Wine tasting of the wine with the longest tradition in Cuatro Rayas

‘61 Dorado’ is the oldest wine of Cuatro Rayas Winery. It is said to be the most genuine
and with the most tradition. It was born and bottled in our cellar more than half a
century ago. Undoubtedly, it best represents the purest tradition of wines produced and
consumed in the region of Rueda, long before the arrival of young, fresh and fruity
Verdejo variety wines that we know today.

Ángel Calleja –governing board member of Cuatro Rayas and, for more than four
decades, winemaker of the cooperative– knows very well the history of this wine. Ángel
tells us that 61 doesn’t refer to vintage, but actually, it has to do with the numbering of a
vat. Because, at the very beginning, winegrowers used to make their wine at home until
they established the cooperative. It was then when they took the wine from their houses
and poured all their contributions in a shared vat. Even though there were a few, number
61 was the best of all. Hence every wanted to buy its wine. So, that is the reason for the
name.

‘61 Dorado’ is a dry, liqueur wine, as a result of the oxidative ageing. Its alcohol
content is no less than 15% and must remain in oak for, at least, the previous two years
immediately before its commercialisation. Given Cuatro Rayas Winery performs the
traditional method, this wine has to types of ageing: biological (developing a film of
yeasts in a Jerezana butt) and oxidative (in 640L casks that allow the contact of the
wine with the wood). We can’t talk about vintages with this wine, as we produce it
following the tiers and soleras system.

Ángel Calleja and the current Cuatro Rayas’ winemaker, Elena M. Oyagüe, help us to
understand this wine better through the language of wine tasting. Appearance stage: it is
bright, limpid and golden because of the oxidative ageing. It has characteristic aromas
of biological ageing: hints of dough and yeasts, and oxidative ageing: almonds and nuts.
Balsamic, complex with bitter hints and a long finish. Regarding the pairing and
consumption, Elena recommends pairing it with a wide variety of cheeses, while Ángel
opts for game meats and artichoke stews.

Cuatro Rayas makes a toast to equality

The toast that today make us raise a glass deserves our full attention. While raising the glass, a group of Cuatro Rayas’ men and women staff state their clear support for a social cause. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (8 March), everyone wanted to emphasise upon a fair claim: the one about equality! Nevertheless, this claim needs the awareness and collaboration of everyone. Because Women’s Day is not just synonymous with labour rights and opportunities for everyone but also brings on the table other challenges the society must address, such as conciliation, fight against stereotypes and gender-based violence. Achieving these goals will result in a fairer, freer and more egalitarian society.

The employment of women in Cuatro Rayas Winery reaches all areas and levels, in fact, 30% of the staff are female workers. Within our ten departments, some women are in leadership positions and other women share responsibilities with other members of the working team. Today we want to show you some examples. The first one was Elena M. Oyagüe, who has been working 20 years in Oenology and today is the manager of this department, after receiving the baton from the recently retired Ángel Calleja. She is in charge of the department where Roberto López also works; he is from the town of Almazán in Soria, holds a degree in Chemistry and Oenology, and has been working in the winery for ten years.

Photo caption. From left to right Roberto López (Winemaker); María Estévez (Communications and Wine Tourism); Raquel Fernández (Export Area Manager); Rebeca Altable (Vineyard Department); Vicente Orihuela (Managing Director); Susana Diez (Governing Council Spokeswoman); Juncal González (Lab Manager); and Quique González (Vineyard Technician).

Juncal González is at the head of the Laboratory Department. Born in La Seca, she has been associated with the winery for twelve years, and she came here after finishing her studies as Environmental Health Technician. Raquel Fernández is one of the three saleswomen working in the Export Area. She is from Burgos, graduated in Economics, and holds a Master’s Degree in International Trade. In the image under this post, next to her there is Rebeca Altable, member of the Vineyard Department team. She graduated in Agricultural Engineering, also holds a Master’s Degree in Winery Direction and Management. She works closely with Mercedes and two men, Quique González and José Martínez, and the latter is the manager of the team. María Estévez is one of the three members of the Communication and Wine Tourism area, together with Álvaro and Sonia. She was born in Madrid, but lives in Valladolid; she graduated in Advertising, holds a Master’s Degree in Winery Direction and Management from Business School of Valladolid.

