Tag Archives: DO Rueda

The Lab team: The sentinels of Cuatro Rayas

The Lab team at Bodega Cuatro Rayas moves with ease among hydrometers, beakers, flasks, test tubes, pipettes and distillation equipment. Equipment set up every day to ensure the wine quality and all the parameters related to it. The team works closely with the other departments, but especially with winemaking, as the winemaker will depend on their analysis to take the right decisions.

In charge of the Lab at Cuatro Rayas is Juncal Gonzalez, who is supported by the assistant Rubén Navarro, two professionals who know not only the ins and outs of their department, but also the wine process in its broadest sense, from the vine to the bottle. Their tasks focus on the analysis of numerous parameters, long before the cork finally closes the bottle. Their work starts at harvest, collecting grape samples, analyzing ripeness indices to determine when harvest can be started. All the grapes from each plot literally pass through their hands, so they can usually be seen alongside the scales when the grapes enter the cellar, testing the sanitary condition of the grapes thanks to their Lab being equipped with infrared technology.

The Lab is the team of sentinels at Cuatro Rayas. All musts coming out of the press are monitored in detail, as are fermentations, measuring the densities and temperatures daily. They also control the condition of the wines from the moment they enter the vats unfiltered, until they end up going through the process of stabilization, before bottling. Precisely this latter process of bottling is where they dedicate a large part of their efforts, since in the final section important parameters such as the fill level volumes of the bottles and the acidity are controlled.

Undoubtedly the work of the quality control Lab is as important as bottling control, the final part of a long process that seeks wine excellence, with rigor, detail and professionalism.

Cuatro Rayas oak 2015: the organic Tempranillo

The winemaker Roberto López guides us in our organic Tempranillo red tasting. This unique wine is part of the Cuatro Rayas range. It has spent three months in oak (French and American) and belongs to the 2015 vintage. The back label displays two stamps: that of the Rueda Designation of Origin and that of the Organic Farming Council. What does the latter mean? Like other wines from our cellar, our organic wine comes from vineyards cultivated using parameters based on respect for the environment, as does its production method.

Tasting allows us to discover the organoleptic qualities of the wine. In this case, the winemaker from Cuatro Rayas, Roberto López pays special attention to the description, step by step from the visual phase, to the olfactory phase to the tasting one. The first thing that strikes us is the color: strong rubyred with purple reflections at the rim. It is clean, bright and of medium intensity. On the nose there are aromas of ripe forest fruits, such as blackberry and raspberry. On the palate, it is smooth and velvety, showing balance and persistence. Undoubtedly, a red wine with character that enriches the Cuatro Rayas range in all its dimensions.

Vineyard Technical Department: professionals down on the vineyard

They are specialists in winegrowing and have a perfect understanding of the vegetative cycle of all varieties. They also understand soil types, the morphology of the vines, sensory analysis of grapes and all the cultural practices needed by the vineyard throughout the year. They are able to make a brief note about pruning, while handling the powerful database that records every detail of their co-op growers’ plots. Through their hands pass the control of a vineyard where Bodega Cuatro Rayas reaches 2,500 hectares, 20% of those registered in the Rueda Designation of Origin. Not only do they patrol the vineyards, but they also serve a membership base of 300 winegrowers: the most powerful cog in the machine at Bodega Cuatro Rayas.

The Technical Vineyard Department at Cuatro Rayas comprises the technical vineyard director, José Martín; in addition to technicians Enrique González, Rebeca Altable and Mercedes Bragado. They work down on the vineyard with a refractometer and are also glued to the computer, monitoring the winegrowing registers and the condition of the vineyard in all seasons. Their duties include such important tasks as the control of the vineyard for all the cooperative members (advisory service in the area of vineyard tasks or treatments, management of new plantations, field notebooks and agricultural insurance) and plot monitoring throughout the growth cycle, from pruning operations to post-harvest.

 

The Technical Vineyard Department also deals with administrative issues related to cooperative members, manages export aid and third countries, as well as organizing such delicate tasks as harvesting, which during the campaign mobilizes the entire department, even doubling it on occasions, until such time as the last grape is harvested and brought into the winery.

Natural, synthetic or screw cap? The cork revolution

When a bottle is placed on a table, the ritual of serving the wine begins. While the uncorking releases it from its container and allows us to taste it, rarely do we look at the type of material used to close the bottle. Let’s talk about cork, the material that seals most of the wine bottles produced in the world. However, when closing a bottle, new materials are sometimes as versatile as they are unknown. Undoubtedly, there are significant differences between them, so today we are going to explain their characteristics and common applications.

