Heroic viticulture in Asturias

Bodega Vidas and Bodega Obanca

In Asturias we have been making wine since the beginning of the X century. Specifically in the area of the southwest where, guided by the monasteries, produced wines for their consumption and barter.

Centuries later, and now without the influence of the monastery, the people of the area developed their own wines in the traditional way with the grapes themselves reflected in their vineyards.

With the irruption of mining were abandoning the vineyards, because there is not enough time for your care and harvesting, reaching almost to disappear in the latter decades of the twentieth century However, continued to be making wine from grapes brought from other places. Wines, mostly of low quality by the grape and by the way of developing them. For this reason, the bad reputation that until a few years ago were the wines of Cangas.

About 15 years ago, with the closure of the mines, some people are trying to retrieve the work that had been completed in the area traditionally, among them vinery. They are doing recovering the old vineyards and using good production systems.

This area of Asturias has some very special characteristics, which makes their wines are very different and valued by experts and wine-lovers at the international level. Its microclimate, drier and warmer than the rest of Asturias, makes possible the cultivation of grapes. There are four native varieties, which can only be found there, are the Carrasquin, the Verdejo Black, White and Albarin the Albarin Black. In addition, its vineyards are located on the slopes of the mountains with more than a 30% slope and to more than 500 meters above the sea level, being recognized as High Mountain Viticulture or heroic.

When I spoke with Manolo (owner of Torre de Villademoros) about the wines that they consumed in his restaurant, he told me that he was carrying a time betting by wines of Cangas and, increasingly, customers requesting. As always I went to visit the wineries that are providers of the hotel and so I met two who, by personality and management, are very different from each other, but always looking for wines with the best quality and caring for the maximum their vineyards and the environment.

Bodega Vidas: created by Beatriz Pérez and Pepe Florez, two wine-lovers that they decided to make their passion their profession, when she left her job at the University of Oviedo and after a project of scientific development in which biologists and oenologists confirmed the benefits of this area for the production of wines.

This couple with the support of their families began his project in 2012 and gradually improving in both production and work in the vineyards, which is resulting in that their wines begin to be appreciated not only in Asturias, but also in countries such as Holland, Finland or the United States. In fact, recently its "white" done with Albarin white has been recommended by the prestigious journal Los Angeles Times

Belonging to the DOP Cangas, currently, produced some 20000 bottles per year. That we make a distinction between the 7 Vidas, young wines, fresh, honest, with the proper character that gives them the climate, making a tinto coupage of native grapes and a white variety Albarin white; and the Cien Montañas, the top wines of the winery, developed with their grapes selected from the best vineyards, making a white with the white Albarin and a mono varietal red wine, which lately are doing with Carrasquin.

Concerted visits, in which you can visit their vineyards, cellars and finally organized a tasting of their wines vegetarian dish is always available local products. They are currently moving into a new winery, in which they will have a space for these events.

Bodegas Obanca: belongs to a family from always linked to the world of wine. Parents Joseph and Mary, continue to work the vineyards and their sons David, Isaac and Carlos, who are those who continue the tradition and have professionalized the elaboration and distribution of their wines.

In my visit I encounter with David Marcos in his store in the center of Cangas, where they sell their wines together with other gourmet products. Store that they have been opened to recover economically after the heavy investments made in your cellar.

After a few minutes there, we go to visit some of their centennial vines located in the mountains and the valley of Cangas, in the areas of Obanca, Castro de Limes and Barzaniellas. During the way she tells me as trying to improve year to year and teaches me to their relatives working in the vineyards on the other side of the valley.

Its wines of author make reference to their land and to the Fiestas del Carmen de Cangas del Narcea. Thus we find: La Descarga tinto, developed with red Albarin, Mencia and Verdejo tinto; La Descarga white, developed with Albarin white; Llumes, a Verdejo tinto; and Castrode Limes, its one hundred percent Carrasquin.

It is possible to contact David, a great talker, transmits to us at every step his passion for its vineyards and their land. And an improvised move a day knowing a little more about the world of wine, the environment and history of Cangas del Narcea.

I would recommend visiting this area less known of Asturias that is recovering economically betting on return to their traditional trades with a new vision, and attend the “Fiesta de la Vendimia”, which held all the years the second weekend of October.