Quinta da Muradella

VISIT IMPORTER'S WEBSITE
Country of Origin: Spain
Location: Monterrei, Galicia
People: Jose Luis Mateo, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Certified Organic

Items

Quinta da Muradella 2012 Blanco (Dona Blanca), Gorvia, Monterrei DO Login WA 92 In Stock
Quinta da Muradella 2010 'Muradella' Blanco, Monterrei DO Login In Stock
Quinta da Muradella 2012 'Muradella' Blanco, Monterrei DO Login WA 94 In Stock
Quinta da Muradella 2015 'Alanda' Blanco, Monterrei DO Login
Quinta da Muradella 2015 Tinto, Gorvia, Monterrei DO Login Special Order Item

Media Links
Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews: A Week in Galicia
Spanish Wine Lover: Quinta da Muradella: the Quiet Search for Wine Purity

Quinta da Muradella is a winery but also a passionate quest of one man: José Luis Mateo. José has spent the last 30 years exploring the viticulture traditions and history of Monterrei. At first, he studied the history and spoke with the older generations as a way of learning how to make good wine in Monterrei. They referenced the region’s history of field blends and its diversity of grapes. As he dove deeper, José Luis Mateo’s realized there was a regional winemaking history on the verge of extinction, and that he was going to save it! While he is indeed a vigneron making exceptionally balanced and beautiful terroir-driven wines, he is also a preservationist who has taken over the responsibility of recovering and saving the lost grape varieties and vineyards of Monterrei. In a certain way, this winery is like a liquid book of history.

José Luis Mateo started Quinta da Muradella in 1991, naming his winery after a Celtic fort from the 3rd century BC located near the town of Verín. He produces wines from 20 hectares throughout Monterrei. 15 hectares are estate vineyards, which have been certified organic since 2005 by CRAEGA (Cjo. Regulador de Agricultura Ecológica de Galicia). The rest of the different parcels are in strict regiment but leased, and/or in direct supervision. The parcels contain a cornucopia of indigenous grape vines. All new plantings are propagated from selection massale material from the oldest vineyards found in the mountains. In the cellar, all ferments are wild from indigenous yeast, and the wines are neither fined nor filtered. Wine production is extremely small (total winery capacity is 75,000 bottles) and everything is done by hand.

Today (2018), José is one of only 26 wine producers labeling under the Monterrei Denominación de Origen. He is the only producer recuperating the winemaking history and tradition.

The Monterrei Terroir: The region of Monterrei is situated in the southern part of the province of Ourense in Galicia, and is within a large bowl that forms a valley running from north to south along the Tamega River, which feeds into the Douro. This part of the Galician interior has characteristics in between both the Atlantic zone and the Continental, with humid parts and areas that can reach extreme temperatures. It is furthest from the Atlantic Ocean, and its yearly rainfall is below average compared to other regions in Galicia. These inland continental conditions result in a drier, warmer climate than western Galician regions. One can find grapevines planted from the valley floor or middle of the hillside slopes all the way up to the high mountain areas, which can show a steep grade. The altitudes range from 360 meters (1,100 feet) in elevation all the way up to some vineyards in the mountain zone where they can reach 850 meters (2,800 feet). The western part (left bank of river) of the region has the oldest geology, with a granitic substrate, and the eastern part (right bank) is comprised of slates and clays with a presence of iron in the subsoil. There is evidence of viticulture in the area from before the Roman era, although during that period is when it grew to sizeable presence. Today, Monterrei has the most vineyards planted in all of Galicia (with +3800 hectares!), but most of the production goes into bulk wine.

Jancis Robinson 3/2013
“Although it is fascinating to taste wines from these relatively obscure varieties, what shines here is ‘the soul of Monterrei’ and the deft, light-handed winemaking of a skillful and intuitive winemaker.”


Wine Advocate 10/2013
"Quinta da Muradella was created in 1993 by Jose Luis Mateo with 15 hectares of owned vineyards in different zones of the Monterrei appellation, some on the valley floor, some on the slopes and some others in the mountain zones where some vineyards reach 100 years of age. He works 20 different plots. All his vineyards are organically certified. He makes a total of 40,000 bottles per year, and experiments with different grapes, different zones, fermenting and aging vessels (wood, stainless steel, concrete) trying to understand the region and the grapes and what works best. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand the process he uses to make some of the wines, and you’ll see that he moves the wines from inox to barrel, from cement to whatever, in what seems to be quite a complicated operation. Some things work and some don’t. He makes varietal wines to examine the different grapes and their potential, he tries different blends, and his ultimate idea is to identify the ideal blend of ancient varieties, the ones that were planted in the region before phylloxera, not only to make the wine, but to plant those varieties already mixed in the vineyard.

His collection of wines is completely different from the rest of the wines produced in the appellation. If you ever visit Verin, which has a beautiful old town center and an impressive castle, you should make sure you visit the Mateo family’s bar, A Canteira (the name comes from their father who was a canteiro, a stone mason), where they serve their own house wine, both white and red, made by Jose Luis. It is the best house wine I’ve ever tried in a restaurant. The locals just don’t know how lucky they are. About the person himself, Jose Luis Mateo is extremely humble, a quality I find in the best people across different professions – very generous with his time and everything else. He’s passionate about what he’s doing, and he considers his work a long-term project to bring value and quality to the wines of his region, 'hoping that someone will take over and continue the things that I’m doing,' he said. When I asked him what he’d change if he could start again he was very clear. 'I’d focus on the mountain vineyards,' he told me. I asked what if it had to be somewhere else in Galicia? 'To me the place would be Ribeiro.' And now for something completely different! Jose Luis has been making a range of varietal red wines that he was reluctant to show, since quantities are sometimes tiny, but I found some of them too good not to talk about them; some are also non-DO wines declassified to the Vino de Mesa category."

Reviews

  • Quinta da Muradella 2012 'Muradella' Blanco, Monterrei DO
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 94 (1/1/2015)

    The white 2012 Muradella is pure Treixadura from 15 year old vines on clay and iron soils plus some grapes selected from older (25-30 years) vines on sandy granite soils with showy aromas of exotic spices, fennel, aniseed and mainly soil notes. It has a Chablis-like minerality, hinting on being saline. It has intense, piercing flavors, high pitched, very fresh and again mineral with some austere, herbal and spicy tones. This is simply superb. Ready to drink or to slowly develop in bottle. A pure, clean, mineral white at the quality helm of Galicia.
  • Quinta da Muradella 2012 Blanco (Dona Blanca), Gorvia, Monterrei DO
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92 (4/1/2016)

    Despite what many might think, 2012 was cooler in Monterrei than 2011. The 2012 Gorvia Blanco is a varietal Dona Blanca from a single plot of vineyards planted some 26 years ago. But it's distinctly riper than 2013 or 2014. The vineyard is the warmest of all the vineyards worked by Quinta da Muradella. It's a balanced vintage, with riper aromas of yellow plums and plenty of pollen and beeswax aromas. I also tasted a bottle of the 2008, a cool vintage that proprietor Jose Luis Mateo had kept to follow up on the evolution of Dona Blanca; it is a grape that is thought to be neutral and destined for early-consumption wines. Not at all! At least in the able hands of Mateo and the mineral slate soils where the vines are planted. The nose is exuberant full of chamomile and pollen aromas beautifully perfumed. Despite being the warmest of all the vineyards, the wine is surprisingly fresh, with very tasty flavors and a supple, umami-driven finish. The acidity will become more integrated with time in bottle, as I've seen in the 2008.