Meet Your Makers: Javier Sanz

It’s hard to not get swept up in the romance of the Javier Sanz winery.

Nestled in the center of the Rueda region in a Spanish town called La Seca, Javier Sanz is the quintessence of European charm: Warm brick encircles the tiny courtyard entrance. Halved wine barrels filled with rose bushes dot the cobblestone pathway. Tiny birds dart and sing overhead. It’s a storybook place full of old-world appeal that just so happens to house some killer, world-renowned verdejo.

Javier Sanz Cantalapiedra is a fourth-generation winemaker devoted to preserving his family’s centuries-old tradition of winemaking. Using local and often rare grapes like the Malcorta (translation: “hard to cut” … so hard to cut that most people stopped growing it decades ago), Javier and his team are dedicated to using pre-phylloxera varietals (vines and grapes that weren’t wiped out by a massive fungal plague that swept Europe in the late 1800s and 1900s). Javier remembers the Malcorta from his childhood days on the vineyard, noting how their strange, hard-to-cut vine struck him as markedly unique. Today, he cherishes that uniqueness, noting that “here, we have a variety of verdejo that is different from everything else out there.”

Here, we have a variety of verdejo that is different from everything else out there.

And the critics agree, with the 2014 Javier Sanz V Malcorta Verdejo earning the “Chairman’s Trophy” top prize for Spanish white wines at the 2015 Ultimate Wine Challenge, with a score of 93 points.

But just because Javier prefers the vines of his ancestors doesn’t mean his team won’t use modern, eco-friendly production methods. One stand-out feature of the bodega? The lime green electric car parked out front, which is a metaphor for the winery’s philosophy. “We are always looking for a balance of high quality product and eco-friendly processes” explains Javier. From energy-efficient temperature control to their coveted green car, Javier Sanz knows how to make classic, old-school Rueda in a smart, new-school fashion.

Want more? Check out what Javier and his team are up to on the Javier Sanz website.

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