Who: Raúl and Laura Calle.
What: Vino de España.
Where: Sierra de Gredos.
When: Since 2013.

The Story

Raúl is a forest engineer and teacher by vocation based in the easternmost point of the Sierra de Gredos region, in Sotillo de la Adrada. Here he came into contact with different grape varieties in experimental vineyards which piqued his curiosity about wine. As a result he started to study to become a sommelier on the side. His wife Laura joined him in his studies which brought them into contact with many winemakers and soon enough they decided to make their own wine. Their first vintage was in 2013 when they made wine from one plot of unpruned Grenache Noir at 1,000 metres altitude.

Sotillo lies at 650m at the confluence of three provinces Madrid, Ávila and Toledo which lends it a special character. The climate is continental and the soils are granitic.

There’s a long tradition of winemaking in the region but it’s a tradition dominated by Co-operatives and bulk wine production. Vineyards are in small plots forever sub-divided as they pass down generations with a view to supplementing income. Today Co-operatives and bulk wine business doesn’t exist as before and abandoned vineyards appear everywhere, mostly tiny parcels of very old bush vines, usually over 80 years old, unworked for years, uneconomic, difficult to acquire (often you can’t even find the owner) and way off the beaten track.

This history excited and galvanised Raúl and Laura. Both wanted to make wine without chemicals in a traditional manner. After finding the parcel of Grenache Noir, they acquired a parcel of Malvar, one of several local varieties, to the south of Madrid on clay limestone soils at 750m.

Now they have just under 4 hectares in production to make six wines in the tiny garage under their small house in Sotillo. The vines are worked organically, with some ploughing, some cover crops, no treatments other than occasional volcanic sulfur when needed in the unlikely event of humidity. The wines are made without additions, no sulfites, and bottled unfiltered from stainless steel, old barrel and amphora.

The wines are brilliant, quite different from those of their friend Fabio Bartolomei at Viños Ambiz (really, nothing could be like Fabio’s wines), nor like the fine, highly polished wines of Comando G. Raúl and Laura’s wines are clean, with rich, complex fruit, tons of energy, great balancing acidity, lots of life.

Raúl Calle Viticultor Location