January Wines & Growers
Spain was still under Franco’s dictatorship in 1969 when Aurèlia Figueras, a woman from La Beguda Baixa, started planting her first grapevines of Xarel.lo, defying the patriarchal laws and attitudes that prevented women from owning businesses. Although nothing came of her vines at the time, wine-making remained her passion and she was finally able to see her dream materialize when her Swiss daughter-in-law Anne-Marie Comtesse transformed the vineyard into a successful family business in the late 1980s. Today, they have six farms and two distinct lines—Fragments and natural wines—and they continue to use eco-friendly viticulture to ensure biodiversity thrives on their land. Pioneers in organic wine-making and biodynamic farming, the results of a philosophy that has been part of their spirit since their inception, Castell d’Age is now run by Anne-Marie’s daughter Olivia and son Josep, who continue to innovate the brand, keeping their family legacy alive through their exceptional wines.
La Beguda Baixa is a rural village on the southern face of the mysterious and sacred Montserrat mountain near the municipality of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia in north-eastern Spain. Located on the foothills of the Alt Penedès less than thirty miles inland from the coast, this Mediterranean region has something for everyone, from the turquoise beaches and ancient Roman ruins of Tarragona, to the nightlife and magnificent art scene of Barcelona, and the family-owned wineries found in the countryside, where most of Spain’s sparkling cava wine is produced. The varying altitudes and the limestone and slate soils have proven ideal for growing a wide range of grapes, while the coastal climate makes Catalonia the perfect destination for some of the country’s best food and wine.
Castell d’Age, Penedès, Fragments Red 2018
This organic red with a bright cherry color and ruby highlights has an aroma of ripe, candied fruits, figs, and plums with notes of vanilla. Aged nearly two years in oak barrels and in bottle, this Grenache-Syrah mix is ideal for appetizers, pasta, roasted vegetables, and pork dishes.
Castell d’Age, Penedès, Fragments Rosat 2019
Made exclusively from Grenache, this complex rosé has intense aromas of wild berries and a very subtle touch of cream on the finish. Its refreshing, cheerful character is ideal to pair with bold flavors like tuna, white meats and pasta napolitana.
Bodega Cuatro Rayas
Founded in 1935 as a co-op, Bodega Cuatro Rayas, then known as Bodega Cooperativa de La Seca, started out just a year before the Spanish Civil war began when a group of local wine-making families banded together to produce their first commercial wine known as Fino 61 in 1950. Their success and unity have only grown in the decades since, turning them into an internationally recognized brand known especially for their Verdejo variety. From its inception, Cuatro Rayas has had an environmentally conscious outlook that can be seen in their “Green & Social” initiative, organically farmed vineyards, zero-waste winery, and environmentally-friendly packaging, which have earned them the European organic agriculture certification. The Bodega’s green philosophy focuses not only on the environment but on people’s wellbeing, and has provided reliable work and economic stability as well as social unity for its nearly 800 member families during the past 85 years.
About the Region
Bodega Cuatro Rayas is located in the municipality of La Seca in Spain’s north-western autonomous community of Castilla y León. The small town of La Seca, which literally translates to The Dry, originally got its name because timber was left to dry there, though these days it’s best known for its wine-making tradition and even has one day a year—the third weekend of April—especially dedicated to celebrating its famed Verdejo. The perfect destination for wine lovers, this rural town is located just 10 miles south-east of Tordesillas, known for its gastronomy and history, and 28 miles from the provincial capital city of Valladolid, offering visitors every chance to delve into the rich local culture.
Bodega Cuatro Rayas, Rueda, Verdejo 2019
Made from a rare indigenous grape which is picked at night to preserve and maximize their aroma and special properties, Bodega Cuatro Rayas’ organic Verdejo is a cheerful white with citrus flavors and a refreshing finish with apple and green melon aromas. This straw-yellow wine of Rueda origin is perfect to pair with fresh seafood, pasta, rice, cheeses and white meats.
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Photos Courtesy of Castell d'Age, Bodega Cuatro Rayas, Meg Heriot Photography & Maaike Bernstrom Photography