Manolo Garrote and Rosalía Molina planted their first vines in 1999. They set up the winery the following year and launched their first wine (just 5,000 bottles) in the 2004 vintage. They currently make six different wines totaling around 150,000 bottles. Their vineyards, among the highest in Spain (1,050m), are located in a plateau surrounded by mountains in the village of Landete in Cuenca (Central Spain). All of them carry the DO Manchuela label.
Altitude was the key factor in the choice of grape varieties, some of them rather unusual in Spain like Malbec and Cabernet Franc or white Petit Manseng. They also grow red Garnacha, Syrah, Touriga Nacional (red) as well as Chardonnay, Muscat a Petit Grains (white) and local red grape Bobal which shows less rusticity and finer tannins at this location. Thanks to the late ripening conditions provided by the high altitude, the wines are distinctively aromatic and fresh. Around 30% of the crop is transformed into wine; the rest is sold as certified organic grapes. Altolandón obtained the vegan wine certification in December 2015. Fermentation takes place with natural yeasts, filtration and clarification are not carried out and sulfites are added only prior to bottling. 80% of the wines are sold abroad.
There are two whites in the range. Doña Leo (€7) is a Muscat a Petit Grains which comes from 15-year old vines and was first released in 2014. There’s more structure here than you’d expect from a dry version of this grape. Altolandon (€9) is an unctuous blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Petit Manseng fermented and aged in 500l casks with noticeable citrus aromas.
The reds start with the entry-level Irrepetible (€7) which was first produced in the 2013 vintage. A blend of Syrah and Malbec, Irrepetible is aged for seven months in oak barrels and showcases the trademark aromatic intensity and freshness of this producer. It also explains why the red Rayuelo (9 €) is more fragrant and less tannic than most Bobal wines grown at lower altitude. Altolandon, their flagship wine, is a blend of Syrah, Garnacha and Cabernet Franc aged for 20 months in barrel, but oak is not dominant at all and tannins are fine. There are also two single-varietal reds made from Malbec (L’Ame, €13) and Cabernet Franc (CF de Alto Landón, €14). The latter is a vibrant, floral, fruit-driven red. Fermentation takes place in stainless-steel tanks but up to 25% of the wine is aged in terracotta vessels (locally called “tinajas”). The latest addition to the range is a single-varietal fragrant, juicy Grenache bearing the name of the winemaker: Rosalía (€18 in Spain). Grapes are sourced from a very old, ungrafted plot with many missing plants.