Belondrade y Lurton, The Winery
Created by Didier Belondrade in 1994, this winery is responsible for the wine we're presenting today, one of the most refined Spanish whites and, definitely, one of our favorite Verdejos from Rueda, if not the most.
Relying on 4 principles, Didier (Founder), with Marta Baquerizo (Winemaker and Director) and Jean Belondrade (2nd Generation), have been able to transform and re-define the way people think about Verdejo. Here they are:
- Respect for nature
- Great grape selection
- Spontaneous fermentation
- AGING: Yes, aging - Important differentiator for Verdejo here.
The Founder's (Didier) dream was to create a "Vin the Château" in Spain. We all know what "Vin" means. However, what is a "Vin de Château"? Well, "Château" literally means Castle in French. But in the wine world, "Vin de Château" is used in reference to a wine-producing estate. This is, a combination of vineyards, cellars and buildings that are all part of the winemaking process of that "Vin". In some cases, one of those buildings could be a castle. Pretty uncommon and impractical these days. Still pretty cool, no?
Prior to having his particular "Château", Didier started by making his first wine at borrowed winery in Nava del Rey, which he was able to release, for the first time after aging, in 1996.
Off to a good start, Didier went on gradually buying vineyards around the town of La Seca (Valladolid) to achieve his dream. Although this was the inception of his "Vin de Château", it wasn't until the years 1999 and 2000 that his dream fully materialized with the completion of the winery's construction and the planting of plots that now surround it.
"Wine starts at the vineyard" Didier Belondrade.
After getting their "Château", Belondrade y Lurton continued the winery's evolution into its core values:
- 2005: Belonndrade y Lurton enters the world of spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts.
- 2007: Belondrade releases its first spontaneous fermentation wine.
- 2010: Obtainment of Organic certification for the winery.
- 2012: Expansion of aging capacity with a brand new barrel room building.
- 2015: Creation of the foundation "Arte y Vino" to promote art and wine in society.
Quinta San Diego, a terroir mosaic.
Belondrade y Lurton currently owns 23 Verdejo plots and a small Tempranillo plot. As mentioned earlier, these were bought up gradually (their last acquisition was on 2016, when they bought the "La Alameda" and "La Cruz" plots) and are distributed around the town of La Seca, 5 minutes away from the town of Rueda, in the province of Valladolid:
- Area: 40 Hectares (~100 Acres). About half of those are under 1 Hectare, with the rest being as big as 4.7 Hectares, approximately.
- Vine age: 30+ years old, on average.
- Altitute: 750 metres (~2,500 feet) over sea level
- Location: La Seca (Valladolid)
- Composition: Varies by plot - Mainly a layer of large pebbles and stones over a sub-layer of clay and sand, covering deep limestone bedrock
Terroirs from Belondrade's "Cantarranas", "Juan", "La Senda", "Ladera" and "Tomillo" plots.
The oldest vines are used for Didier's first wine, Belondrade y Lurton, and the youngest for Quinta Apolonia, his other way of interpreting Verdejo. The winery also owns a small plot of Tempranillo, used to make the third wine in their line up, the Quinta Clarisa rosé.
As a firm advocate of organic viticulture, Belondrade doesn't use neither herbicides nor pesticides, promoting biodiversity in their vineyards, and works on vineyards vine by vine, depending on their closely monitored needs.
Belondrade y Lurton, The Wine
Didier's brainchild -The evolving result of many years of work represented in an average production of 80,000 to 90,000 bottles per year.
Belondrade y Lurton is a 100% Verdejo aged white wine with 13.5% ABV. The wine is produced exclusively from organic grapes harvested by hand in the Quinta San Diego plot mosaic. The wine's complexity arises from the diversity of plots it originates at, each having its own soil composition, planting pattern, exposure and vines (8 to 50 years old). Yields are controlled to about 352 gallons per acre.
Here's the winery's description of their 2016 vintage:
"2016 vintage was very heterogeneous. A soft winer and a rainy spring without extreme temperatures give way to a specially hot summer end. These conditions cuased a very dissimilar maturity, even in the same parcel".
Different plots result in different terroirs, each of them bringing strong personality to this wine. Didier, Marta and Jean are responsible for tempering, balancing and harmoniously blending characters into this Verdejo. And they do it very, very well.
Assemblage of the Belondrade y Lurton Verdejo
As mentioned earlier, aging is part of the core principles that making this wine. Belondrade y Lurton is aged from 9 to 12 months in 300L French oak barrels tailored specifically to each of the plots. The winery works closely with 4 different coopers, who help them adapting the different levels of toasting, origins and grains. After barrel-aging, the wine rests in the bottle for, at least, another 5 to 6 months.
From Luis Gutierrez, at The Wine Advocate (93pt):
"What has to be one of the most elegant wines produced at this address, the 2016 Belondrade y Lurton is not only one of the best whites in Rueda but a true pioneer in the world of modern quality white wines from Spain. It's pure Verdejo from different vineyard plots in the village of La Seca that has been getting fine-tuned, especially when it comes to the integration of the oak with the fruit. 2016 was not an easy year, and they seem to have done a brilliant job. It's subtle, insinuating, nuanced and fresh, with focused flavors and aromas and a very fresh palate with terrific balance. It should age harmoniously in bottle. Kudos to the Belondrade team for a truly great Rueda!
Excited yet? Get Belondrade y Lurton 2016 here at a great price.
Daniel, from Del Duero Wines.