LA MANCHA, Spain
Nestled in the village of Quero, in the beating heart of La Mancha, an area famed for historic winegrowing and cheese production, Julián Ruiz is the benchmark farmer for organic polyculture in his region. He grows lettuce, spinach, onions, peppers, potatoes and produces literal tons of fermented black garlic destined for the umami crazed Japanese market. In addition to his three gardens, Julián cares for a sprawling 38 hectares of sparsely planted vineyards including some of the oldest, ungrafted vines around. Soft spoken and profoundly curious, Julián is the kind of agricultural sage who can easily get lost in musing over the intricacies of his work. His wines are historically modelled, oriented around supremely long macerations and minimal fussing.
Usually abandoned to cheap brandy production, Julián is giving La Mancha's Airén grape a rustic treatment focused on structure. Three months of maceration with a super light touch during ferment before gentle pressing to steel for a few months aging, this wine is everything you’ve hoped for.