Albariza Soil Sub-types: Tosca Cerrada and Barajuelas
Tosca cerrada albariza is a very hard sub-type of albariza with a slight gray tint with chalk levels around 60% and a cement-like solidity (hence cerrada or closed). When wet, it becomes soft and extremely slippery, and it appears to dissolve. This type of albariza leads to a fine, velvety wine, with a bit more balance and elegance than those from antejoelas albariza soils.
Barajuelas albariza contains the highest level of diatoms and around 50% chalk content. It shows clear horizontal sections of white, layered lines (chalk), sometimes mixed with ochre-colored layers containing iron oxide and clay. The hard, layered structure causes the roots of the vines to work harder if they want to reach the stored water below the surface. This hardship results in lower yields and grapes with a thicker skin and higher concentration of phenolic compounds. The resulting wines tend to be powerful and concentrated, with a savory mineral and saline quality.
Barrialto Aranzá is produced from a small part of a three-hectare, 60-year-old palomino vineyard called La Palma in the Pago Balbaína Baja. The limestone-rich albariza soils in this part of the vineyard are pure tosca cerrada, which Rafa prefers. He says wines coming from this soil have a certain “magnetism,” resulting in naturally balanced wines. Aranzá refers to the traditional agricultural measurement in the area of half a hectare or one Aranzá that the wine is produced from.
Barrialto Sobre Lías Santa Brigida is bottled from a single 500L butt and is a blend of two different albariza soil sub-types. Palomino grapes from Balbaína Baja near Jerez (albariza tosca cerrada soils), are blended with grapes from Maína, near Sanlúcar’, (albariza barajuelas soil). Rafa says that the tosca cerrada albariza lends the blend balance and fitness, while the barrajuela albariza lends a dry minerality and a certain herbal salinity.
Barrialto also makes a small production, skin-contact orange wine called Azacanes, made from bush-trained palomino grapes grown in Pago Maína, near Sanlúcar. Rafa does not use excessive punch-downs; rather, he allows the palomino grape skins to rest gently on the wine, lending a radiant copper hue imbued with elegance and balance.
Each wine Rafa produces is a unique snapshot of a place, time, and soil type in his vineyards in the Jerez region. As a result, the production of these authentic treasures is in the hundreds of bottles, and they are exceptionally limited, coming to the US market in tiny allocations. We are thrilled to support his work as a Mayetero, as it is a key part of the next chapter for this magical region we hold dear to our hearts.