“We live and work to produce one of the finest red wines in Spain; a wine with the character, goodness and strength of the pilgrim who devotes each day to preparing his spirit for its culminating moment, because uncorking a great wine is like reaching Plaza del Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela for the pilgrim. So before sipping those last drops, you cast your mind back and realise that the best thing was not getting there but the whole journey: every day, every supplication, every friend made along the way, every bottle of wine….”
The wines, the vistas and the experience at Huerta de Albalá were as beautiful, honest and passionate as Mr. Carsi’s words above. We visited his family’s vineyard and winery in Arcos de la Frontera in Andalucía during our two-week stay.
A mere 15 minute drive from our apartment took us through the rolling hills with mountains of Grazalema as a stunning backdrop.
Tours and tastings are by appointment only, but easy to arrange through the website. Due to a fateful turn of events (our tour host called out that day), so we were unexpectedly greeted and hosted by the director of exports, Ms. Teresa Aumesquet. She was highly knowledgeable about the history of the vineyard, the wine making process and the wines; but also masterfully conveyed the family’s passion, principles, values and vision.
The grapes grown on-site are for the red wines and include Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tintilla de Rota. The grapes for the white wine – Chardonnay – are grown at a vineyard in nearby Jerez. All the grapes for Huerta de Albalá are harvested by hand and used to produce five distinct wines – a 100% Chardonnay Barbazul Blanco; a 100% Syrah Barbazul Rosado; a five-month barrel aged Barbazul which combines Tintilla de Rota, Syrah Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; a 12-month barrel aged, 100% Syrah Taberner; and a 14-month aged, 100% Syrah Taberner Nº1.
And speaking of the barrels – Huerta de Albalá uses only French oak.
Ms. Aumesquet led us through the facility offering details and insights into the wine making process and the long history of wine production in the region – dating back to Roman times (2,000 years ago!). Miss A, potentially our future wine maker, is always full of questions – How many barrels do you have? How many different kinds of wine do you produce? How many bottles does that make? While Mr. N is far more focused on the visual details – the architecture and graphic elements found on barrels and bottles.
You can find detailed information on the wines, the vineyards and the facilities here. Much like Ms. Aumesquet (and this is something I very much appreciated about her), we don’t like to get too much into the tastes, aromas and qualities of the wine. Wine is an art, and like art, highly subjective. Don’t get me wrong, there are clearly differences between high quality wines and those produced merely for quantity, but when it comes to the sensory experience – I find it to be highly personal and individual where any number of things can influence your perception. So, we’ll leave the discerning of characteristics to the experts and instead offer these words from Mr. Carsi (because there’s no need to say it differently or better):
“…each bottle contains a little part of the sentiments, the dreams and soul of all the people who made this possible….This is the essence of our wines, and it is to this end that we continue working steadfastly on each and every vintage, with the same ambition, determination and perseverance as at the beginning; not to conquer the world, but simply not to lose the soul that one day we poured into a dream called Huerta de Albalá.”
This passion, ambition and soul positively influenced our experience was nothing short of a sensory treat. And in our opinion – the wines, particularly the Taberner and Taberner Nº1, were unique, fulfilling and possibly the best we had in Andalucía. (And the kids very much enjoyed their 7-up and Don Perolete patatas fritas produced in Arcos.)
Bodega Huerta de Albalá – CA-6105, Km4, 11630, Cádiz, España
Tel: 00 34 956 101 300
To schedule a visit: firstname.lastname@example.org