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Quinta da Muradella

The Enlightened Path: Thrilling new Releases from a Grower “considered by many to be the best vigneron in Galicia.”
Quinta da Muradella
“I never imagined that my wines would be available in Australia; when I started, my dream was to make good wines and sell them across Galicia, but this is way more than I expected”, says José Luis Mateo without a glimmer of false humility. “And the best thing is that I do just what I like.” An appointment with Mateo is one of the most anticipated of our buying trips to Europe. The reasons are simple: not only is Mateo the most knowledgeable and humblest of growers, but in case you haven’t noticed, the artisanal wines he crafts are some of the shining stars in our portfolio—a fact made all the more remarkable by the fact they come from a tiny appellation that most have never heard of. And yet, this is someone widely regarded by Spanish producers, especially in Galicia, as the most influential grower of his generation. A grower’s grower, if you like. His followers call him the Professor for a reason.

Tasted in Spain last year, Mateo’s current crop of wines is surely the most exciting we have shipped. The eye-opening whites are saline, deeply cast yet racy, with rock-hewn textures enhanced by a wisp of tannin from partial skin contact. While sometimes referred to as sommelier wines, they encompass the best of both worlds: they are delicious and original, reflecting Mateo’s enlightened approach in simply trying to make the best possible wine from his impeccably tended vineyards. The spine-tingling Alanda and the complex Gorvia single-vineyard wines are pure knockouts this year, while the entry-level Candea is, to quote Luis Gutiérrez, a bargain.

Mateo’s red wines take equal billing. Given his appellation’s capricious continental climate, these are wonderfully elegant, balanced and nuanced wines that radiate both the quality of Monterrei’s rocky terroirs and the infectious personality of its foremost grower. To give you some idea of what’s on offer, some years ago, Rob showed Mateo’s 2016 Alanda Tinto masked to some highly proficient tasters. They went immediately to Burgundy. Next option: Where? “Good Volnay 1er Cru” was the response. So, while the place may remain a mystery to many—how many were singing the praises of Etna and Jura a decade ago—the same cannot be said about the style and quality of Mateo’s wines. Wine lovers should not hesitate.

The Wines

Candea Blanco 2020

Candea Blanco 2020

Candea is the entry-level label from Quinta da Muradella, sourced from the Monterrei vineyards of José Luis Mateo’s close friend (and now collaborator) Juan José Vilela. The Vilela family was once one of the region’s largest vineyard owners and played a significant part in Mateo’s emergence as one of Spain’s most exciting wine growers. The white is an equal blend of Doña Blanca, Treixadura and Verdelho, sourced from mature, high-altitude vines in the Tamagos district, close to the Portuguese border. Fermented with natural yeasts and raised exclusively in tank on lees, this bright, savoury south Galician white is brimming with mouth-watering length, pulpy flesh and some pleasant grip on a tonic and racy finish. What value! It's a must-try.

“Even the entry-level white 2020 Candea Blanco, a regional blend of equal parts of Dona Blanca, Verdelho and Treixadura fermented and kept with lees in stainless steel for one year, shows character, cleanliness, precision and freshness beyond the price point, and it transcends appellation and vintage and is offered with some time in bottle. It has only 12.5% alcohol and an expressive nose of herbs and flowers, and it is balanced, harmonious and elegant and finishes dry and long with a tasty and salty twist. A bargain.”
92 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
Candea Blanco 2020
Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Alanda Blanco 2021

Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Alanda Blanco 2021

Sourced from a range of small plots, or majuelos, scattered across Monterrei’s three subzones, this is Muradella’s core white wine. Alanda means “get going!” and the blend includes Treixadura, Doña Blanca and Verdelho. These varieties are fermented together, added progressively to the vat, and matured in a combination of 1,500-litre used French oak foudre and stainless steel. The source vineyards are managed biodynamically and give low yields, with rocky soils that are mainly decomposed slate with granite and clay. This is simply a magnificent white from Muradella, at once succulent, deep and racy with serious mineral resonance. “Like drinking liquid stone,” our note concluded.

“The 2021 Alanda Blanco is a village wine from Monterrei, a blend of Dona Blanca, Treixadura and Verdello that reflects the diversity of soils, altitudes and expositions. The varieties fermented together, being added to the vat progressively, and 1,500-liters matured in a used French oak foudre for 15 months and the rest was kept in stainless steel. It's pale, young and austere, more about soil and rocks than fruit, with notions of wet granite and dry flowers. It has contained ripeness, 13% alcohol, very good acidity, freshness and balance, with a sense of purity and transparency that is common to all whites here. It has depth, energy and light and extra vibrancy this year. It could very well be the finest white Alanda to date.”
95 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Alanda Blanco 2021
Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Gorvia Blanco 2019

Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Gorvia Blanco 2019

Muradella’s Gorvia bottlings are unique and offer the kind of depth and minerality that gives the best of France a run for its money. José Luis Mateo releases a red and a white from this 1.2-hectare vineyard near Monterrei Castle in the northwestern Pazo de Monterrei subzone. He took over the site about 27 years ago and has since replanted some varieties with mass-selection cuttings from the ancient A Trabe mountain vineyard. Farmed using biodynamic principles, the site sits on a slope of slate/schist soils (with plenty of iron in the mix) at 400 metres above sea level. It’s a singular vineyard that begets one of Spain’s most distinctive wines.

While the red from this vineyard is a blend of varieties, the Gorvia Blanco is produced almost entirely from Doña Blanca, fermented (with one-third whole bunches) in a 1,500-litre foudre and a 500-litre barrel, both neutral, for one year, then blended and returned to stainless steel for another year before bottling. The final cut is a deep, savoury, mineral and chalky white of Burgundian complexity: layered and complex with scents of wild honey and mixed citrus and a pure, long finish that lasts for minutes.

