Celler del Roure is an interesting producer in Clariano, in the southwestern corner of the province of Valencia. After Pablo Calatayud completed his agronomy studies, he launched the project with his father in the late 1990s.
Neither of them had previous experience in wine –the family worked in the furniture industry– but wanted to grow vines in their homeland. They started planting Tempranillo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the grapes of choice in the area at the time. Their first wines to reach the market blended Monastrell with these international grape varieties and achieved success both in Valencia and in the export markets. But as soon as Pablo Calatayud started travelling and gaining more experience in the world of wine, he realised that they were on the wrong path.
Determined to find indigenous grapes that had played a dominant role in their area before phylloxera, he came across a local winegrower who used his Mandó vines for his home-made everyday wine. Mandó’s profile was different and definitely fresher compared to other local red grapes, so Pablo started grafting his Tempranillo and Merlot vines with Mandó and eventually included it in the blend of his top red Maduresa.
In 2006 the family bought a estate with 40 hectares under vine in Moixent. The property included an ancient underground cellar with around 100 earthenware jars, so a couple of years later they started maturing some wines in them. Pablo and his father were greatly surprised to discover that the amphorae didn’t add flavour and that the wines felt much fresher in them. This was the beginning of a completely new range of red wines made from Mandó which were identified with the image of a dragonfly. Most of them are fermented in stainless steel tanks but since 2015 they also use the old stone vats which have been carefully preserved in the cellar. After this stage, the wines are transferred to uncoated amphorae which have just a layer of tartaric acid.
This new range includes the entry-level red Vermell (€7, 70,000 bottles), a blend of Alicante Bouschet plus 15% Monastrell and 10% Mandó; Safrà (€12, 15,000 bottles), which blends 85% Mandó, 10% Alicante Bouschet and 5% Monastrell, is named after saffron, a sought-after spice grown locally; and the high-end red Parotet (17 €, 65% Mandó, 35% Monastrell) which means dragonfly in the Valencian language. In Safrà the approach is a bit different as it combines early-picked and fully matured Mandó grapes. According to owner Pablo Calatayud, Mandó is the only grape they grow that can withstand this kind of early picking. The idea is to offer extra freshness —it’s really amazing that they are able to produce this style in such a warm area. Also in the range is their white Cullerot (50,000 bottles, €9), which means tadpole in Valencian and is made from a complex blend of local grapes including Pedro Ximénez, Verdil, Macabeo, Malvasía, Tortosí, Merseguera and some Chardonnay.
International grape varieties have lost weight in their classic range and currently account for around 50% of the blend of Les Alcusses (€9.5, 100,000 bottles) and even less in Maduresa (€19, 20,000 bottles). The style has progressively shifted towards fresher, less heavy or alcoholic wines with less extraction.