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Quinta da Muradella

Delicious and Terroir-Expressive Spain from a Galician Artisan

The wines of José-Luis Mateo are quite possibly the most refined European wines that most people have never heard of. Mateo is a vigneron widely revered by Spanish producers (especially in Galicia) as the most significant grower of their country. And yet, Mateo is one of the humblest people you’re ever likely to meet. He speaks no English, and with a base in Galicia’s least-known DO, he’s remained hidden from most of the English-speaking world.

Mateo makes a wide range of terroir-specific wines, each in tiny batches, ranging from a few-hundred cases to the contents of a single barrel. He works with no less than 26 varieties (all planted by massale selection), and trials these different grapes across various locations and diversity of soil types. José explains, “This is a work of many generations. I’m not in a hurry; I’d rather do little but be good at it”

Having set up shop in 1991, Mateo works with 15 hectares of vines spread across Monterrei’s three growing districts of Pazo de Monterrei, Oimbra and Tamaguelos. The DO Monterrei may be young (established 1992), but its legacy of wine growing goes back some 300 years. Muradella’s vineyards are generally tiny, isolated ‘hermitic’ plots (both in the hills and on the flatter lands) formerly farmed by the local paysans, and some simply abandoned. Scrupulously resuscitated vine-by-vine, all the Muradella vineyards are managed biodynamically (certified organic) and are populated with a cornucopia of indigenous vines—a list far too long to mention here. Soils vary considerably with differing degrees of slate, granite, iron and quartz, as do the altitude and aspect, offering the artistic Mateo a rich palette with which to express his place.

Mateo follows traditional techniques without eschewing technological advances where they aid quality. All the grapes are whole-berry pressed and raised in used Burgundian pièces (228-litre), although he is experimenting with larger-format oak for some cuvées. All ferments are wild, and the wines are neither fined nor filtered. There is tremendous poise, purity, and character to be found in these unique, lovingly made wines. It is no exaggeration to say that Mateo’s vineyard-driven, artisanal model of wine growing has been highly influential in Spain. He has worked this way for some 25 years in the remote terroirs of Monterrei, and the trail he has blazed is now followed by many of Spain’s exciting new breed of terroiristas. Just as the cream of young French winegrowers studied and tried to emulate the work of Selosse, Foucault, and Dagueneau, a good number of their Spanish counterparts look to this secluded corner of Galicia for their inspiration.

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Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Gorvia Blanco 2013

Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Gorvia Blanco 2013

Plying his trade in the remote and vinously obscure Monterrei DO hasn't stopped Jose-Luis Mateo emerging as one of northwest Spain's more revered growers. Mateo crafts a plethora of wines from a dizzying collection of old, dry-grown parcels. His Gorvia bottlings are unique and offer the kind of depth and minerality that gives the best of France a run for its money. Mateo releases both a red and a white from this vineyard, a 1.2-hectare site in 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 massale cuttings from the ancient A Trabe mountain vineyard. Farmed using biodynamic principles, the site sits on a slope of slate/schist soils (with a lot of iron in the mix) at an altitude of 400 metres above sea level. It’s a singular vineyard which begets one of Spain’s most distinctive whites. While the Tinto is a blend of several varieties, the Gorvia Blanco is produced entirely from Doña Blanca. Fermented in mature 1500-litre oak foudres (one-third on skins) then aged in barrel with partial malolactic fermentation for 11 months before bottling, the wine later spends two winters in stainless steel.

At first deep and fleshy, then mineral and chalky, with complex aromas and flavours of mixed citrus, feijoa, chamomile and almond meal. A vibrant and complex finish completes the picture for this wonderful, unique white.

“Limpid, yellow-gold. A highly complex, mineral-laced bouquet evokes fresh citrus and orchard fruits, chalky minerals, sweet butter and white flowers. A hint of anise emerges with air. Shows noteworthy depth and sharp delineation in the mouth, offering vibrant orange zest, pear nectar, buttered toast and succulent herb flavors that tighten up slowly on the back half. Powerful, yet graceful in character, displaying superb focus and mineral thrust on an impressively long finish that features lingering floral and orchard fruit flourishes.”
94 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous
“The white 2013 Gorvia was bottled in December 2016 and is the current vintage in the market. This bottling is sourced from the first vineyard José Luis Mateo planted 27 years ago on very white, degraded slate soils. This is one of his warmest vineyards, and he needs to be careful and harvest early. It fermented with indigenous yeasts in a 1,500-liter oak foudre, where it was kept for 11 months, and then transferred to stainless steel, where it had a further élevage of two years. He does a long aging, trying to get more complexity and trying to get the soil character and have something less fruity. There is little fruit here, and as all whites, is very mineral, balanced and harmonious, with minerality and a salty finish. 2,000 bottles produced.”
93 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
Quinta da Muradella Monterrei Gorvia Blanco 2013
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
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 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
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
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
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“Many producers consider José Luis Mateo to be the finest grape grower in Galicia. He’s relentless in his search for excellence and is often unhappy with the results even when you think the wines are amazing. In fact, his wines are amazing… and they transcend the appellation and find themselves among the finest wines from Galicia and from Spain.” Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

Country

Spain

Primary Region

Monterrei, Galicia

People

Winemaker: José-Luis Mateo

Availability

National

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