Continuing up the ladder, the Castro de Valtuille is a noticeable step up in complexity and polish, coming from just three cooler plots in Valtuille chosen specifically for their freshness: Cabanelas (a clay rich site), Mata los Pardos (a sandier site abutting the Villegas cru), and El Val, the stoniest and coolest site of the three. Here, we begin to see the deeper/longer maceration time with more whole cluster: roughly 50% whole cluster, macerated uniquely in large neutral 5000L foudres for some 45-60 days depending on the vintage; 95+ year old average vine age. No pumping or pigeage is done, just manually wetting the cap once a day. Eventually, the wines are aged in old, neutral barrel for a year. Um, yet again, the value quotient here is nuts. Get a 6pk/cs and thank me later….
“The very recently bottled 2018 El Castro de Valtuille is serious, a little closed but nuanced and layered, with the insinuating perfume of the great Mencías, produced with field blends from the old vineyards in the village of Valtuille, Garnacha Tintorera, Trousseau (Merenzao or Bastardo) and even some whites. This fermented with 50% full clusters in 5,000-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts (they don’t spend a cent on yeasts here) and matured in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels for around one year. It has the profile of a grand vin, but it is sold at a very affordable price. It has a vibrant palate, with great freshness and very fine tannins, clean, long, tasty, clean… 7,000 bottles were filled in May 2020.” 93 Luis Gutierrez