The appointment of Maite Sánchez as oenologist in 2009 marked a new era for Arrayán in terms of both the process of making its existing wines and her focus on adding autochthonous varieties to our range.
Her priority since then has been to enable the vines to bring out the full expression of each terroir. To achieve this, our vine-growing practices are environmentally-friendly, without herbicides or pesticides, in order to favour biodiversity and balance.
The same approach is applied to winemaking: fermentation occurs spontaneously using the grapes' natural yeasts, without any added products, the goal being to achieve the maximum purity and personality. The fundamental process of ageing takes place in appropriate vats to prioritise the expression of the fruit, using casks of different sizes from a range of coopers.
The grapes from each vineyard are processed separately so as to bring out the personality of each estate and village. This approach results in the wines from the 'La Verdosa' estate and those from the other villages where we have vineyards: Almorox, where the vineyards for Arrayán Albillo Real are located; El Real de San Vicente, where we harvest the grapes for La Suerte de Arrayán; and Cebreros, where the grapes for Garnacha de Arrayán are grown.
The huge differences in soil, variety, altitude and exposure give rise to each wine's unique personality.
Spain has a wealth of grape genetics. However, the industry focuses on just a few varieties, with the result that this diversity is in danger. In order to research the potential of some varieties now classified as marginal but which were once grown on our lands, we grafted eight under-represented autochthonous varieties, which were located with the assistance of the IVICAM (Wine and Vine Institute of Castilla-La Mancha):
- Hairy garnacha
- Grey garnacha
- White garnacha
- Moravia agria
Grafting took place in 2014 and 2015. Sufficient vines were grafted to provide a cask of experimental wine per variety. These varieties' ability to adapt to the terrain and the quality of their wine will be analysed in the coming years.
Following that groundwork, on 1 July 2017 Bodegas Arrayan commenced an individual R&D project entitled "Survey of the oenological potential of minority grape varieties in the Méntrida denomination of origin" (acronym: PEVIMEN) whose goal is to obtain new red and white wines based on a survey of the agricultural characteristics and oenological potential of unknown minority grape varieties that are suitable for growing in the Méntrida denomination of origin region in sustainable, ecological conditions, making it possible to reduce the negative effects associated with hot climates. PEVIMEN received a partially reimbursable grant from Spain's Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Smart Growth Multi-Regional Operating Programme. The project, which is set to run for 36 months years, covering three vintages, is being conducted on 1 hectare of experimental vines within the winery's own vineyards and has the scientific support of Madrid Technical University's Viticulture Research Group, as well as other sources of technical assistance.