From €21.40, probably £24.99
Mediterranean Mountain Wine, says this atmospheric, rather Cloudy Bay-like label. (You can see the landscape responsible for it on the left.) Talk about ticking all the boxes…
But there is very much more to this wine than its label. What really caught my attention was the liquid itself. And that was before I realised it is made from a field blend consisting mainly of the rare Málaga dark-skinned grape Romé, a speciality of the Axarquia region east of Málaga where this wine was grown. Some wine lovers may already be familiar with the Ariyanas red blend from Bodegas Bentomiz made there, but this is a particularly accomplished, sophisticated dry red. The majority of the rest of the blend is local Garnacha but there are also tiny amounts of other local grape specialities such as Jaén Tinto and Moscatel.
Sedella, named after the community of 400 people where it is made, is the creation of Lauren Rosillo, who began making wine in 1997 as assistant to Michel Poudou. I initially met Poudou as a Languedoc neighbour before he went off to establish the Finca Elez estate in Albacete south east of Madrid for actor Manuel Manzaneque, based on international grape varieties (and varietals). More recently Rosillo's day job has been as technical director of the Martinez Bujanda group (comprising Finca Valpiedra, Finca Antigua, Montepedroso, Viña Bujanda and infinitus) as well as advising the Txacoli winery K5 Arguiñano. But this Andalucian project, begun in 2006, is his own pet project with its own small but stylish winery, designed by architect Paco Varela, just completed.
The vineyard, 2,460 feet above the nearby Mediterranean, is 73 years old and is only 2.5 hectares, 'rooted in historical steep slopes of slate', according to Rosillo. The national park of Sierra de Tejeda helps to maintain the local eco-system. Rosillo, who was at the recent RAW wine fair in London, goes the whole hog with ancient ploughs pulled by 'draft animals' (called Antonio and Rafael, according to www.sedellavinos.com – pictures, please!).
Luis Gutiérrez wrote an informative Standalone tasting note on the 2008 and I was even more enthusiastic about the 2010, which seems to have admirably cool purity – perhaps because of the slate. Although this confidently fruity wine is aged in new French oak, there is no whiff of oak, just lovely scents in the liquorice/camphor/pine forest spectrum. There are fine tannins and a distinctly 'mineral' finish with quite enough acidity to keep it fresh and going strong for the next four or five years. Just 13.5% alcohol, this dry wine has nothing to do with the equally delightful sweet wines that have been produced on the hills behind Málaga by the likes of Telmo Rodriguez and Jorge Ordoñez. I retasted it last night, more than a week after sampling the bottle, and it was still thrilling. Really fine and firm.
The wine is sold by Vinissimud and Lavinia in Spain and you can also buy it online direct from the bodega at €21.40 a bottle. David Motion of The Winery in London W9 intends to ship it and expects to have it in store in September at £24.99 provided exchange rates don't fluctuate too much.