Introducing Can’ Leandro
- from Ontinyent, Valencia
There is a revolution happening in Spain, that’s keenly felt in the South-East of the country. Wine has been produced here for thousands of years, so it is very much a case of rediscovery rather than discovery. For most of the 20th century these were places of low prices and anonymous bulk wines. Now though, a loose collective of likeminded young producers are taking the best of their heritage, combining old vines, great soils and indigenous varieties to produce wines of real character and style.
This is the definitely the case with Can’ Leandro, which began in its current iteration in 2013. Gabriel and Alberto Sanchis Mestre had the vision to stop selling their families grapes in bulk, to reclaim lost vineyards and make their own wines. The winery is a humble place. All the magic happens in the gnarled, old vineyards in limestone soils around the town of Ontinyent – roughly 1 hour South of Valencia and 1 hour North of Alicante.
It rains here and that is key. Compared to Jumilla which receives around 250-350mm of rain, here they get two to three times that, and you can see it in the green vegetation that lines the vineyards. Also the soils are limestone based, which encourages deep roots, providing the vine with enough water but low fertility, both of which are perfect for high quality grapes.
- They are organic, though the certification process takes time the wines will finally be labelled as such from the 2023 harvest.
- They believe in their old vines, the vast majority of which are 50-90 years old.
- They also believe in the indigenous varieties…
Merseguera is the main white variety, and makes up 80% of La Vella.
The reds are based on two varieties, the more famous Monastrell and the almost unique Bonicaire. The latter is incredibly elegant and pure, they use it to calm Monastrell in La Lloma. The two wines mentioned are their estate wines.
They also have the parcel wines, L’Arenal which is Monastrell on sand over limestone, this is a more elegant expression.
Then there is Alt de les Flors, which is on pure limestone and delivers a more tannic but still refined wine.
In the winery they handle everything in small batches. Care must be taken not to oxidise Merseguera and lees ageing is vital to provide extra texture. The reds see different proportions of whole bunch use and go through varying degrees of extended maceration. The thought process being that whole bunch provides lightness, elegance and complexity. Extended maceration helps the tannins to bind in the winemaking process, fall out of solution and therefore you are left with a smoother and elegant mouthfeel. In the parcel wines, this involves taking the tops off the 500L barrels and fermenting inside them.
These are “different, delicious, authentic” wines with a great story, great value, and really look the part too. The wines have been really well received since launching them at the February trade tasting, and we think they’ll go from strength to strength!
Let Mike Best MW, our product manager for Spain, tell your more about the wines in this brief video – click here.