The depopulation of rural areas and economic migration to urban areas over the last century, and particularly in the wake of the Spanish Civil War, was very nearly the death knell for winemaking in the area of Teruel, a historic town in Aragon, eastern Spain. However, there are growers and winemakers who recognise the potential of this unsung area and Jesús Romero and Juan Vicente Alcaniz are among them.
Together they have established Bodegas Jesús Romero. Juan Vincente’s great-grandfather had made wine here but for decades the area declined so much that it was even bypassed by Spain’s legislators when they drew up the Denominacion di Origen regulations that govern the country’s viticulture and winemaking. To this day Teruel has no DO as a result.
Winemaker Juan Vincente and Jesús, a leading restaurateur in Valencia, have taken on and revived several old vineyards around the mountain town of Rubielos de Mora where good sites had been abandoned for many years, replanting and refurbishing at altitudes of up to 1100 metres, the highest vineyards in Spain and a cool climate as a result.
Garnacha, tempranillo, syrah and a little cabernet franc are planted in poor, stony soils with excellent drainage, and the coolness at this elevation means that the grapes have a longer growing season than further down the slopes, making for excellent phenolic ripeness while retaining wonderful freshness. The intention at this young winery is to farm without chemicals and with a huge respect for the environment and the promotion of biodiversity.