The last ones of the picture are Susana Diez, the only Governing Council spokeswoman, who represents all 300 members of the cooperative – it is worth mentioning that a third of this membership base are women– and Vicente Orihuela, Managing Director of the Winery. Orihuela explains how the firm Cuatro Rayas works since, in recent years, they have implemented a strategic plan aimed at improving the quality of life of the workers. Hence, among their objectives, they are planning the implementation of an Equality Plan in the short term. This new project will include a series of measures that will put special effort in working towards gender equality and its relationship with common issues including schedules, personal and labour relationships, access to employment and labour conciliation.

Sugarcane “seals” Cuatro Rayas’ wine range

We have already talked about the closure of the bottle, about the process that surrounds
it, and, especially, about the materials used. Along with cork, synthetic and natural
stoppers, now a new addition closures the range of Cuatro Rayas’ wines. We are talking
about a cork made from polymers derived from sugar cane.

The new kind of cork provides a high-quality closure, although its main advantage has
to do with the control of oxygen ingress in the bottle. In addition to the oxygen control,
another particular feature is that it is the world’s first virtually zero carbon footprint
closure for fine wines.

Another of the advantages is that this kind of closure doesn’t provide flaws to the wine.
Furthermore, it has an excellent mechanical action in the closure, in other words, it
corks perfectly and keeps good closure conditions, at the very least, for five years. It is
certainly a great innovation in the wine sector that, in this case, benefits from a
vegetable raw material such wonderful as the sugar cane. Environment-friendly,
sustainable, easy-to- uncork and provides all guarantees for wine preservation. These are
the new stoppers that seal the wines of Cuatro Rayas Winery. Could we ask for more?

Plot control via Satellite: precision in the vineyard and quality in wines

Cuatro Rayas Winery has launched a project in collaboration with ITACyL (Technologic and Agrarian Institute of Castile and Leon) to make a precise monitoring of particular plots of our winegrower members. All of them have a common denominator: the vigour of the vineyard. It is not always the same, that is why there are three differentiating levels: high, medium and low. This is a very precise project in determining this feature, as we have the advantage that the plots have been identified through satellite images. In this way, we can observe the evolution of the vineyard in detail, which is very important for any work done on site.

Once the plots are identified, the project envisages the establishment of two working groups to carry out their monitoring: on one side a group formed by the technical team of ITACyL and on the other hand, the technical and oenology teams of Cuatro Rayas Winery. Both groups of professionals perform the same tasks, in the vineyard and the laboratory. Including sample taking, grape harvesting and even the analysis of the material and the subsequent winemaking. That is to say, we address the process thoroughly, from the vine to the wine, but separately and taking into account the vigour of the plots. The only difference is that while the institute works with small amounts, the winery applies the same sampling criteria but on a larger scale.

What it is exciting about this job is the contrast of both working team results on the same sample. It is still early to reveal them, as the collaboration project consists of two years, but this detailed work intends to draw conclusions that will allow us to improve the future quality of the wines. Carrying out vertical sampling will show, in the future, results to be taken into account and they will have an impact even when organising the harvesting.

61 Vermouth, the vermouth from La Seca

May this vermouth trend be welcomed! It has become almost a social act that brings together family and friends before having lunch. It was already quite trendy between the 60s and the end of the 80s, although this tradition has never languished. Bar and cafés were crammed with people at ‘vermouth time’, to drink it according to the ritual – a dash of soda to taste, a slice of lemon and an olive.

Today we want to talk you about Cuatro Rayas’ Vermouth 61. For the first time, a Verdejo variety wine becomes part of the winemaking of one of the trending drinks: vermouth. And it steps in firmly. In fact, Cuatro Rayas Winery accounted it when they launched this new product campaign: Produced with 100% Verdejo variety. Also, the winery from La Seca has chosen one of their most emblematic brands, as this was the first bottled brand in the 50s of the now known Cuatro Rayas Winery. Hence, “61” becomes the first vermouth available in the market, which claims its Verdejo roots: A white wine that has been macerated with a careful selection of botanicals resulting in a mahogany colour vermouth with low bush aromas.

The winemaker Roberto L. Tello –from the technical team and a professional devoted to bringing every day the best of this grape variety in the wines he produces– has been in charge of giving birth a product that combines modernity and tradition. In fact, you can find this brand today in one of our oldest wines, “61” Dorado, a fortified wine that is a historic testimony of the wines supported by the D.O. Rueda.

