Why buy a new car if you can buy Burgundian barrel?
Daniel Gimenez, experienced wine consultant and winemaker of French and Spanish origins, decided to make it as he liked it, so he bought even more than one barrel. The effects of this decision can be enjoyed in several countries around the world (but unfortunately, not in Poland where I live). During my sunny trip to Spain last Spring I went to the town of Yecla where Maquina del Tiempo wines are made. So get in a time machine with me let’s go back in time!
Daniel could buy a really, really nice car, but opportunities, fate or – most probably – passion made him buy approximately 40 years old vineyard with ungrafted Monastrell bush vines. He also purchased several 500-litre Burgundian oak barrels and started to make his own wines. He rented some space and two steel tanks in a winery owned by his former employer, Bodegas La Purísma which is a big and well known local cooperative. This cooperative gave life to DO Yecla and pioneered a modern and organic winemaking in this appellation.
“Fertile” strip of land
That means sandy soil, succulents, hard summer sun, and no rain between May and August. But even hotter DO Jumilla and much drier DO Bullas make DO Yecla an appellation with a quite moderate climate. Besides perfect soil, one more key factor for growing healthy grapes of high quality is sufficient amount of rain that appears in September and during the winter. Yes, it rains a bit, fortunately. Nevertheless, the crops are never high. During dry vintages in Yecla one vine can produce 0,8 kg of fruits, and during the wettest – just 1,4 kg.
The machine of time closed in a bottle
Taking an advantage of these conditions, Daniel Gimenez wanted to create something on his own and that’s how a wine project called La Maquina del Tiempo emerged. So… let’s plunge into the wet part of the story.
Daniel makes two labels. The first one is La Maquina which is made entirely from Monastrell and spent 22 months in new French oak barrels. The annual production is only 4000 bottles. One might think that new oak would overwhelm the fresh aromas, but not it this case. The 2009 vintage bursts with intense thyme, rosemary, blueberries, cedarwood and tobacco aromas. It’s a little earthy and very elegant, especially in the mouth. It gives you a nice massage with very well integrated tannins and alluring taste of espresso, liquorice and cinnamon.
Let’s say La Maquina del Tiempo is a „baby” version of this product, but it’s not entirely the truth, because the wine has also a very rich and elegant character. The wine brings the pure spirit of Daniel’s experimental wine project. It’s a blend of three vintages of two varieties with Monastrell making 85% of it while the rest is Syrah. The 2013 vintage of both varieties makes 85% of the blend, the 2014 vintage makes 10%, and 2015 is remaining 5%. The wine spent 18 months in 2-3 years old French oak barrels. OK, now it’s the end of mathematics. La Maquina del Tiempo shows the pure freshness of blueberries, blackberries, huckleberries and raspberries. The hint of oak stays somewhere in the background. Instead, we have beautiful aromas of violets and ground coffee. The acidity is a bit higher and tannins are more grainy, comparing to La Maquina. Therefore, La Maquina del Tiempo is more lively and excitingly pert. Something absolutely unusual in Murcia.
La Maquina del Tiempo wines are the beautiful examples of what Murcian Monastrell can be if grown in balanced conditions and vinified carefully. Many Monastrells from this part of Spain are completely unbalanced, with oversweetened jammy fruit and unpleasantly high alcohol. Well, not necessary.