Atlantida by Alberto Orte Tinto 2017
Atlántida is an impressive red wine hailing from Spain’s most historic grape growing region of Jerez, most famous for its solera ageing system of sherry. However, what is seldom spoken of are the astounding vineyard sites blanketing the region, where nearly forgotten grape varieties are grown. These noteworthy vineyards are producing some of the finest wines of Spain today. While historical Jerez had more than 80 different red and white grape varieties planted when phylloxera devastated the area, the trend shifted quickly to focus attention in the vineyard on the replanting and cultivation of one very productive strain of Palomino, the workhorse of Jerez and the base grape for dry sherry. However, one of the most interesting varieties of the pre-phylloxera era is Tintilla, a long-cycling, small grape. Through careful analysis, we have discovered that Tintilla is the ideal grape variety to transport the mineral-laden, salty, chalky characteristics of the albariza soil in which it is grown in the coastal terrain of Jerez. Tintilla vines require meticulous cultivation, and production is very limited.
Winemaker Alberto Orte is a man of few words and great humility. This taciturn demeanor belies an acute intellect and profound talent for extrapolating what he has learned from history and making it new again. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the wines he makes, which are history projects unto themselves. Bringing nearly forgotten grape varieties and ancient techniques back to Jerez, and expressing the story of a place with authenticity and purity – this is his imprimatur.
Nowhere is this more keenly demonstrated than with Atlántida – Alberto has completely resurrected a lost grape, and now makes 2 wines which are the first 2 wines to be made from this grape in mainland Spain in over a century.
Spanish red wine is known for being bold, heady, rustic and age-worthy, Spain is truly a one-of-a-kind wine-producing nation. A great majority of the country is hot, arid and drought-ridden, and since irrigation has only been recently introduced and (controversially) accepted, viticulture has sustained—and flourished—only through a great understanding of Spain’s particular conditions. Large spacing between vines allows each enough resources to survive and as a result, the country has the most acreage under vine compared to any other country, but is usually third in production.
Of the Spanish red wines, the most planted and respected grape variety is Tempranillo, the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. Priorat specializes in bold red blends, Jumilla has gained global recognition for its single varietal Monastrell and Utiel-Requena has garnered recent attention for its reds made of Bobal.