The dawn of a new era

March 26th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Today is the first day of a new era in our bodega! As we made the first bottling of our 2009 wine for the Spanish market, so we introduced a new label for our Casal Caeiro brand – but not only that…..

You will notice that we have added the term ‘Sobre Lias’ to the label (or ‘Sur Lie’ as the French would call it). In recent years this expression has started to pop up on a few premium wines in our area – and I say premium simply because they are always a limited production, sold at a higher price. In our case, not so.

The main reason that we are always slower than others to release our new vintage is because of this process. Every wine that we make is aged on it’s lees for an extended period of between 5 and 6 months, and is therefore never available before April/May at the earliest.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, the ‘lees’ or ‘lias’ are the exhausted yeast cells that fall to the bottom of the tank during fermentation. This does not mean however, that they are rendered completely useless, as even at this point they still contain certain nutrients that feed the wine, adding depth of flavour and greater complexity. Angela will happily explain all the technical stuff, telling you about the manoproteins and how they can help to protect against oxidation and reduce astringency etc., but the long and short of it is that it makes our wine taste better – and that’s all you really need to understand!

Of course the process does have to be controlled, and to start off with the ‘lees’ have to be clean and healthy, otherwise they will simply taint the wine with reductive ‘off’ flavours. Even more importantly, when the wine is on it’s lees it has to be tasted at very regular intervals (as we always do anyway), in order to chose the optimum moment to rack it off. No, I am not being rude, racking is simply the term for drawing the clean wine from the top of the tank, leaving the lees behind at the bottom, once they have finally completed their work.

To summarise, our philosophy, is, was and always will be, to make the best wines that we can – wines that have longevity, and do not fall apart after a couple of months in bottle. Ageing our wines on the lees has played an important part in this process for years now, the only difference being that we have now chosen to advertise it on our labels, not only as a point of difference, but also giving you and your customers a bit of ‘added value’ for the same money.

As always, selling you a premium product at a very modest price!

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