The Wisdom of Old Vines, the Beauty of Sensitive Wine-Making
Javier Zaccagnini’s personal project, Sei Solo, has in just a short space of time become an unmissable release in our Spanish Portfolio. His 2013s are the product of a rain refreshed Ribera del Duero vintage that somehow defies classification. Warm periods followed cool periods from March to August – with little discernible pattern. The rain that fell was nearly double the normal for a year in the region, which is actually something of a blessing, particularly if the opposite is a vintage of drought. Indeed, in an arid and dry climate like Ribera del Duero, a heavy rainfall vintage often produces some of the most lovely wines to drink. Javier’s '13s are no exception.
The vines for Preludio and Sei Solo average 60-90 years old and all come from the top Ribera village of La Horra, home to the production for Aalto PS, Pingus, Alion and other local luminaries. Such old vines give a distinct advantage in a year like 2013, limiting vegetative growth and focusing energy on the level ripening of their painfully small crops (just 14hl/ha in 2013). La Horra itself is a village that produces wines with a very clear identity, the hallmarks being mineral power and brooding strength. Yet Javier’s direction is all about elegance, taming the strength of La Horra with a dose of finesse. This he achieves through slow, spontaneous fermentation, through extended malo-lactic fermentations that often last until February and by employing absolutely no new oak at all in the wine-making process. The results are quite sublime examples of grace, openness and strength. A recent tasting had us enthralled with the deeply luminous, brightly-fruited yet deeply mineral profiles on display. These are no longer stars of the future. These are stars of today.