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No. 29

Heroine from the Highlands

«Do you also hope that winter will soon say goodbye? Finally, pleasant warmth again – how nice! The wines of Rosalía Molina prove that cool temperatures have their good side. Thanks to the moderate temperatures, the grapes ripen very slowly and produce particularly intense and fresh wines. Here's to a sunny spring!»

Dominic und Renzo


Bottle of Doña Leo from Viñedos y Bodega Altolandon

«Your dream can come true if you have the courage to pursue it.» – Rosalía Molina

Lots of patience yields lots of flavor

A red-headed whirlwind sweeps across the courtyard, waves with a cheerful laugh at the oncoming car, and expertly looks over the delivered casks – all while finding time to caress the cats. Rosalía Molina is the founder of Bodegas Altolandon. The winery is located 130 kilometers northwest of Valencia, in the «middle of nowhere.» Because the wind is cooler here at 1100 meters above sea level, the grapes stay healthy and mature slowly. «We usually harvest from mid-October to mid-November, about two months later than our neighbors in the lower regions,» says Rosalia. Due to the slowed maturation process, the grapes develop a multi-layered aroma: «It's like simmering at a low temperature while cooking.» One notices that Rosalia is completely devoted to this winery. So, it's also not surprising that her first child was almost born on the winery. «I had three children during three harvests. When I look back today, I don't know how I did it.» While their mother tended to the wine, Rosalia's children grew up among the vines and played between bottles and casks. «Do you know what my oldest son is studying now? Enology! I find that quite gratifying,» says the visibly proud mom. It's nice to know that her enthusiasm for wine has been passed on to her child. Rosalia pauses and smiles, lost in her thoughts as the wind plays with her hair. One then sees her disappear among the rows of vines, her reflex camera at the ready – a stork has just landed on the pasture. Capturing natural spectacles seems to be her gift, whether in the form of photos, or of wine.

Bottle of Altolandon from Viñedos y Bodega Altolandon

Successful with high-altitude air, heart and soul

«We started from less than zero and everything has been built on the basis of work, perseverance and enthusiasm...», says Rosalía Molina. In her mid-20s, the young enologist took a trip to Argentina with her husband Manuel. The two were fascinated by the wines growing at high altitudes. Would something like that also be possible in Spain? They wanted to know and bought a small plot of land in Manuel’s home village, which is located in the farthest corner of the province Cuenca, on a high plateau right next to the only ski resort in the region. They planted the first vines and five years later had to take the furniture out of the first floor of their house to make room for fermenters and tanks. In 2006, the couple, now parents of three young children, ventured into professionalism, building a winery and buying more land. Rosalía was aware that it would be difficult to establish herself as a newcomer from a completely unknown wine region: «In Spain, they don't welcome you with open arms if you're not a well-known brand.» Moreover, organic wine was also a niche product at the time. «So I traveled to Japan and Canada with my wines in my luggage, meeting people and telling them what I was doing. I can't say for sure how many times I traveled around the world…but I’ve used up three passports.» Although she loves to travel and cities like New York or London inspire her, for Rosalía Molina one thing is certain: «The most beautiful place in the world is and always will be Altolandon. Every time when I arrive back here and walk through the vineyards, breathe in this pure air, look up at the sky and think about this spectacular intense blue, I feel indefinitely happy about what we have created here...»

Bottle of Legardeta Syrah from Bodega Chivite

A Syrah – a textbook example

Bodega Chivite has been shaping the Spanish viticulture since 1647. The decisive factor in its success has always been the Legardeta vineyard. Everything is just right here: the climate, soils and topography are destined for growing wine. Located about 40 kilometers southwest of Pamplona, the area is one of the northernmost on the Iberian Peninsula. The nearby Atlantic Ocean provides a temperate climate, allowing for wines with a fresh and elegant profile. At Bodega Chivite, it has always been believed that the quality of a wine does not depend on the potential of a grape variety, but rather on how well a grape variety fits a specific terroir. Legardeta and Syrah seemed made for each other. «Syrah proved to be the ideal variety for our vineyard. It translates our terroir into a wine full of ripeness and minerality. A perfect Syrah,» enthuses Julián Chivite, Legardeta's 11th-generation winemaker. Indeed, the Syrah of Legardeta convinces with a fresh acidity, good tannin structure as well as the typical aromas of cherries, raspberries and spices. In culinary terms, the wine virtually calls for Mediterranean herbs such as thyme or rosemary, and it also combines very well with hearty dishes. Try it with dates wrapped in bacon, the tapas classic from Spain. Quick, easy, surprising – a well-rounded dish!

