Their success; their ability to effectively communicate about spanish and portuguese wine; their energy to grow and create dynamic, authentic and extraordinary services have attracted hundreds of thousands of iberian wine lovers from around the world.
Joan Gómez Pallarès http://www.devinis.org/

Attention Wine Century Club Members: Indigenous Spanish Grape, Tintilla de Rota

barbazul2

When I speak of Andalucia, Spain, what does your imagination conjure up? For me, my mind immediately pictures searing dry heat that can only be escaped under the vast awnings of family run bars; fried fish and olives served with a tall cool glass of fino sherry; tattered papers clumsily adhered to glass windows beckoning passersby to the next grand horse competition; outside markets filled with fresh herbs, seafood and local produce; and of course, flamenco. What my mind doesn’t conjure up is table wine!

But alas, there is a local grape unknown to the majority of the world, and it’s creating some rather incredible and thought-provoking wines. Called Tintilla de Rota, this indigenous grape is grown in a variety of soils in the Jerez production zone; and more specifically, in the town of Rota. Having accidentally stumbled across this variety a few months ago, we asked the owners of Huerta de Albala to kindly send us a sample of their wine Barbazul, which happens to be made with the Tintilla de Rota grape.

According to Louis Boutinot of Huerta de Albala,

Traditionally Tintilla has been used for the elaboration of Mistela,which is basically a fortified wine with various additives. The grape’s use as an unfortified wine is rare. It’s naturally low yield meant that quantity conscious Jerez farmers preferred to plant higher yielding varieties to produce table wine. However it’s potential and uniqueness has always been recognized and was noticed by the quality driven Vicente Taberner (owner of Huerta de Albalá). Most large bodegas in Jerez such as Osborne, González Byass, Domecq have the grape planted, what they do with it is another matter.

As for the origin; it shares the same DNA as Graciano of Rioja fame. Which of the varietals came first is debatable. One major difference between these two varietals is the yield, which is far lower with Tintilla. We yield around 2.5kg from our young vines, but as you will see from the attached document the yields can reduce to 0.5 kg depending on vine age and vineyard site. The fundamental characteristics it gives too a wine is vibrant colour, medium acidity, low p.h. and the high content of Terpenes which can result in great aromatics. This grape makes great joven wine which when added to other longer lasting varietals can make unique wines that will develop for 4-5 years.

The Barbazul 2007 shows stewed dark red fruit intertwined with bold anise, blackberry and dark spice aromas. In the mouth, the wine is light and fresh with great raspberry touches, medium to light acidity and silky fine tannins. We love this wine for its unique character, and the simple fact it exists. And though this grape is grown and elaborated by other wineries, few are pushing it to its full capacity like Huerta de Albala.

Although I’ve seen a few dozen Spanish tasting notes on the Barbazul, and a handful of English ones, I realize that very few of you out there have had the privilege of trying it. That said, if you have, we’d love to know your thoughts. And if you haven’t, would you be interested in getting your hands on this rather obscure varietal?

Cheers,

Gabriella Opaz

Huerta de Albala
Crta CA 6105, Km 4
Apartado de correos 320
11630 Arcos de la Frontera
CÁDIZ
Tel. (+34) 647 746 048
bodega@huertadealbala.com

Export Info:

  • U.S.A- Steve Miles Selections
  • U.K.- Boutinot Wines
  • Germany- Deuna
  • Denmark- Theis Vine
  • Sweden- Viña Española
  • Switzerland- Weiss Zum Erlenbach
  • Belgium- Armando’s Vineyard
  • The Netherlands- Vinites
  • Republic of Ireland- O’Brien’s Fine Wines and Spirits
  • Poland- Winarium
  • Japan- ZAS
  • New Zealand- Glengarry Hancocks
  • Hong Kong- Winpo Asia
  • mrzitro

    Yes, I’m interested in getting my hands on this rather obscure varietal.

  • http://www.spittoon.biz Andrew

    That label looks very familiar… good digging the obscure; just what I like!

  • http://michael-liebert.de/weintipps Michael Liebert

    I taste the first wines from Huerta de Albala last year. In June Huerta de Albala was our partner of the Gourmetfestival in Alcaidesa. And so I had the opportunity to visit the winery with 30 of our guests. A wunderful day and a great experience for everybody of us!

    Here, you find my article about Huerta de Albala:
    http://michael-liebert.de/weintipps/spitzenweine-aus-andalusien-huerta-de-albala/

    and here my tasting-notes:
    http://michael-liebert.de/weintipps/?s=tierra,+Huerta,+sorted

    Sorry, that I write in German…

    Best regards
    Michael Liebert

  • http://www.fintrywines.co.uk Piers Graham

    Barbazul is indeed a curious and delicious wine. I enjoyed a wonderful tasting with Louis at the winery last year and tasted Vicente’s range of wines. For those in the UK three of them are available from my website. Please feel free to enquire if interested.

  • Roland from Holland

    I found this stranger in a wine called Gibalbin. Together with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot! (Bodegas Barbadillo S.L., Luis de Eguilaz. Vino de la tierra de Cadiz.
    Simple but good enough wine.