An ancestor of the Candela family, Pedro Candela, set the ball rolling in the 1850s when he made and sold a little wine in his local area. It was in 1925 when matters were put on to a firmer footing and Antonio Candela García built a small winery. His son Antonio Candela Poveda took over and it was he who began the expansion to make the company one of the most important producers in the Yecla DOC. These days his sons Antonio and Alfredo manage the wineries and estate.
The modern winery sitting amid the vines today is a far cry from the one built by their ancestor but it is made entirely from local materials and the wines that issue from it are very true to the traditions of Yecla. Monastrell is king here, growing in vineyards lying between the Spanish meseta, the great plateau that dominates the centre of the country, and the Mediterranean with a ring of mountains surrounding them. Indeed, the vineyards are between 400 and 800 metres above sea level. Low rainfall and cool nights together with low-nutrient, limestone-dominated soils conspire to provide the conditions for the creation of concentration and freshness to develop in the slow ripening grapes. Winters here can be icy cold, sometimes dipping below zero, and summer temperatures can climb to 40 o C but monastrell seems to take it in its stride. There is an ancient tradition of winemaking dating back to the Carthaginians and there is clear evidence that the monastrell variety dates back at least to the medieval period. It is clearly a survivor for all sorts of reasons.
The Candelas own 150 hectares of their own vines and have control over a further 600 hectres owned by others but under the control or supervision of Barahonda viticulturalists to ensure that the quality meets their exacting standards. Planting is generally low density because there is no desire to make the vines compete for so little water. Beside monastrell they grow syrah, cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo, tintorera and petit verdot for red wines and verdejo, macabeo and airén for the whites.
This is another Spanish producer with a steady eye on the future and a desire to marry traditional virtues with modern innovation to very good effect indeed.