Tag Archives: spanish white wine

’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.

A vine plant from Cuatro Rayas in the Royal Zarzuela Gardens

It happened in mid-April 2010. The cooperative Cuatro Rayas Winery was currently immersed in the celebration of its 75 anniversary, a good reason to be granted a hearing with the then prince Felipe at the Zarzuela Palace. Certainly, it was a unique moment that the members and other guests of a delegation of the winery from La Seca will never forget, including the then president Fernando Prieto; the manager, Vicente Orihuela; line managers of every department, and the presidents of the winery over the past 30 years.

There are not only numerous photos of that visit to be remembered, but also Felipe’s words of thanking when he was awarded the Gold Badge of the winery. He was also very grateful to receive the second gift –which by the way, it quite unusual for such royal palace–, a Verdejo variety vine plant. Felipe himself said that the specimen would be immediately transplanted in the Zarzuela Gardens, joining thus other ornamental and forest species of great singularity. Surely, the gift was well appreciated, since it comes from the Pago de las Cuatro Rayas, one of the most emblematic plots of the cooperative, as it is the point where the four municipalities of La Seca, Medina del Campo, Rueda and Rodilana touch. Don Felipe not only showed great interest on its origin but also on where was the most appropriate place to plant it, taking into account all the needs for a vine of these characteristics – like the type of soil, sunlight and aeration.

Also, on that important day, we do not want to forget the delivery to His Royal Highness of a Magnum bottle of Cuatro Rayas by Dionisio Miguel Recio, already deceased and former president of Club Balonmano Valladolid, one of the major sports team sponsored by our winery. Again, Felipe expressed his gratitude for the gift and showed his interest, as part of a more relaxed conversation, in other aspects of the firm, such as the production, distribution, commercial network and presence, mainly, in the international markets.

Citrus fruits and botanicals in Verdejo 61 Vermouth wine tasting

Today we bring you the wine tasting of ‘61 Vermouth’, one of the latest creations of Cuatro Rayas Winery, made with 100% Verdejo wine. Its creator, the winemaker Roberto L. Tello, who belongs to the technical team of the cooperative, will show it to us. Roberto makes it very clear that this is an aromatised drink, although it is made from two wines: a young fruity Verdejo wine and a barrel fermented Verdejo wine. “That is the base, but you must bear in mind that, to be denominated vermouth, we need a hydroalcoholic mixture of a distillation of aromatic plants”, he explains. We used more than 50 aromatic plants in the winemaking of this vermouth, and in many cases, this selection of botanicals are used to enhance the Verdejo variety, such as fennel, elderflower, thyme and rosemary, offering unmistakable aromas of lowbush.

When preparing this vermouth, we use ice and citrus fruits, like grapefruit or orange, providing it with freshness and enhancing some of the characteristics of the Verdejo variety. When we look at it, the vermouth shows us a mahogany colour with amber-like reflections at the rim. On the nose, we find all the typical aromas of our precious variety. It is remarkable how the aromas of rosemary, thyme, fennel and citrus fruits show up. On the palate, there is an interesting balance between sweet and bitter flavours, although the characteristic acidity of the white grape variety is always there. Nice and with a very long finish. Delicious, in fact.

The best quality of the vermouth –by the way, this one is called 61 after the first brand of the cooperative– is sharing it with friends, or with a tasty appetiser or any tapas, next to the counter. And remember: whenever you enter a shop, a bar or a restaurant, pay attention to the bluish tones of the label and the distinctive Jerezana bottle. ¡Don’t order any other brand and have it well chilled!

Cuatro Rayas and its commitment to recycling

Cuatro Rayas Winery has just joined the 2017-2019 Business Plan for Packaging Waste Prevention intended for the wine and spirits industry. This is an initiative from Ecovidrio, a non-profit organisation in charge of managing the recycling of all glass containers in Spain. Admittedly, recycling is everyone’s task and a simple gesture –like throwing away a bottle in a green bin– can help society if all of us make our contribution.

The philosophy of Ecovidrio and the extraordinary work they have been developing for two decades has encouraged us to sign this collaboration agreement that has a lot to do with the protection of the environment and sustainable development. The first line of action we have committed with is to adopt a series of measures to reduce the weight of the primary packaging; e.g., the usage of lighter bottles, in our case. Another established objective has to do with the weight of the tertiary packaging, pursuing to reduce the micronage of the stretch film (for palletisation) and shrink wrapping (to put together primary packaging); e.g., pallet wrapping film will be thinner, although it will improve its elastic properties.

Another of the commitments of Cuatro Rayas with Ecovidrio refers to the increase of the percentage of recycled material used in our winery, not only in the packaging but also in the cardboard packages. The latter concerns to the generic cardboard boxes we use at Cuatro Rayas Winery and, since we joined the plan, even the dividers of the interior which we are using are made of recycled material.

As you can see, Cuatro Rayas makes its contribution to recycling committing to sustainability. We believe, and we are sure that the project will become bigger soon with the help and responsibility of everyone.

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 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!