Casa Lo Alto’s winemaking project preserves biodiversity and is open to wine tourism for lovers of unique wines
The latest vintage wines are now resting in the peace and quiet of the concrete tanks and oak foudres of Casa Lo Alto. These are the 2020 wines, an excellent-quality vintage due to the fantastic weather conditions of the previous winter and spring, which left the vineyards with very good water levels. During the harvest, it did not rain for the entire month of October, so the quality of the grapes could not have been better. But it will still be some time before these wines are released.
When Bodegas Murviedro, the Spanish subsidiary of the Schenk Group, acquired the estate in the municipality of Venta del Moro, in the Valencian region of La Plana de Requena and Utiel, in 2017, it began a deep transformation in the philosophy of the vineyard work and wine production there. This new era is based on biodiversity and protecting the environment. The aim is to reflect the character of each plot of this terroir in the personality of each wine.
During this time, deeper knowledge of each plot has been gained and a project to analyse the subsoil with ultrasound is planned. Investigations will be completed with the digging of soil pits at various points.
A thorough Forest Management Plan is already underway in the woods surrounding the estate to lay the foundations for its sustainability. This will enhance its protective effect in filtering out possible pests and outside influences. In the first phase, work will be carried out to achieve a balance between the native plant species and local fauna will be encouraged.
The estate is considered as an environmental whole
The main house and winery are on top of a hill (hence its historic name, the “High House”) in the middle of the vineyards at an altitude of 750 metres. The different orientations and inclinations of the plots create the conditions that have made this unique vineyard estate stand out since it was founded in 1796.
The current project is based on organic cultivation with environmentally sustainable viticulture practices. The 150 hectares of the estate are considered as a whole and life in the almond groves and the pine and oak forests interacts with the vineyard. To achieve this, environmental biodiversity is encouraged and the use of synthetic chemical products is avoided to maintain an active soil type, rich in micro fauna. “That is why each plot is different and unique,” says winemaker Víctor Marqués, technical director of Lo Alto, “That differentiation is what we want to seal into a bottle of wine.”
The winemaking process uses a system of minimum intervention and wild yeasts in order to express the characteristics of the varietals, the vineyard and its environment. The idea is to restore the prominence of the grape and the terroir, using ageing formats that ensure a high fruit load and ideal acidity for good development in the bottle.
Casa Lo Alto’s single-vineyard wines (Vinos de Paraje)
Casa Lo Alto currently produces three wines from the DO Valencia that can be defined as “de paraje”, meaning they come from a rural habitat with its own soil characteristics. Each one is made from one of the area’s native varietals, perfectly adapted to the continental climate, with slight influences from the Mediterranean Sea. As Víctor Marqués says, “The wines from the Casa Lo Alto site have a personality of their own that characterises them.”
Manzán 2018 is a red wine made with Bobal grapes from three plots planted between 1940 and 1965. The vines are gobelet trained, a structure that saves water and protects against too much sun. The grapes were harvested at the end of September and different percentages of whole bunches were used. The rest of the grapes were destemmed without crushing. Fermentation begins spontaneously with indigenous yeasts. After pressing, the wine is transferred to concrete tanks and foudres where malolactic fermentation is completed. It is then aged for 10 months on its lees. It is bottled without clarification, going through a five-micron filter.
Rocha 2018 is a Garnacha red wine from a single vineyard planted with gobelet-trained vines in 1980. 2018 was cool and rainy, which slowed ripening. The grapes were harvested in mid-September and different percentages of whole bunches were used. The rest of the grapes were destemmed without crushing. Spontaneous fermentation was begun with indigenous yeasts. After pressing, the wine is transferred to concrete tanks and foudres, where malolactic fermentation is completed. It is then aged for 10 months on its lees. It is bottled without clarification, passing through a five-micron filter.
Trena 2019 is a white wine made with Tardana, a native grape variety with thick skin and long cycle, very well acclimatised to the inland ecosystem of the province of Valencia at more than 700 metres above sea level.
The El Tresnal plot is on a chalky clay base. The 2019 vintage was harvested on 15 October by hand in 15-kilo boxes. Alcoholic fermentation was spontaneous, using wild yeasts in concrete tanks and large-capacity oak foudres, where the wine rested on its fine lees until bottling. It was bottled without clarification and with light filtering.
A house that captivates wine lovers
The renovation of the original house has recently been completed, respecting the original architecture, to offer a high-quality wine tourism service. If you want to know why Casa Lo Alto wines are so special, you will have to come and see. Don’t delay, book your experience now!
To get to Casa Lo Alto from the A3 road it is best to come through Requena, heading towards the town of Los Isidros. To do this, take exit 291 from Valencia towards the N-III and Requena, following the A-32 to Los Isidros. As soon as you leave the village, take the turn to the right on to the CV-475. Shortly after passing the village of Los Cojos, turn right on to the CV452, and you will soon be there.
The GPS coordinates are: Latitude 39.437899 Longitude -1.320505.
The tour of Casa Lo Alto consists of a walk through the vineyard environment, with a tour of the different plots, the woods and the winemaking process in the winery’s facilities, ending with a tasting of the three Paraje de Casa Lo Alto wines.
The tour costs €12 per person and you can do it any day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays, always by appointment. To book, call 962 955 998.