Wine Producer Muchada-Léclapart | Spanish Wine Lover

Passion for Spanish wine


Andalusian architect Alejandro Muchada was interested in organic agriculture but didn’t care much about wine until his first vintage in Champagne in 2011. A series of fortuitous events led him to work a harvest for David Léclapart, a cult producer in the region and leading biodynamic advocate. They became friends and Muchada returned to help the following harvest to Champagne.

He was one of the founders of Alba Viticultores and during the early days of this small natural wine bodega in Sanlúcar, Muchada took an increasing interest in the vineyards. With the support, experience and example of his friend Léclapart and convinced that it was the way forward, Muchada decided to become a full-time farmer and work the couple of small vineyards that he had rented.

Since 2016 Muchada and Léclapart rent a small bodega in Sanlúcar’s Barrio Alto, three hectares of biodynamic vineyards and produce half a dozen unfortified white wines with no layer of flor (including an anecdotal pét-nat for self-consumption) that aim to express the character of Palomino grapes and the albariza soils where they are grown. This is their business model: artisanal and with total control from the vineyard to the bottle. Muchada manages the day to day of the project whereas Léclapart travels to Sanlúcar for the harvest, the bottling and at several other moments during the year.

They own one plot —La Platera— and rent two more. Miraflores Alta, with old-vine Listán Blanco (Palomino), had been left unpruned for three years before Muchada took care of it. The other rented plot, 0.7 hectares in the Abulagar vineyard in Chipiona, is planted with 40-year old Moscatel on sandy soils. Vineyards have almost disappeared in this area but they are restoring theirs with sexual confusion techniques to avoid diseases, planting clover to fix nitrogen to the ground and create biodiversity.

La Platera, 1.7 hectares in the Miraflores vineyard, was purchased at the beginning of 2017. The plot is crowned by 60-year-old vines planted on pure albariza soils; clay is more abundant on the lower part and the plants are young (20 years). Most of them are Palomino California, a productive clone that is dominant in the Sherry Triangle these days. Facing the cool westerly winds, La Platera is more sensitive to mildew but produces wines with less alcohol.

All of their wines are vinified by plots and grape varieties —they even separate the Palomino Fino clones from the older ones. Winemaking is kept simple: grapes are hand-harvested first thing in the morning in Champagne boxes —larger than those normally used in Spain— and are later placed in a horizontal press. They avoid the use of stainless steel —in their opinion, wines are ionized and become restless in this type of vessel. Instead, their wines are fermented in solid steel coated on the inside with ceramic paint at room temperature (the air is cooled with two air conditioning units). They only add 3g/hl of SO2 during the pressing and wines are unfiltered and unclarified. Despite this non-interventionist approach, Muchada and Léclapart do not define their wines as natural.

Although they made 4,000 bottles in the 2016 vintage —all of them vinified in wooden butts— the pair preferred to wait and release their wines in the 2017 vintage (16,000 bottles). Muchada and Léclapart wanted their buyers to have a clear, realistic idea of their style of wines, which do not belong to any appellation.

Going against the current of traditional sweet wines made in Chipiona, they decided to make a dry Moscatel from their Abulagar vineyard. They only picked 1,600kg —not enough for their 4,000kg press—so they mixed it with Palomino (45%) and the result is Elixir (4,000 bottles, €45.70), an exotic, different wine with the aromatic exuberance of Moscatel but refined by the Palomino grapes in the blend, which add salinity and persistence on the palate.

As well as Elixir, the two main cuvées are Univers (4,000 bottles, €28.95), which is sourced from the youngest La Platera vines and is fermented in steel tanks with its lees but with no batonnage, and Lumière (6,500 bottles, €57.95), an old vine Palomino from the higher part of La Platera which is aged in 225-litre barrels and displays additional minerality, complexity and maturity.

The range is completed with Étoile (2,500 bottles, €45.70), an old-vine Palomino aged in manzanilla butts owned by Ignacio Partida, foreman at prized El Armijo vineyard in Sanlúcar, and Vibrations (300 bottles in 2017, 700 in 2016, €45.70), a highly original skin-contact Palomino which is superb with some additional time in bottle.

All of the Muchada-Léclapart wines, named after natural elements, are long and elegant and have a defined personality, very different to the generally perceived impression of wines from the Sherry Triangle. 


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