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Bodegas Menade

Bodegas Menade may have been founded as recently as 2005, but Alejandra, Marco and Richard are the sixth generation of a longstanding wine family. The formal family history started in 1820, when their ancestors tended vineyards in a wide variety of sites that today form part of DO Rueda. Vinification was done in an underground facility in La Seca hewn out of solid rock at the beginning of the 19th Century, which we have recently rechristened Menade by Secala. Back then, La Seca was a thriving community with heaps of small cellars but sadly these have now mostly disappeared, over time simply fallen into hopeless disrepair.

 

Traditionally each generation of the family had used this historic site as their initial launching pad as each embarked on their own quality crusade; but when it was their turn in the early 2000s, they decided to have a fresh start not just philosophically (our tenets to respect nature and go back to the old ways) but in a location of their own – with Alejandra running exports and communications, Marco the viticulturist, and Richard the oenologist.

"We seek to return to Mother Nature what mankind stole from her"

 

The key aim is to achieve harmony in tradition and technology, and that, our vines be truly cosseted. Therefore they work in tune with the environment, using the natural resources available, and exercise ‘healthcare’ on the basis of proven, age old practical cultural conditions.

 

At Menade, therefore, no chemical treatments are used, instead opting for a natural approach consisting plant-based infusions (nettles, cinnamon…) or whey, which are kinder on the soil, plants and naturall yeasts.

 

In a similar way, the insect population that teams in the soils are far from being their enemies, but rather trusted allies that help ward off pests. When a problem arises, for example ladybirds and red spiders – the latter are attracted by spraying the problem area with diluted vanilla, and once they have feasted and done their job a diluted vinegar infusion is sprayed which persuades them home to chill out in their ‘hotels’: a series of pollination gardens consisting of a profusion of aromatic plants where both insects and lizards co-exist in harmony.

 

The vineyard ecosystem also includes a series of mobile trees and bushes which the purpose is to teach which are most beneficial in the many vineyard parcel holdings so an environment with biodiversity can be built. The polyspecific garden is the first thing you see when you visit their winery, now boasting more than 40 species native to Castilla y León, humming with life all year long.

 

All these measures play an important part in their wines, for not only do they taste good but they are both allergen and histamine free. The labelling announces they are ecological and organic but it is nice to know Menade is truly green and natural.