‘61 Vermouth’ is bottled in a Jerezana bottle to claim its wine personality. It has been produced with 100% Verdejo variety, and it is the result of the coupage of an aged on lees and barrel fermented wine with a similar amount of young Verdejo. The aim is that the result, macerated with a mix of the botanicals, expresses the characteristics of the grape. The mix of the Verdejo together with the essence of the botanicals provide this vermouth with a mahogany colour with amber highlights and an intense aroma, where low bush as fennel, elderflower dominates and hints of thyme and rosemary, characteristic of the Verdejo variety, appear. Balanced on the palate, with a bitter, pleasant long finish, and the balsamic aftertaste we found on the nose.

Welcome, Cuatro Rayas Verdejo 2017!

It is already on sale: Cuatro Rayas Verdejo white wine vintage 2017 has begun to be uncorked. The first week of last year’s December welcomed warmly one of the wines with the greater personality of our winery. The bottle, the cork and the capsule that contain it have been the final point of a long process that began when the previous harvest finished in autumn 2016. After that, winter and pruning came, first buds appeared, then leaves, and following primary clusters started to shape into form. Berries and clusters of grapes arrived, and veraison and ripening took place. And, again, harvesting: of 2017 vintage. The fruit of the vine, which today we have the chance to taste, comes from that time.

 

Many people ask us about the quality of the Verdejo variety grapes that made possible this new wine, and we can describe it in a few words; it is of exceptional quality. The winemaker, Elena Martín Oyagüe, confirms it; she is in charge of the winemaking process, and customers, who had the opportunity to taste it, reaffirm it too. Elena explains that the winemaking process began with the fermentation in stainless steel vats at around 15ºC –for 21 days– although previously, grapes were macerated in the press to extract the aromas.

The result is an over the top wine. Tasting notes show us, in the looking stage, a pale yellow colour with greenish hues, bright. It is powerful on the nose, with tropical white fruit aromas over a background of citric fruit. On the palate, it is incredibly refreshing. Intense and with crisp acidity, aromas reminiscent of white fruit appear on the aftertaste and the characteristic fennel nuances. As always, it is advisable to taste it at an optimum temperature. It pairs perfectly with any dish, product or recipe, although it is perfect to pair with appetisers, fish and shellfish. Cheers!

The lucky grapes of Cuatro Rayas

Each passing year carries away twelve months of our lives. It seems unbelievable how time passes so fast. Each new vintage remembers it to us flying by on printed paper labels. Since, for a winery, a closing year is also a completed cycle of its hard labour. All of us have witnessed it, but, the best witness is outside, outdoors: the vine.

Vines are the witness of everything, from pruning to harvest. The weight of their bunches rests on them, and they receive everything nature provides each season: frost, rain, scorching sun, night breezes and freezing winter nights. Sometimes late, inopportunely or doubly… May 2018 be mild with the vines, now that drought is hitting hard! We hope for the rain and snow to come soon, which is badly needed.

In the ending year, we want to give you our twelve grapes of luck. Actually, all the grapes at Cuatro Rayas have been touched by the magic wand of luck; otherwise, we could not uncork the great wines we produce at the winery. The grapes we will have at New Year’s Eve taste of Verdejo, fruits and flowers, that is why each bell stroke will come together with the sweet taste of good wishes. We wish happiness to every member of the team at Cuatro Rayas Winery, to our customers and friends, to our distribution network, and to wine lovers who put their trust in Cuatro Rayas when they order wine at a bar or when they uncork it at their home.

May each grape bring you luck. From Cuatro Rayas Winery, we wish you a blissful 2018, with the aim to contribute to it toasting with a Verdejo white wine in the glass. There is no better way to try your good luck. Thank you for trusting in our work and may we shared together a lot of vintages to come. Happy New Year.

Cuatro Rayas and the spirit of Christmas

If there is an appropriate time to make a toast, it should be during the last days of December. And best of all, it is not just one day, but many. Moreover, chances increase when family and friends gather up around toasts –in a warm embrace that is unusually intense when Christmas comes. Along with a toast, there are good wishes and sometimes an exchange of gifts. Emotions run very high and nostalgic feelings are inevitable, as this time of the year remembers us the one who left.

The spirit of Christmas is also in the eyes of children, probably the purest reflection of dreams and hope. But it also comes into homes, eateries and restaurants, where they set the tables beautifully for a celebration that abounds with local products and wines characteristic of the region.

