El Escocés Volante
Norrel Robertson MW is a flying winemaker who achieved the coveted Master of Wine title in 2000, which he followed up with a Post Graduate Diploma in Enology form Lincoln University in New Zealand in 2003. Known for his skill in creating some of northern Spain’s very best Garnacha wines, Norrel was inducted into the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino in 2020. Simon and Ben met Norrel after tasting a bottle of his exceptionally good 2016 vintage Old Vine Garnacha, a wine we just had to can! Although Norrel is a Scotsman, Spain has been his family’s adopted home since 2003.
The vineyards are based around the towns of Villarroya de la Sierra, Cervera de la Cañada and Torralba. Catalayud is located in the northeast of Spain, close to Zaragoza.
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They recently invested in a kiln to create our own biochar from vine cuttings: this contributes to carbon sequestration, mitigating the effects of climate change and also increases water retention in the soil.
“Sustainability is key and for us, this means building our business with an eye always on the impact our actions have on the quality of the product, the environment and on the local community.”
Growing Old Vine Garnacha
- Mixture of large puddingstones, limestone, red clay and slate
- Each small plot of vines has a different type of soil (within a small area) which influences the grapes and wine
- Lots of thyme grows in the area which adds an aromatic note to the wine
The deep root systems give ‘old vines’ access to rich mineral sources and other organic matter which help produce highly complex and characterful wines. Although yield may be lower, there is a higher concentration of premium quality and better character fruit leading to some truly exceptional wines.
These vines are at least 45 years old, with some reaching up to 100 years. Vines this old are sometimes also called ‘survivor vines’ or ‘Centenarian vines’. The harvest is carried out with utmost care, with the Garnacha being entirely hand harvested. We believe these special circumstances of old vines and care result in a spectacularly unique wine in a can!