D.O.P. Utiel-Requena – D.O.P. Valencia – D.O. Cava
The conviction to follow a dream
How Bodegas Hispano+Suizas began.
Three men, soul brothers, share the same dream having spent half their lives in the world of wine; make vines they wanted to make, starting with vine through to the final label. Between the whims of a strat up winery by someone new to the sector or a wine made to meet market trends there is a third way Marc Grin, Pablo Ossorio and Rafael Navarro wanted to develop a very personal project and gave it the name Bodegas Hispano+Suizas after the origins of the partners.
Independence and Contrasting experience together with the three key elements for a good product traditional viticulture, innovative winemaking, and experience in exporting. Rafael, Pablo and Marc have been free to create a small masterpiece.
Their aim was to make high quality wines; accessible to the growing number of lovers of good wine requires daily care and attention from best way of pruning to the components of the final blend, having been very careful and patient during the vintage and knowing the right combination and use of oak barrels. The objective is ambitious: to make masterpieces, distinctive yet accessible to the consumer. From this idea the wines take their names all having something in common, expressions used in classical music. A good wine, in order not to be out of tune, has to come out of the bottle like a symphony in which each instrument has it place. This is the dream of Bodegas Hispano+Suizas, which is now beginning to take shape.
The Gamble in Valencia: Utiel-Requena.
Bodegas Hispano+Suizas is in the D.O.P. Utiel-Requena, one of the viticultural areas in Spain with the greatest tradition,and it is here they decided halfway between the ‘meseta’, the high plateau of central Spain, and the Mediterranean, has an ideal climatic combination to produce great quality grapes with distinctive characteristics.
Marc, who studied Publicity and Public Relations, is responsible for designing the corporate image of Bodegas Hispano+Suizas. He has always been involved in the world of wine and wineries, starting his career in exports at a large winery, Swiss owned, in Valencia. When the Hispano +Suizas project was being developed in 2006, Mark’s role involved a combination of working in the winery as well as focusing on the commercial side of the business together with his role of Area Manager for Bodegas Murviedro. Originally from the canton of Vaud, in the French speaking part of Switzerland, he is the Helvetian part of this project.
Viticulturalist and Winemaker. He consults for 3 wineries in the D.O.P. Utiel-Requena and is at the Forefront of viticulture in the region of Utiel-Requena, knowing how to combine modernity with the introduction of new varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Petit Verdot, with tradition respecting the land and surroundings. His main objectives are in the search for quality, caring for the land and continuous innovation. He works in the vineyards every day and his hands on approach result in getting the best out of each variety, work that continues throughout the year.
Being winemaker for Hispano+Suizas is a personal commitment by Pablo, in addition with own oenological consultancy. Following his graduation, first in his year at the Escuela de Enología (Winemaking School) Requena, he worked in several wineries in Spain as well as in Italy and Argentina, where he could put into practice his academic studies and learn new winemaking techniques. This investigation continues to push him to study and improve every aspect of winemaking in order to make great wines. Among his many awards, the most notable are those of Best Winemaker in the Region of Valencia in 2008 and the The Winemaker with the best scores in Spain, in the Guía de la SEVI 2011. These awards together with his talent for communication allow him to spread the culture of wine in a didactic way.
Bodegas Hispano+Suizas has 61 hectares of their own vineyards, of which 46 ha surround the winery while another 15 ha are just 500 m from the installations.
The planted grape varieties are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Bobal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Petit Verdot. There are just 4000 vines planted per hectare which allows us to work in a very precise way to achieve the best quality of grapes that one can see reflected in the wines of Bodegas Hispano+Suizas. The production is between 6000 and 8000kg per hectare, barely 2kg per vine. Due to the different grape varieties and types of wines that we make, we are able to harvest during a period of nearly 3 months, from the cava whose vintage begins at the start of August until the end of October with the red wine vintage.
The grapes are collected in special boxes, each one weighing just 15kg. We only harvest in the morning in order to keep the grapes at an optimum temperature until they reach the winery. The pickers only select the healthiest, completely mature bunches of grapes.
Once at the winery, the small boxes are stacked on pallets and put into two cold storage rooms where they remain for three days at a temperature of -10°C.
This process allows us to break the cellular walls of the grapes in this way we are able to extract the better aromas and flavors than we would be able to at ambient temperatures. This cold temperature also controls against any premature fermentation.
Fermentation – White Wines
We select the grapes box by box followed by destalking and crushing.
For the wines and the base wine for the cava: We put all the crushed grapes into a temperature controlled stainless steel tank and subject them to a cold peculiar maceration for more than 36 hours. The grapes then are put into a pneumatic press and gently pressed at no more than 0.5 bars. The must that is extracted from the press is decanted in a static position during 24 hours. Only the clean must is taken and put into the new American oak barrels, with a capacity of 400 litres, to ferment at a temperature of 14°C. Once the fermentation is completed, the wine is left on its leas until is bottled.
Fermentation – Red Wines
We select the grapes box by box followed by destalking and putting the grapes into new American oak barrels with a capacity of 400 litres where we have previously removed the top of the barrel.
A stainless steel panel with chilled water running through it is placed in each barrel in order to cold macerate the grapes at 8°C for 4 days. Every day we manually submerge the cap, the mass of grape skins, barrel by barrel and once fermentation begins we turn off the chilled water. The temperature in the barrel can reach a maximum of 26°C during fermentation.
We only use pneumatic presses at a pressure of 0.5 bars to avoid squashing the pips. Pressing the grapes with low pressure gives us a very low quantity but very high quality must.
During the pressing of the red wines we use the barrel as a mode of transport and with the help of a large funnel we pour the fermenting wine into the press. In the case of the Cava Rosé, Tantum Ergo Pinot Noir, the previously chilled grapes are pressed immediately in order to extract from the skin on a small portion of the colour that provides this particular this particular rosé colour.
In order to bottle to the highest standard we have a mobile bottling line that allows us to work to the strictest standards of quality and hygiene under our constant supervision and control of the wines. We box the bottle wines manually.
We only age our wines in very high quality French and American Oak barrels. The French Allier barrels are 225 litres, medium toast plus while the American barrels have a capacity of 400 litres.
Each of the grapes varieties is aged separately and the final blend being made only days prior to bottling, giving each variety the optimum length of time for ageing.
Following fermentation in barrel and batonnage on leas, we bottle the base Cava adding yeast and cane sugar, called ‘tirage’, for the second fermentation in bottle. We leave the bottles in special pallets for this process, the fermentation takes place very slowly at a low temperature, in this way the bubbles are wall integrated and the wine is smooth and delicate on the palate.
Depending on the cava and its evolution we leave it to age for several months or years at a stable, controlled temperature. After, we taste the cava and feel that it has the elegance and finesse that we are looking for it is then disgorged. This is done manually in small lots. The cava is now clear with the lees, which adds body and richness, now settled in the neck of the bottle. To remove the lees we freeze the top of the bottle where the lees have settled, then remove the crown cap, used because it can withstand the pressure during the second fermentation, then lees taken out. We then replace the lost cava from another bottle of cava already clarified following which we insert the cork and put wire around it to hold it in place. Putting on the capsules and placing the bottles in boxes is also done manually.