Fabio Bortolomei, who grew up in Scotland to Italian parents, moved to Madrid over 20 years ago. It was not too long afterwards, in 2003, when he decided to pursue a personal interest (and family tradition) in winemaking and rented a small plot of Airén from an old winemaker in La Carabaña. With grapes from this plot he began to make wine using people’s garages and any space he could borrow in and around Madrid and the Sierra de Gredos. It was only in 2013 when he managed, with friend Daniel Ramos, to rent an old wine co-op’s cellar in the village of El Tiemblo where he set up his own fixed bodega. He now has plots dotted around the Sierra de Gredos hills, including the original in La Carabaña where he still grows Airén and Tempranillo from old vines.
The Sierra de Gredos region has an interesting wine-making history and a perfect topography and climate for making beautiful terroir expressing wines. The climate here, like that of Madrid city, is continental. Very hot in summer and cold in winter, yet the relative elevation here means that the grapes maintain enough freshness to not bake. The granite/sand soil drains well and retains heat, helping the ripening process. The soil is nutrient poor, forcing the vines to work harder, increasing complexity and minerality.
Fabio works with several indigenous and often under-represented grape varieties such as Doré, Malvar, Airén, Albillo and Chelva as well as the more common Sauvignon Blanc, Garnacha and Tempranillo. Though common isn’t a fitting adjective for Fabio’s wines. Variety and experimentation may just be what drives Fabio, and for this reason every year he tries new and different winemaking methods. He vinifies using amphora, stainless steel, plastic and oak barrels as well as concrete and will rarely ever produce more than 1000 bottles of any one cuvee.