Spanish Winery: Anciano
Words & Pix: Henry Yuen

Spanish Winery: Anciano

As the dual theme countries at this year’s Vancouver International Wine Festival, wines from Spain and Portugal had clearly drew enthused attention, more so for folks including yours truly who yearned to learn more about Spain and Portugal wines so we can do better than the occasional liquor store purchases often driven by value-pricing, high ranking and/or enticing tasting notes; and started stocking up some good drinking wines from these two countries. An excellent example is Anciano, a Spanish brand owned by UK Wine Merchant Guy Anderson Wines, who is launching some of Anciano wine labels in BC.

Anciano Old Vines Garnacha:

The Anciano Old Vines Garnacha is a wine from old vines averaging 35-year old covering 30 organic and sustainable acres near Calatayud. Winemaker Norrel Robertson who worked as wine consultant on many remarkable projects involving other native varietals such as Tempranillo is particularly excited to take on this Granacha project. As one of three Masters of Wines living in Spain, Norrel has over 25 years of vintage experience in France, Italy, Portugal, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand.

The Garnacha grapes are sourced, diligently hand-picked and carefully sorted from vineyards around Valdepenas, located south of Madrid in central Spain. Valdepenas means Valley of the Rocks aptly describing the terroir of rocky soil bed with dry sand. The rocks act as heat absorber to keep the roots warm in winter. With average elevation of 700 meters, the vineyards receive abundance of sunlight during the day but cool down rapidly at night to ensure vibrancy during the growing season. The is an arid area receiving very low rainfall and over 2,500 hours of sunlight, enabling the vines to flourish under stress condition. 15% of the juice is aged in new and used French and American oak for 4 months before bottling. The old vines maturity renders the wine with depth yet still lines with vibrant fruit note, thanks to the reduced oak aging influence. There is intense aroma of dark fruits, raspberries and dry prunes to savour upon. The mouth feel on entry is bold and full flavoured, the tannins soft, with hint of earthy spice and herbs on the lengthy finish. A juicy wine but with weight! 93 points and Silver medal from the International Wine Challenge says it all. At $20, this is a not-to-be-missed beautiful and affordable wine.

Anciano 7 year old Gran Reserva Tempranillo.

Another sensational sip made with 30-year old vine from the Valdepenas vineyards, hand-picking started earlier in August through September in order to retain vibrancy. Another winemaker Maria Jose Marchante crafts this wine using a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak of different toasting levels. Under the Gran Reserva requirement, this wine is aged at least 60 months in the cellar of which minimum 18 months in oak before releasing. This Tempranillo is medium to full-bodied with ruby red shade. The aroma of dark fruits, cherries and a dash of spice and dry herbs is attention seeking. On the palate, blackberries and plum is in the forefront with toasty oak and licorice on the finish with well-defined tannins, a very worthy Bronze medal in the 2017 International Wine Challenge! Unlike other wine regions where the normal practice is to release a wine to the public once bottled, the desire by the winery to keep the bottled wine in the cellar and only releases when it reaches its ready-to-drink condition guarantees the maximum enjoyment of this wine the moment you bring it home.