Ca' di Mat
- Gredos, Spain
Curro Bareño and Jesus Olivares—the duo behind groundbreaking Galician projects Fedellos de Couto, and Ronsel de Sil—are now bringing their vision and expertise much closer to home, to San Martin de Valdeiglesias in the Sierra de Gredos, where both started their careers.
Ca’ di Mat (literally, “House of Fools” in a Piedmontese dialect) is the name of their new project and is a collaboration between the two brats (a fedello is a brat in Galician dialect) and long-time friends of theirs who own a family farm in the area. Together they work the twenty hectares of the farm, which is planted with a wide variety of trees and fruits: strawberries, rockrose, juniper, Holm oak, Pyrenean oak, and, of course, vines of Garnacha, Albillo Real, and Moscatell, ranging between thirty and eighty years old.
The compact granitic soils of the Gredos are not strange to Curro and Jesus, who worked with similar terroir in Ribeira Sacra. However here the soil is composed of a variety of granites (white, pink, red) and have much less schist. Spread around various parcels, the vines of Ca’ di Mat grow on three different granites: pink (with a high percentage of feldspar), white (high in quartz, more porous than feldspar), and raw red granite. Each plays a role in the character of the different cuvées.
Curro points out other terroir and vineyard variables that are important factors in the build-up of their wines. The climate is full-on continental, with healthy rainfall and colder winds. Their old vines are bush grown, and sit at around 800–850 meters high. The ruggedness of the terrain, the austerity of the climate and the age of the vines add up to crazy and hard labor cultivate grapes and make wines here, but the combination helps the “fools” of Ca’ di Mat realize their ideal wine: fluid, delicate, and open.
Ca’ di Mat’s red wines owe their surprisingly light color to the work in their organically raised vines. Curro and Jesus prune lightly, and encourage high productivity aiming for rich vines and big grapes that are “not forced”. Winemaking is non-intrusive, with spontaneous fermentations in concrete. It is hard to believe that these pale reds undergo such long maceration periods—ninety days sometimes—but their work is so delicate, the grapes are foot-trodden softly and the must separated by hand from the skins and stems, that the heat and power of Garnacha give way to a subtly aromatic and fruity juice. The whites are expansive and expressive, their weight balanced by a tense mineral current. Élèvage is as neutral as possible, in concrete tanks, and mostly-used French oak.