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Veronica Ortega

“10 great Spanish winemakers you need to know”  - Decanter 2020

"Top 100 Wine Discoveries 2020" - Wine Advocate 2020

Verónica’s background is impressive. She trained at Domaine de la Romanée Conti and Domaine Comte Armand in Burgundy, worked the harvests with Daphne Glorian and Álvaro Palacios in Priorat, and was winemaker at Domaine Laurent Combier in Crozes-Hermitage. Upon her return to Spain, she worked with Raúl Perez in Bierzo from whose cellar she experimented before setting out with her project in Bierzo, Spain back in 2012.

 

She loves the region of Bierzo, for its history, the authenticity of its wines, and its strong Atlantic influence. Verónica Ortega mainly works with old Mencía vineyards using organic precepts. Vinification is carried out traditionally, with spontaneous fermentation using native yeasts and low amounts of sulfites. Wines that are faithful to the terroir, with character and a great personality. 

 

“I was attracted by Mencía, but also by the climate and the region’s great wine-growing tradition,” she explains. “I really liked the wines and the way Mencía manages to express different soils and terroir in a way similar to Pinot Noir”.

The white wine CAL (meaning limestone) is unusual because the vines were planted on an old limestone quarry (at 650m altitude), a very rare soil in Bierzo. Fermentation was spontaneous with native yeasts in French oak barrels and clay amphorae and matured for 13 months in the same containers. Veronica often does not need to use any sulfur because of the wine's natural strength with a very low ph – 2.77 in 2017 for example.

 

ROC comes from a plateau and upper slopes planted with 100-year-old vines, mostly Mencía, but as with all old vineyards, with a myriad of other varieties at small quantities. The soils are very stony with a sandy, clay base in which Mencía thrives, and lower down the slope where there is less sand and deeper clay soils that tend to give a more concentrated wine.