In Rioja, the Garnacha grape variety is known to many local vine growers as “La Maldita,” meaning “cursed.” Low yields and a thin, sensitive skin make this varietal an extremely difficult grape to cultivate. As a result, Garnacha fell out of favor of many farmers, with the majority choosing to replace their plantings with less temperamental varieties. Once representing roughly half of the entire region under vine, today it accounts for less than 10% of all vineyard plantings in Rioja.
Produced by one of the oldest winemaking families in Rioja. The entire process, from vineyard to bottle, is overseen by an expert winemaker with global acclaim for his handling of the Garnacha grapes. La Maldita hopes to inspire a resurgence of the Garnacha varietal in the Rioja region of showcasing that world-class Garnacha can still be produced there.
The grapes are sourced primarily from estate-owned vineyards located largely in the sub-region of Rioja Baja. Soils consist of loose gravel and alluvial silts which help with drainage and contribute a hint of minerality to the wine. Vineyards are situated at elevations upwards of 700 meters with southwestern exposures. Use of the trellis training method encourages even ripening in this cooler microclimate. A low average planting density of just over 3,000 vines/ hectare allows the fruit maximum sun exposure and airflow to further encourage phenolic ripeness prior to harvest. All 80 hectares of vineyards from which this wine is produced are sustainably farmed.
Manually harvested in late October, the grapes immediately undergo a cold soak in stainless steel tanks to capture the freshness of the fruit. Fermentation takes place in the same tanks. The bulk of the wine rests in stainless steel for a few months on the lees, while a small percentage ages in small French and American oak barrels for a hint of complexity.