We don’t normally set out with the intention of mixing varieties in the lagares unless Charles decides that fermenting two or even three varieties together is going to make a better and a more interesting wine. We do this sometimes however. Obviously when we are picking from the very old mixed vineyards, we have ancient vines of many different varieties all together in the same lagar. But please remember that nature has a will of its own that we do not control, and so does not work to our regulation lagar size! When finishing one parcel of a particular variety, inevitably it will not fill the lagar, so we will then fill the lagar with the next variety in our picking order. Quite often some lovely wines emerge in this way. It is great to have varietal wines and mixed varietals wines in our cellar.
Here at Malvedos we take this selection process one step further by then storing each and every fermentation in a separate tank. For this reason, we have the four ancient wooden tonels in the old part of the winery and a further fourteen stainless steel tanks, each capable of taking one fermentation, in a separate lodge just down the hill.
By keeping each ferment separate we make much better wines. Charles and the tasting team then have greater flexibility when assessing the wines in January and February following the Vintage. In a few months the wines will have fallen bright and have been racked off their lees. The wines of each variety and each fermentation can then be assessed in the calm of the tasting room rather than in the heat of the moment. The middle of the vintage is not the right time to be having to decide which wine should be matched up with another.
This is a substantial investment in storage capacity, especially considering that by Easter next year these expensive tanks will all be empty (and for the next 6 months) as the wines will be down in our Gaia lodge, but it’s what making wine at Malvedos is all about.