Wonderful high-altitude Mencía from a single vineyard of old vines planted over limestone clay with layers of slate and quartz. It is this specific site that lends the wine it’s pretty, lifted aromatic element - something this grape can do very well in the right location. Floral notes sit over spicy red fruits and a stony mineral backbone. These distinct qualities make it a must for any Pinot Noir fans looking for something a little bit different.
Diego Losada, born and raised in Ponferrada, Bierzo, is a self labelled ‘radical’ and ‘anarchist’ of sorts. When he was 16 years old he formed a heavy metal band with his school mates. For Diego, music was pure and uncompromised, an honest and creative way to express himself and the frustrations that he had with mainstream society and the ‘leash’ that it places upon us. After years working for other conventional winemakers Diego decided to break free and in 2012 he set up Bodega La Senda in a tiny space on the outskirts of his hometown Ponferrada. There he resolved to implement the same philosophy from his music into winemaking to produce wines that are honest, uncompromising and naturally expressive.
Working in Bierzo, the challenges Diego faces often result in what makes his wines unique and exceptional. Of the various small plots dotted around the valley and mountain slopes of Bierzo that Diego works, they are all old vines (minimum 50 years), low yielding and mostly on steep slopes, low in organic matter but rich in minerals, and difficult to work. Millions of years ago the valley of Bierzo was an inland sea and each of Diego’s plots represents a different scattering of minerals - clay or calcareous with slate, iron, gold or quartz. The climate presents a further challenge in Bierzo - they have a long, often brutally cold winter and a summer that is short and almost always too humid (an average of 80-90% humidity).
Diego likens his winemaking style to raising a child - saying one needs to allow a child the freedom to develop and express his or her own personality, but a child is also vulnerable and needs protection and guidance. In this way he approaches winemaking - opting to do as little as possible to interfere with the vines. Using sulphur in the vineyard only when he believes is necessary, preferring to treat more gently with biodynamic preparations such as horsetail. Similarly, in the cellar Diego believes a wine needs time and space. He ages his wines in either cement or very old wood, believing wine needs to breathe as it develops. He always does a very gentle maceration, usually just a few days of whole berries before pressing. He avoids any kind of push down or batonnage and as a self labelled radical will never at any stage filter, fine or add sulphur in cellar. The resulting wines are pure, alive, fresh and mineral driven. Honest and delicious expressions of their region and a winemaker who has a definite sense of style and appreciation for this region’s terroir.