In fact, Paco estimates that the vineyards have been farmed organically since the 1930s!

Harvested during beginning of October. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Aged during 6 months in French oak, a combination of barrels and 60hl oak tanks. Only a small percentage may be new.

Pairs well with an exceptional combination of red meats and stews.

    Grape/ Blend
    90% Monastrell, 10% Grenache

    Jumilla, Murcia, Spain

    Winemaker's Tasting Notes
    Deep ruby. Ripe, powerful scents of red and dark fruits, minerals and spices. Finishes fresh and long, with a repeating dark fruit note.

    90 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (2018)
    The red 2018 Altos de la Hoya was produced with Monastrell grapes from old ungrafted vines. It has a creamy and balsamic touch with sweet spices intermixed with ripe berry fruit and notes of pencil lead and licorice, with the fruit being black rather than red. The palate is juicy and round, with very fine tannins and some creamy oak in the finish. Pleasant and easy to drink and understand. 200,000 bottles produced.

    Product size: 750ml

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