Juan Carlos Sancha – Rioja Alta
Juan Carlos Sancha, a professor of oenology at the University of La Rioja, founded his eponymous winery in Rioja Alta along the border of D.O.Ca. Rioja, in the coldest zone of this wine denomination. Along with various plots of old vine Garnacha (up to 95 years old), Juan Carlos Sancha’s winery also has vines of minority varieties such as Tempranillo Blanco, Maturana Tinta and Maturana Blanca, varieties that he and his university colleague Fernando Martinez de Toda discovered, rescued from extinction, and developed. The wine-making philosophy is based on organic practices and minimal intervention in all stages of the process, the aim being to preserve the purity and clearness of their carefully selected grapes to produce personal, elegant and powerful wines.
The Tempranillo Blanco has fantastic breadth across the palate with chilled fleshy white fruits including pear, melon and gentle citrus. Known as Trousseau in the Jura & Bastardo in Portugal, the Maturana Tinta shows lovely berry fruits with cranberry and raspberry. The Monastel de Rioja (not to be confused with Monastrell) has a lovely swoosh of rhubarb acidity and gentle dark fruits that contribute to the great length and pleasing volume of this wine. The Peña el Gato Garnacha shows dense black fruits with notes of smoke and dried flowers. Great old vine complexity. The Natural is from 100 year old vines, is fermented and aged in new 500 litre French oak for 11 months, uses wild yeasts and sees zero added sulphur