I was introduced to Bodega Albae at a thoroughly enjoyable wine tasting at Tomevinos in Barrio Salamanca in Madrid. This winery is dedicated to experimenting with grape varieties to see what works well in their region of Castilla La Mancha.
Castilla La Mancha is the most prolific wine producing region in Spain, if not the world. It is located in the centre of Spain in the dusty lands of Don Quijote. A vast, hot, dry area with low population in many areas. Having driven through the region, (which takes hours in a car, so I dread to think how long on a horse and donkey) you can totally see why Don Quijote went mad. When in Castilla La Mancha the best option is to stay put and enjoy the vast array of wines and cheeses the area has on offer 😋😋.
Bodega Albae is located in Tomelloso near one of Castilla la Mancha’s two national parks: Lagunas de Ruidera. Here they have plenty of water and the climate is more humid and not so extreme. This is what allows them to experiment.
They have deliberately eschewed the D.O. labelling so that they can grow and produce wines from the grape varieties that they choose, rather than those dictated by the D.O. regulations. The bodega is based on a grand experiment where they cultivate the Noble grapes varieties and compare with the Spanish local grapes.
Each wine is made from a single grape variety all grown in the same area and similar soil and climate conditions. We tried seven of them in total. Two whites: Viognier and Chardonnay (not sure why they don’t make a Macabeu for comparison). Plus five reds: Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Malbec.
I love it when wineries experiment and in this case I can attest that the experiment is successful. I bought 3 different wines from this bodega: the Chardonnay, the Malbec and the Tempranillo. This is unheard of for me, you’re lucky if I buy one as I don’t get much opportunity to drink at home. I can safely say Bodega Albae and I are on the same wavelength or perhaps I’m just attuned to the Noble grape varieties from experience.