Tag Archives: Dorado

Cuatro Rayas showcases Palomino variety in Rueda with a thousand bottles of Dorado

The cooperative advocates for this main grape variety during the dawn of the DO Rueda protecting one hectare of century-old vineyard

La Seca, 4 September 2019.- Bodega Cuatro Rayas markets for sale a very restricted quota –due to its limited production– of ’61 Dorado en Rama’, a unique wine that brings the best of the Palomino variety in the Rueda Designation of Origin. This varietal is doomed to disappear since its cultivation is forbidden, but the cooperative from La Seca takes good care of its century-old vines intending to continue producing the original wines in the area. ‘61 Dorado en Rama’ constitutes a faithful memory of the fortified white wine that was during the Spanish Golden Age, as well as the Court wine in the time of the Catholic Monarchs, and reached its maximum splendour with the Royal Decree of 1911, stating that the wine of Tierra de Medina was a special wine similar to those of Jerez. Without a vintage, this selection is the only saca (taking out) from 2019 butts.

Palomino of Cuatro Rayas, coming from just one-hectare plot dating back to a century, is half vinified with century-old Verdejo vines that refresh a selection of twelve plus one butts with velo de flor. Winemakers Elena M. Oyagüe and Roberto L. Tello have tasted more than a hundred barrels, some with wines older than 60 years-old, selecting the best ones to produce an exceptional coupage. The wine, aged in these butts in the same manner as the solera system of Sherry wine, when it loses the flor at the end of Spring, experiences an oxidation process that makes it golden. From the butt to the bottle without fining or filtering this ‘Dorado en rama’ is the everlasting expression of the authentic mid-twentieth century soleras in the present-day DO Rueda.

The wine has as a standard the brand 61. Dorado was the first wine bottled in the winery. In 1938 vintage, the members decided to take the wine to the winery for the first time and put it into big concrete vats. They chose the best they had with a clear objective: ageing the wine collectively in everyone’s home. After loading the concrete vats with wine, number 61 was the best of all, that is why they decided that 61 would become the name shown on the first bottles: It was the birth of the first trademark of the cooperative.

61 Dorado en Rama (94 Peñín points) and 61 Dorado (91 Wine Spectator points and 91 Peñín points)

Peñín Guide, an international reference, has awarded 94 points to ‘61 Dorado en Rama’ (50% Palomino and 50% Verdejo). In 2018, it was performed the last traditional taking out of ‘61 Dorado’ (75% Verdejo and 25% Palomino), which is sold without interruption since the 1950s, a wine that in recent years has received very positive reviews (91 Peñín points and 81 Parker points) and has just been awarded 91 points by the Wine Spectator in its 2019 October issue.

’61’ Dorado, a new label for a veteran wine

’61’ Dorado, the first bottled brand of the cooperative, gets a new image to be in line with the last product of Cuatro Rayas Winery: ’61’ Vermouth.

With a dusty gold colour that remembers of the interior of the bottle, guarded by the legendary 61 of the brand, it keeps the essence of what it was and the promise that, once you drink it, you will travel to the past, where wines were fortified and reminiscent of roasted flavours.

Few know that there was a time, not long ago, where fortified wines were the identity of wines in Rueda, Medina, La Seca, Serrada, Nava del Rey and almost all winegrowing villages in the region. This period went from the last quarter of the 19th century up to the 70s. A good example of this are the countless underground cellars, with thousands of barrels and casks in different sizes that the coopers made inside the caves. Well, nowadays we can still talk and taste the last stronghold of these historic wines that were produced, as Sherry wines, using the tiers and soleras system. Cuatro Rayas Winery keeps a wine with these characteristics: 61 Dorado. Coincidentally, this type of wine remains within the categories and typologies regulated by the Regulatory Council of the Designation of Origin of Rueda.

This regulation covers this category of wine “Dorado” and defines it as: “A dry fortified wine produced using oxidative ageing, that must remain in oak barrels for, at least, two years before being commercialised; with golden colour, roasted aromas and flavours due to the long oxidation inside wood barrels and no less than 15% of alcohol content”. Over the years, this kind of wines lost their prominence, giving way to other types of products, although they were always produced under the banner of Verdejo variety.

Cuatro Rayas Winery never forwent this type of wine; in fact, it is the most emblematic of the winemaking tradition. It was the first wine bottled in the winery back in 1950. In 1938 vintage, members decided to take the wine to the winery for the first time and put it into big wooden vats. They chose the best they had with a clear objective: ageing the wine collectively in everyone’s home. Once the wooden vats were loaded with wine, number 61 was the best of all that is why they decided that 61 would become the name shown on the first bottles: Fino 61. It was the birth of the first trademark of the cooperative.

Cuatro Rayas Winery remains faithful to this type of wine. We still produce it in tiers and soleras, the same way they did it at that time. Today we call it ‘Dorado Rueda 61’, and it is the most reliable witness of how winemaking was done in the past. Thus, this white wine (Verdejo and Palomino varietal) takes its name ‘Dorado’ –golden in Spanish– because it refers to its ageing time. It has a high alcohol content (15.5º) and takes a long ageing time. The secret remains in the overripe grapes, and the fermentation and solera processes.

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.