From Cuatro Rayas Winery we also want to toast to all of you. And we want to do it in the best possible way, raising a Verdejo wine glass, the symbol that best defines our work. We toast to them who continue cultivating vines in the plots of their elders and to all of us, keeping this valuable legacy that many refer to as ‘Culture of Wine’. That is all that we are about. We toast to everything that surrounds us and enriches us, because we cherish wine growers, but also shepherds and their herds of sheeps, and all men and women who commit every day to depict this beautiful rural landscape –to which we belong– with their crafts, customs and traditions.

We hope Cuatro Rayas’ wines would be on your table on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Our best wishes travel within every bottled that is going to be open, therefore every glass, every sip has to be a present filled with shared emotions. We raise a glass to every one of you and to the more than 60 countries where you can already make a toast with Cuatro Rayas’s wines. We’ve made it possible together. Merry Christmas.

Cuatro Rayas Cuarenta Vendimias Sauvignon Blanc

Just a few things are as pleasing as uncorking a bottle and tasting the wine. We burst with excitement when we observe how it entices our senses, the complexity of its nuances, the colour, and the aromas and how palate-pleasing it is. In the next video, you can watch a wine tasting of the white wine Cuatro Rayas Cuarenta Vendimias Sauvignon Blanc.

Elena Martín Oyagüe will guide us. She is the successor of Ángel Calleja –also a winemaker– and worked closely with him for two decades. She signs this special selection, produced with grapes from vineyards planted in 1990, which there are four hectares now. If you have the chance to assist a Cuatro Rayas Cuarenta Vendimias live wine tasting, you will confirm that the description fits perfectly to the wine you are about to taste.

Elena knows this wine very well and, among all its qualities, she highlights the colour, a bright pale yellow colour. It also has a fresh nose, with citric fruit, mint and white flowers hints. On the palate, again, you can pick the citric fruit hints and it shows a refreshing acidity. When pairing, the range of dishes and products is as wide as consumer’s taste, but we know it never disappoints if you pair it with fish, shellfish and cold soups and creams. We hope you enjoy this wine as much as we do when we uncork a bottle. Cheers!

 

Two weeks of direct support to the victims of the earthquake in Mexico

The export manager of Cuatro Rayas Winery, Sergio Fiorentini, returns to Spain after having experienced the earthquake first-hand and having collaborated with winery’s customer restaurants in the country. He helped washing dishes during services for the needy, supporting food gathering and buying medicines. During these two weeks, despite the cancellation of the commercial appointments, he continued to visit clients with the aim to assist in any way he could. This is his testimony:

“I would like to share with you the horrific experience I have lived in my trip to Mexico. On 19 September, while I was working together with a group of journalists we were surprised by the earthquake,I don’t need to explain what we felt, not just during the quake, but after the evacuation of the building in the service stairway, without any light and fragments of the ceiling and paint falling on us. After three long hours waiting in the street, we were allowed to come back to the hotel. Even though the sounds of ambulances and helicopters were increasing, I was not yet aware of the degree of the event.

The meetings I had planned for that afternoon, obviously, were cancelled, so I wanted to come close to the area to lend a hand in anything I could. Big was my surprise when I saw hundreds and hundreds of people making lines to remove the rubble of collapsed buildings and trying to save as many victims as possible, it was already impossible to access to the zone as the police just let through people with shovels, picks and other tools.

When I came back from Oaxaca (where I had flown to continue with my agenda) to Mexico City, on behalf of the Winery, I wanted to donate to the victims and volunteers that were working on the rescue works. Given that most of the restaurants of the city were storing food to make meals for the victims, I got in contact with two of our customer restaurants, but they told me that they could not store more foodstuff since their refrigerators were overloaded with the donations. Through the website of the Red Cross, I saw that they needed medicines, and with the help of several hotel staff, I visited several chemists due to the de shortage in order to buy saline, gauze, syringes, surgical supplies, eye drops for the volunteers, isotonic drinks, etc. Then I took them to the Álvaro Obregón area, feeling sad for what I saw, but also feeling encouraged and breathless by the strength and fortitude of the people working incessantly to save lives. The director of the Red Cross thanked us a lot the gesture and took me to where the Spanish delegation sent by the government, UME (Military Emergencies Unit), was working and I could greet and share a few minutes with them.

Back to the hotel, I found in the room the messages I enclose, written by the people who helped me to look for chemists and then took me to the place where I delivered the medicines. No words…”

Sergio Fiorentini.