“The smoky and leesy 2019 Gorvia Blanco is a single-vineyard white from a classified vineyard, the first one he planted 38 years ago with trellises and later transformed to goblet. It's one hectare on a slope by the Monterrei Castle on decomposed and complex slate soils, mostly Dona Blanca with 5% Treixadura and Verdello Antiguo. It feels young and undeveloped; it's still pale and primary, with notes of herbs and fennel, crushed stones and a balanced palate with precision, delineation and purity and with a very tasty finish. The variety is considered quite neutral but does reflect the character of the place quite faithfully ... at least when worked like this! Bravo!”
95 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Gorvia Blanco 2019
Candea Tinto 2020

Candea Tinto 2020

Per the Candea Blanco, the Tinto fruit is sourced from the Monterrei vineyards of José Luis Mateo’s great friend and now collaborator, Juan Jose Vilela. Mateo consults on the viticulture throughout the season and orchestrates the harvest with his picking team. This is a fleshy, juicy blend based on Mencía, with a coterie of other local grape varieties—including Garnacha Tintorera, Mouratón and Arauxa (Tempranillo)—all sourced from mature vines at 400-450m above sea level.

All the ferments are spontaneous and include roughly one-third whole bunches. Much of the maturation is carried out in stainless steel. Regarding a tasting note—what Luis Gutiérrez said! Think of this as Muradella’s home bistro cuvée, with all the deliciousness that this entails. It’s a tangy, herb-tinged red with succulent red fruit and flowers, all checked by a lick of rocky, powdery freshness.

“I love the simplicity of the red blend 2020 Candea Tinto, which is straightforward, tasty, juicy and balanced, without any excess or makeup, raw and authentic, with notes of wild berries, flowers and herbs and a medium-bodied palate with moderate alcohol and nice balance. Highly drinkable.”
92 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
Candea Tinto 2020
Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Alanda Tinto 2018

Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Alanda Tinto 2018

The red Alanda is a blend of Mencía, Bastardo (aka Merenzao or Trousseau), Garnacha Tintorera and a swig of the white Doña Blanca. The fruit is drawn from a mosaic of high-altitude organic vineyards spanning myriad soil types, including slate, granite and clay. The resulting wine is, therefore, a kind of vinous mural of the Monterrei landscape. One-third of the grapes were destemmed, and everything is co-fermented. The wine aged for 15 months in used oak barrels and six months in vat before bottling.

We have shown previous vintages blind to some very good tasters who went straight to 1er cru Burgundy, and the new release is cut from similar cloth. Velvety and caressing on the palate, it’s a juicy, perfumed wine delicately shaped by lacy tannins and buoyant freshness. Another superb, super-classy ‘Spanish Burgundy’ that only a master grower could produce!

“The characterful 2018 Alanda Tinto was produced with a blend of Mencía, Bastardo and Garnacha Tintorera from their vineyards with different soils (slate, sand and clay) in different parts within Monterrei. It fermented together with one-third full clusters in stainless steel and concrete and matured in barrique, stainless steel and concrete vats for 15 months; then it was blended and put back in stainless steel for one more year. It has very good freshness, purity of aroma and flavors and a medium-bodied palate, with moderate alcohol and very fine tannins.”
93 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Alanda Tinto 2018
Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Gorvia Tinto 2016

Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Gorvia Tinto 2016

Reship. From the same singular vineyard (pictured below) as the Gorvia Blanco, this is a field blend of around 95% Mencía, with the balance Bastardo and Caíño Redondo. It fermented with 60% whole bunches in a wooden vat before an extended post-ferment maceration, after which it was racked into a variety of old casks. Delivering a beguiling balance of power, lightness and restraint, this 2016 is the most exciting release we have shipped. Floral-accented field strawberries and sweet cherry scent the palate as it floats with northern finesse to a prolonged, mineral finish. There’s generous texture, nicely hemmed by silky tannins and lively acidity, which keeps you tethered to the glass as this special wine slowly unfurls. 2016 was a challenging vintage, yet here is a wine that makes it look easy. If you are curious why José Luis Mateo is held up as one of northwest Spain’s most revered growers, look no further.

The dark fruited, structured palate and the fine, powdery tannins evokes quality Côte de Beaune, yet the roll call of flavours points to something more off-piste with beguiling scents and flavours of tobacco, leather, tea leaves, spices and sour cherry keeping you tethered to the glass as the texture slowly unfurls. Expect both generous texture and fine vibrant freshness.

"The red 2016 Gorvia is mostly Mencía with some 5% Bastardo (Merenzao or Trousseau) and Caíño Redondo (he's been using Caíño Redondo, the spicier Caíño, since 2005). With more rain, 2016 delivered round reds that seem expressive, floral and aromatic, more in line with 2013 than 2015. It's medium-bodied, has very fine tannins and a long and tasty finish."
94 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Gorvia Tinto 2016

“Quinta da Muradella is the project of José Luis Mateo, considered by many to be the best vigneron in Galicia. His wines are like him, discrete, sincere and authentic. They transcend the Monterrei region, where he's well ahead of the rest—vintage, grape and everything—and the wines are usually marked by the soils, the place where the grapes grow.” Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate



“Although it is fascinating to taste wines from these relatively obscure varieties, what shines here is ‘the soul of Monterrei’ and the deft, light-handed winemaking of a skilful and intuitive winemaker.”
Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com



“[Mateo] is obsessed with transmitting a sense of place in his wines and vinifies all his parcels separately. I reckon I can get lost in the array of cuvées he finally takes to the market.”
Ferran Centelles, JancisRobinson.com

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