Who: Thyge Jensen
What: D.O. Arribes, Duero
Where: Fermoselle, Zamora, Spain
When: Since 2016
Pronounced “Ti-ewe”, Thyge used to be a natural gas trader based in Copenhagen with a huge interest in wine. He visited vineyards all over Europe and eventually decided to quit his job to become a winemaker and settled on Spain as the land that would yield his dreams. He looked in the Gredos but ended up in a distant and overlooked part of Spain right on the border with Portugal on the Duero river before it becomes the Douro.
The Arribes is a beautiful and undiscovered region, which was much of the attraction (and challenge). The D.O. is just 750 hectares, with no leading producer, largely on granite and quartz soils. One of the advantages is that the land hasn’t been overly scavenged by chemical farmers so that Thyge can work cleanly and with a commitment to promoting biodiversity. And he’s clearly in the business of helping to save the planet.
He’s also keenly interested in local grape varieties, working in particular with the Juan García grape that produces soft and fruity wines relatively light in alcohol and don’t require to be coated by sweet oak. Like so many indigenous varieties, when it’s well cared for, the wines can be complex and fine, but few producers in the past have had the motivation, intrinsic or extrinsic, to seek to make complex and fine wines.
The grapes are cultivated sustainably and now certified organic. The wines are not yet certified organic because the cellar is not yet certified organic due to the paperwork involved.
Thyge is a big guy bursting with positive vibes and joy at his left turn in life. And he’s taken his family with him on the adventure. His stated aim is to make wines that are both complex and gentle and easy to drink, the style he enjoys drinking. In his second vintage 2017 he seems to have succeeded amazingly well, with both white and red, especially from Juan García, and we’re excited to follow him.
By 2023, he seems to be well in his stride with his Juan Garcia’s in particular showing real finesse and complexity.
We first ran into Thyge at London’s RAW wine fair in 2018 where he was on the stand next to ultra-natural Gredos winemaker Viños Ambiz. His wines could not have been more different from the trippy wines of Fabio and already displayed a remarkable maturity.