The Midas Touch

The Midas Touch
Javier Zaccagnini, former head of the Ribera del Duero Regulatory Board and one half of the team that established Aalto in 1999 and later Ossian in 2005, is now committed entirely to the Sei Solo project with his son Michael Zaccagnini. Named in homage to Johann Sebastian Bach, Javier’s favourite composer, “Sei Solo” refers to the six violin sonatas Bach composed in 1720. Javier’s career, one might argue, has had a more modern rather than classical leaning, nevertheless, his own hit parade of projects has given him a clear vision of the kind of Ribera wine they are after and a network of contacts built up over the past thirty years in the region. From a temporary rented space in a large co-operative facility, Javier and Michael are putting all their efforts in to scouting out and safeguarding their best Tempranillo sources. These include fully owned plots and judicious rental agreements, primarily around the village of La Horra and the plan is to build their own winery in the next few years once the level of production makes it viable.

The village of La Horra produces wines with a very clear identity, the hallmarks being mineral power and brooding strength. Their plan is to tame the strength of La Horra with a measure of finesse. This they achieve through slow, spontaneous fermentation, extended malolactic fermentation and the use of larger 600 litre demi-muid barrels. In the case of Sei Solo, there is no new oak at all, while Preludio de Sei Solo, the second wine of the project, sees a small percentage only to cushion the wine and lend a more open, velvety feel that allows for earlier drinking. The results are sublime examples of grace, strength and precision and the 2016s are by far their finest renditions to date. 2016 was a cooler, classical vintage of outstanding quality. Both wines are 100% Tempranillo; Preludio the more succulent, silky and open of the two, Sei Solo the more brooding, impressive and complex, but with higher-toned aromas too.