Las Bardenas Reales of Navarre is an extreme place: poor and arid clay and limestone soils, a dry climate with a wide thermic range between night and day. Due to these harsh conditions vines here produce a very limited crop but one of exceptional quality with highly-concentrated, very small grapes. We planted fruit trees and indigenous shrubs around the vines in order to support biodiversity in this semi-desert environment.
A few kilometers from the desert the low mountains and the Pre-Pyrenees of Navarre begin. Here we found some fabulous old Garnacha vines, growing almost wildly amid forest and biodiversity. Most of these vines, which are spread out in various isolated and very small parcels, are more than 100 years old. That some had been abandoned is not a negative for us, just the opposite: They are our most precious treasures and thanks to the invaluable support of the local vine growers, we have been able to recover them.
For us, increasing Biodiversity in the vineyard is the natural and logical way of conceiving grape cultivation and agriculture in general. Our wines can be authentic only by letting Nature act freely; our project can only make sense by working that way.
We have planted different species of vegetation, such as aromatic plants, shrubs, and fruit trees (the greater the assortment, the better), but using only indigenous varieties. We have done this both in isolation and in hedges, with the vines occupying just 37% of the total available land area. By doing this we avoid mono-crop cultivation. Also, we kept the forested areas close to the vines which are important, among other reasons, as a refuge for animals.
All of this allows us to configure the mosaic of the landscape, bringing heterogeneity and developing its biodiversity.
With our large area of Biodiversity, we hope to attract insects and birds which in turn help up to combat fungus and disease, for example by carrying spores that help the spread of yeast which are so crucial later for the spontaneous fermentation of the must. That is why we have added structural elements of stones and wood to the vineyard that act as homes for insects and reptiles. Added to all this is the chromatic and aromatic richness that occurs during flowering and pollination.
Improving Biodiversity also implies a way of working with our vineyards that is more natural and sustainable. For example, with green fertilizer, which uses the shredded stems and branches of the harvested vines and shoot trimmings and is spread on the ground near the vines. And by also allowing spontaneous vegetation to grow among the vines year-round, which aid the proliferation of leguminous plants or by planting seeds in case plants are not present, since these grasses help the soil with biological and nutritive activity by fixing nitrogen and by improving its capacity to retain water.
By working to increase Biodiversity, the vineyard becomes much more resistant to disease; it maintains its vigor and productivity and becomes much more autonomous and sustainable. And, in the end, it is possible to make wine by respecting all of Nature’s processes and by accepting any “inconveniences” as a part of a wine’s character and uniqueness. You cannot go against Nature, you can only walk with it.
It had been built in the 1940s, but was closed down in the eighties. It is has long, narrow cement tanks with small dimensions, ideal for gentle and delicate fermentations, like infusions, which translate into friendlier and more elegant wines. And having a great many small tanks instead of a few large ones allows us to separate the grapes by variety and origin in that way preserves the highest quality must.
We have added a new warehouse to our winery and a building with a spacious and comfortable tasting room, plus a garden and a terrace, where we can introduce our wines to clients and friends with all the comforts of home. And, of course, we have paid attention to the well-being of our wines. The project included an underground cellar space for barrels, open barrels or fudres, and bottle racks, so that the wines can age naturally in complete tranquility under ideal thermal conditions.