Generally, there are three types of stoppers: cork, synthetic and natural. Cuatro Rayas uses all of them in their bottling, but always chooses the one that best fits the needs of each wine: it all depends on how we want it to evolve once bottled. Until not long ago, cork was the only option to stop a bottle. There are four types: natural (extracted from a single piece of cork oak); the so-called ‘colmated’ stopper (also extracted from a piece of cork, but lower quality); the agglomerated cork (manufactured with cork granules or chips); and ‘technical’ stoppers (with an agglomerate body, but natural disks). What are their advantages? Cork is a light, elastic, porous and resilient product. It also facilitates the conservation and evolution of a wine and allows a small amount of oxygen to pass through its pores. Among the disadvantages are the feared TCA, i.e., tainted cork aromas, which sometimes occur in the wine.

Synthetic stoppers do not come from the cork oak bark. They are made from ‘thermoplastic elastomers’, i.e., plastic materials with elastic properties. Synthetic stoppers are either made by extrusion or injection (two terms which only determine how they are manufactured) and figuring among their advantages is that do not give any TCA problems, offer a wide range of colors and allow the uncorking ritual to continue. Their drawbacks are reflected in the preservation of wine, since they allow hardly any oxygen through, preventing that the wines evolve in the bottle.

There is a third option: the screw cap. It is made with aluminum coated with different materials. Technically the perfect closure. In addition, it is very handy. However, it does not allow any oxygen through and, of course, no uncorking takes place as it is opened by turning the cap on the bottle mouth.

A ‘wine 10’ for an exceptional man

La Seca, Valladolid (Spain). Bodega Cuatro Rayas has just produced a great new wine that is destined to find a niche among the most prestigious whites in Spain. As great as the man who appears on its label: Amador Diez De Íscar, former president of the winery for 21 years. ‘Amador Diez’, the brand which figures on the unique label made from wood, comes from grapes of the oldest vineyards at Cuatro Rayas, specifically a selection made partially from the best 10 pre-phylloxera hectares over 100 years old located in Aldeanueva del Codonal (Segovia). This is the most artisan and exclusive product from both the Rueda Designation of Origin and the winery founded in 1935.

AMADOR DIEZ

Harvested by hand and selected with painstaking care, the bottle is already a reality after spending a period of fermentation in 600 liter barrels of new French oak, with bâtonnage for eight months. Noteworthy is its elaboration with indigenous yeasts from the winery, something unique and standing apart from the more commercial elaborations known to consumers of Rueda wines.

‘Amador 10’ will be a wine to be remembered just like the extraordinary person hidden behind its label. Bodega Cuatro Rayas owes a lot to Diez De Íscar, a person endowed with an extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit, a business vision and a character open to dialogue. No doubt, he was the author of the winery’s relaunch and responsible for its successful process of internationalization and modernization that has positioned the Cuatro Rayas brand as the driving force of the Rueda Designation of Origin.

With his memory in mind and his example alive in the heart of the Rueda winegrowers, Diez De Íscar assembles us again about wine, a sector he devoted his entire life to and which today returns to him, by way of gratitude, a small part of everything he did for the DO. ‘Amador 10’ an excellent wine inspired by an outstanding man.

Cuatro Rayas 2016 organic verdejo: the most natural bet

Its existence demonstrates every day that it is possible to grow and produce within the parameters of environmental respect. The ‘organic winegrowers’ – that is to say, those who defend the cultivation of their grapes under these criteria- guarantee that looking to the future, another way of making wine is possible. From among the array of new 2016 vintages, the young white varieties verdejo and sauvingnon blanc are well known, but there is a third path, that does not exclude, but rather enriches everything we do-, a production endowed with a distinct personality that closes the triumvirate of the young Cuatro Rayas wines. It is the organic verdejo.

The white Cuatro Rayas 2016 organic verdejo is made exclusively from the grapes from 20 hectares of vineyards, distributed between La Seca (Valladolid) and Aldeanueva del Codonal (Segovia). In all, this year 120,000 kilos of grapes were harvested, which translates into 100,000 bottles of exclusive organic verdejo. The harvest is manual and almost all of the vineyard is goblet trained. The winegrower that follows the organic practice guarantees the absence of fertilizers and pesticides. The production method follows the same parameters as the rest of the wines, except that it eliminates the addition of sulfur dioxide and the maceration excludes the press because it is done in tanks. The new vintage will be available in March, 2017.

Are there many differences in its tasting notes? Yes, for example, in the color. In this case we are talking about an intense lemon yellow (clean, bright, transparent). Notes of violet, ripe stewed fruit, stone fruit and a hint of peach. On the palate it is smooth, with body. The ripe fruit and its obvious long aftertaste are perceived in retronasal. And, with regard to the bottle, we strongly recommend that you look at the back label, because next to the stamp of the DO Rueda you will also find the certification of the CAECYL, the Council of Organic Farming of Castille and Leon, which guarantees compliance with all the legal regulations.