William and Martina tour Spanish vineyards

Martina Klingbeil, our German-based export manager, visited Spain at the start of the year to catch up with some of our winery partners, joining MD William Long on a whistle-stop tour of Aragón.

The first visit was to the small, prestigious winery in Ainzón, Campo de Borja that supplies our Las Carlinas Garnacha. After a brief tour of the facilities, William and Martina tasted the Las Carlinas 2017 and two first 2018 vintage blends, due to be released in summer 2019, which combine a great number of fruity and floral notes from different vats. The winery is able to produce such complex Garnacha wines due to the great variety of vineyard sites that it owns at altitudes from 350-750m near to the Moncayo Mountain.

Martina and William then joined colleague Fernando Mora MW at the Bodegas Frontonio vineyards in Valdejalón, where Botijo Rojo is made. He took them to his new super premium sites El Jardín and La Soltera, and the old wine cellar that Frontonio recently purchased and is renovating with loving care. The soils of this hilly landscape that is reminiscent of Priorat are of slate and quartz, with very old vines that Fernando and his partner Mario are carefully restoring to their past glory when the valleys were filled with vines. A tasting of the range, including the extremely limited El Jardín white and red – with less than a 1,000 bottles of each – was followed by a meeting to discuss sales strategies.

The second winery in Campo de Borja that Long Wines works with is much larger scale. Selling around 10.5 million bottles a year, it is a slick operation that can work quickly and to a high standard on a huge scale. It makes the Pleyades, Amalia and Chispas brands that offer outstanding value for money. William and Martina tasted the soon-to-be-launched Chispas white 2018 and red 2017, which were tasting great.