Fanio, one of the Penedès’ most emblematic Xarel·los, is presenting its new vintage, the 2020. Here are 5 interesting details about this wine, which comes from a single vineyard located in the Ordal Mountains.
1. The Fanio vineyard.
This vineyard with amazing views was planted over 50 years ago by Epifanio Sardà. It’s one of the oldest (and also the most beautiful) vineyards that we have here at Albet i Noya. It consists of various terraces of Xarel·lo spread out over 2 hectares, planted in containers at 330 metres above sea level.
The find came about in 2004 when the Albet acquired the Can Milà de la Roca estate, which had been abandoned for more than two years. The Fanio vineyard is located at the top of the Can Milà estate, in a place where for many years it was inaccessible even for a tractor. And so it was a vineyard that had always been worked manually, by a character, Manel Sardà, who took very good care of it, and who still goes up to the Fanio vineyard when he has things on his mind. The Fanio vineyard is run in a strictly ecological manner, and it has also seen some biodynamic experiments. As far as the soil goes, the vineyard honours the name of the estate (Can Milà de la Roca) as the stone flowers in various places, leaving very shallow soil and limiting the vigour of the planting, which gives us very concentrated grapes, with optimal sanitation.
2. Aging in cement eggs / acacia casks / stainless steel
From the first year, the 2009, only 300 bottles were made, which were all sold to the restaurant Cal Xim in Sant Pau d’Ordal.
Starting in 2010, we incorporated 2 cement eggs (measuring 640 litres each) to age the Fanio. Albet i Noya was one of the first wineries in Spain to use this technology in the winemaking process. Aging the wine in cement eggs makes it creamy and gives it volume, without giving it those touches of oak that often mask the flavour of wine too much.
A second part of the wine coming from the Fanio vineyard is aged for six months in acacia wood casks, which are not as aggressive as oak, giving the wine a very interesting floral flavour. The third part is kept in stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness of the wine.
3. Dry stone borders
One of the most important features of the Fanio vineyard are its borders, made using the age-old technique of dry stone, one of the most imposing elements to be found in the Ordal Mountains.
In recent years, there has been a significant recovery not only in the Fanio vineyards, but also in the training of professionals in this nearly extinct craft. Pep Sastre Sardà and Jaume Ferrer Payeres, master border builders of the Majorcan school, have come to the Penedès several times to restore the borders of the Fanio vineyard and to train new specialists in this art. At Albet i Noya up to five courses on building dry stone borders have been held, all in high demand, giving great satisfaction all around.
4. Indigenous yeasts
In 2011, a selection of indigenous yeasts was made from the Fanio vineyard. Over 400 were found, and over the years, small batches have been made using them, to find out which ones gave the best response for fermentation or their flavour and other results. We currently use three of these yeasts, one to ferment the Fanio and the rest to ferment the Xarel·lo Curiós young wine.
5. THE TASTING: Ferran Centelles’ opinion
Last September, the sommelier Ferran Centelles wrote a full article about the Xarel·lo variety in the prestigious magazine Jancis Robinson. About the Xarel·lo wine Fanio, he emphasized its elegance and delicacy, defining it as “one of the most floral Xarel·los that I have ever tasted. It has great intensity and gives off an air of chamomile, honeysuckle, fennel, lemon caramel, and Mediterranean herbs. Extremely fresh and primary. A pure, stimulating wine.”