The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2011

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Page 96 of 128

SPAIN I t looks like one of those stunning modern Spanish wineries one sees in glossy architectural magazines, except that it blends so unobtrusively into the surrounding vineyards it's not anywhere near as garish as those show-off monuments to outsized egos. What Finca Constancia is, though, is the newest, most dar- ing venture of the family-owned González-Byass company. González-Byass has been making sherry for 125 years—think Tio Pepe—but starting in the 1980s they began to diversify into table wine, buying wineries in Somontano, Rioja, Penedès and even Jerez itself. Finca Constancia, in Castilla, is an entirely more ambitious project. When González-Byass bought the property in 2001, it consisted of just three hectares of old Garnacha vines. As they began work on the winery, they planted 200 hectares to a wide range of varieties: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Verdejo and Syrah. Under the imaginative direction of winemaker Beatriz Paniagua, the whole operation is experimental; there are 79 different blocks, a variety of different root stocks and a range of clones. What she's looking for is complexity from blending. "I love it when we mix two varieties in González-Byass Winemaker Beatriz Paniagua. Beyond She Close to the La Mancha appellation but not part of it, the land is arid and hot. This is old wine country, but it has never been quality wine country, a reputation González-Byass intends to change. 96 / the tasting panel / october 201 1

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