After launching Bodegas Frontonio in Valdejalón, Fernando Mora MW, lawyer Francisco Latasa and winemaker Mario López joined forces again to launch a second project in Aragón. This time they are working closely with Santo Cristo Cooperative in DO Campo de Borja. Grapes are sourced from wine growers from the cooperative and wines are also made there. The fact that Mario López has been working as a winemaker for Santo Cristo since 2017 was very helpful to establish the terms of the collaboration.
The three friends want to recover and show to the world some of the most distinctive, dry-farmed, old bush Garnacha vineyards found in the area. A small boutique winery has been built in the space occupied by an old cement underground tank at Santo Cristo evoking traditional bodegas built in caves. Accordingly, one of Cuevas de Arom’s slogans reads: “We produce high altitude Garnacha underground”.
The style is more refined than the powerful, often extracted red Garnachas that have become standard in Aragón. After their experience with fermentations in Valdejalón, open tanks are also used in Campo de Borja with different skin contact times based on the characteristics of the grapes. Depth and freshness from particularly warm areas is obtained with whole bunch fermentation. “Although tannins are coarser at first, wines made with grape stems evolve more slowly,” says Mora. Aging vessels include concrete tanks and eggs, flexitank eggs, foudres and barrels.
The first two releases were made in the 2015 vintage: Cuevas de Arom As Ladeiras (slightly over 13,000 bottles, €18) is the flagship red while the fragrant Os Cantals (3,145 bottles, €39) is named after one of the stony plots were grapes are sourced from. Pedra Forca (20,000 bottles, 15 €) joined the range from the 2016 vintage together with Tuca Negra (less than 1,000 bottles), a premium red made with whole bunches. In total, their aim is to make 40,000 bottles. Except for Cuevas de Arom (Arom is Fernando Mora’s surname read from right from left), the rest of the wines have been named in the local language Aragonese (or Fabla).