Download the recipe «Dátiles con bacon» here (in German).

Bottle of Meco Prosecco Rosé DOC Millesimato from Meco

«It's finally here!»

This world novelty provides spring fever

«The spring feeling exists,» research recently confirmed. We owe the typical mood of optimism primarily to the longer days with more sunlight. That makes the happiness hormones bubble up! We have more desire for activities again, want to throw off ballast and try out new things.I wonder if it was spring fever that made the creators of the Consorzio Prosecco DOC allow this revolutionary innovation at their winery? Since the 2020 vintage, it has been permitted to press Prosecco Rosé as well. Out of the 347 Prosecco DOC wineries, 75 immediately started producing a variant in pink, including our favorite producer Meco from the province of Treviso. Needless to say, we couldn't wait to try this novelty. Well, for us, this cork popping heralded the arrival of spring – and easily consoled us over the canceled Sechseläuten event this year in Zürich. What a bouquet of aromas, plus the freshness of a spring breeze and a pleasant tingling sensation on the palate. No question, we are totally «smitten». With wine we look forward to enjoying the first warm rays of sun on our balcony, we will serve it for our Easter brunch and take it to our picnics in the park. Who knows, maybe it will also add a little extra tingle when on a date. One thing is for sure: For us, this wine will be as much a part of spring as primrose flowers and the traditional egg-tapping.

Bottle of La Pica Blanca from La PicaBottle of La Pica Roja Tempranillo Criado en Barrica from La Pica

«Don Quijote never lets you down!»

La Pica – our successful duo from the Mancha

La Mancha – Don Quijote already treated himself to a cup of wine or two here. We at Flaschenpost do the same and have embarked on an adventurous search for a Spanish red wine that meets our high expectations in terms of taste and style. Today we stand by the wines from «La Pica». They are the perfect companions for casual evenings with friends and stories of times gone by. Have you ever fought against windmills? We owe this saying to Don Quijote, the knight from the old Spanish novel. He believed so strongly in his ideals that, for him, windmills became giants with many arms. Anyone who has an extraordinary vision and fights for it with their heart and soul is often ridiculed, but it is not uncommon for something great to emerge in this way. Passion knows no boundaries – as Don Quijote already knew. We should drink a toast to that!

Bottle of Etna Rosso DOC from Tornatore

«Fascination Etna»

Wine from the volcano causes a sensation

The wine world is currently looking towards Sicily with bated breath. Not because Etna has been spitting fire and ash again since mid-February, but because the wine-growing region on the flanks of the volcano is considered a hotspot in Italian viticulture. The mild climate and the soils mineralized by lava and volcanic ash make it possible to press crops of unique finesse. Many famous names have recognized the potential of the Etna DOC and have bought vineyards here in recent years. The Tornatore family, on the other hand, is long-established. Over 150 years ago, Francesco Tornatore's great-grandfather planted the first vines on the north side of the volcano. The picturesque tenuta is located in the middle of a Mediterranean paradise of vines and olive trees. Despite the beauty and generosity of this area, many have emigrated away. While Castiglione di Sicilia was still a thriving agricultural center in the mid-20th century with a population of around 10,000, today there are only about 3,000. Francesco Tornatore is glad that he has managed to preserve the heritage of his ancestors. After all, he has experienced the uniqueness of this corner of the world since he was a child. And what is his relationship with the volcano? Does he see it as his greatest friend or his greatest enemy? «My relationship with Etna is peaceful, confident... Often I don't even notice when it snorts and spits again. It's usually then that concerned friends call to warn me.» Year after year, Tornatore's game with fire finds a fascinating finale in a glass of wine – who wouldn't be serenely confident?

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