Calatayud is a fairly innocuous and rural region of Spain. As far as the eye can see the hills and plains are blanketed with head-pruned vineyards, primarily Garnacha. Just to the north of Calatayud is Campo de Borja, Navarra and Rioja Baja so this sea of Garnacha is a small part of a wider ocean. Much of the inexpensive and pleasurable Garnacha sold in the US comes from these regions in Spain and Eric Solomon was an early pioneer and proponent.
Years ago while working on a project in Calatayud, Eric Solomon met Jean-Marc Lafage and Yolanda Diaz. Yolanda is a native of the region and knows the terruño of Calatayud better than anyone. Jean-Marc is the very talented winemaker and consultant from the Roussillon just across the border in France. Together they “discovered” a unique village in Calatayud, Atea. At 1000 meters above sea level it is the highest elevation village in the whole DO. Even more interesting is that the soil here is black schist, the same soil one can find in the Priorat and in Maury where Jean-Marc owns an estate by the name of Saint-Roch. This unique terroir and the old vines of Garnacha rooted in it, are the origins of Evodia.
Altovinum is a new project - a joint partnership between Eric Solomon, Jean Marc Lafage and Yolanda Diaz. Sourcing fruit from high elevation vineyards in the village of Atea, the debut wine is EVODIA, from the Greek word for aroma.