In 1999 Spanish entrepreneur José María Entrecanales and his wife María Marsans established this winery in La Verdosa, their hunting estate in Santa Cruz de Retamar, a small village in the province of Toledo (Castilla-La Mancha), south of Madrid. With a distinctive dehesa landscape (holm oaks and Mediterranean plants like rosemary, thyme and lavender), the property is a home for deers, wild boars, partridges and various birds of prey.
In tune with the trends of the time, the couple chose international grapes and hired acclaimed consultants. Richard Smart conducted a soil study and planted 24Ha of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot on the estate’s sandy soils; and Rioja-based winemaker Miguel Ángel de Gregorio advised on the wines.
After Entrecanales passed away in 2009, his widow took over the project and hired Maite Sánchez, an enthusiastic young female winemaker. Sánchez advocated for indigenous varieties and the search of new lands in the region so Arrayán now sources grapes from three different areas: the original vineyards in La Verdosa, old Albillo Mayor vines grown on sandy soils in neighbouring Almorox and Garnacha from Gredos.
Indigenous grapes are now being tested at La Verdosa to study the adaptability and quality potential of White, Grey and Hairy (with downy leaves) Garnacha together with obscure or lesser known varieties like Mizancho, Rufete, Bruñal, Moravia Agria and Graciano.
La Verdosa’s portfolio includes a directly pressed rosé (a blend of Merlot and Syrah retailing at around €7 in Spain), two single-varietal reds made from Petit Verdot (€15) and Syrah (€12.5) and three red blends: Arrayán Selección (€9) combines all the red grapes grown at the property whereas Arrayán Premium has a stronger focus on Syrah (€22) as well as the premium Estela de Arrayán (€27, 1,700 bottles), which is made with the free-run juice drained from Premium’s pomace.
Since the 2014 vintage a 100% Albillo Real (€12.5) has been added to the range. Grapes are sourced from old vines owned by a local winegrower, one of the few to preserve this indigenous white grape. After a couple of days of skin-maceration, the wine is fermented and aged in 300- and 500-litre French oak barrels.
Gredos is the source of two different Garnachas. La Suerte de Arrayán (around €13, 13,500 bottles) comes from granitic soils in El Real de San Vicente, a village in the Toledo province which falls within the DO Méntrida. Garnacha de Arrayán (€22, 1,300 bottles) mirrors the distinctive schist soils of Cebreros in Ávila (Castilla y León). These vineyards are grown at 900m above sea level and the wine is fermented in open barrels. In both cases partial while bunch fermentation is used.
Buy the wines at the winery's website