For a long time now it’s been no secret that Spain is a land of wonderful wines. But it’s probably less well known that on a remote mountain-top in the middle of all the natural beauty of Andalusia there’s a unique, tiny wine-house. It’s called Sedella, like the small nearby village. We went to discover this hidden ultra-modern architectural pearl, and to enjoy and sample its wares.
Sedella – hamlet and wine-house.
Half an hour’s driving along magnificently winding byways brings you from the seaside town of Torre del Mar to the hamlet of Sedella. There are footpaths remarkable for the spectacular vegetation, eagles in the sky and the local variety of mountain goat. The view of the sea is as lovely as the mountains themselves, which sometimes have snow on their tops. It’s all breathtakingly beautiful. But then at the same time it’s somewhere to get your breath back. Where Andalusian hospitality, Spanish sunshine, and delicious simple cooking mean that it’s no time before you’ve forgotten pretty much all your daily bothers. Just before you reach the village a steep path takes you to the very top of the mountain where the Sedella winery stands.
The moving spirit behind Sedella Vinos is Lauren Rosillo. Lauren has had many years of experience in viniculture and oenology in various regions. He has been a technical director for premium Spanish wines in Rioja, Rueda, La Mancha and Guipúzcoa, for example. Eventually he got the itch to start his own business. Sedella Vinos is the result; here he’s set up his successful formula for wine-making – “TTT”. In other words, “Terrior + Technique + Task”.
A unique concept for Sedella
The unusual design of the building really makes the wine-house unique. Standing in the middle of the mountains right in among the vines, it’s an ultra-modern design by the Madrid architect Paco Varela. However, although it’s amazingly sleek-looking and up-to-date, its white colour and recycled materials ensure that it fits in perfectly with the traditional style of building so typical of this area. On the one hand the place oozes peace and harmony. But on the other hand it’s incredibly classy and excites the senses.
The wine is produced in the rear pat of the building making good use of the latest technology, although at the same traditional methods of wine making are also applied. That’s why there’s an area where the wines can mature in new barrels of French oak, or clay or even concrete, according to wine type. The finishing touch is a very nice terrace and a cosy seating area where the wines can be tasted.
A wine-house with ancient vines.
The vineyard itself consists of old vines growing on steep limestone terraces. The wine derives its character from the combination of plant, soil and climate. Similarly, the altitude, the geographical position near the sea and surrounding nature reserves and the reintroduction of the old Romé and Grenache varieties make for an individual character. Antonio and Rafael, with all their years of experience, are highly skilled in the production of this traditional wine. It’s something of a tour de force, in the way they use old methods such as Roman ploughs pulled by animals. Sometimes they have to cope with fields at 45˚ angles!
Wine-tasting at Sedella
After we met Lauren, who took us on a captivating guided tour, it was time for a tasting. In fact that was already something rather fine, because with a yearly production of only 8,000 bottles, wine is in short supply at Sedella and very valuable!
After starting wine-making on this land in 2006, Sedella produced its first series of bottles of consistent wine only in 2008. Lauren explained, “considering we wanted to work entirely organically without any pesticides, we gave the soil two years to have a chance to cleanse itself. In the meantime we could get to know the land and the production process better, to optimize things ready for 2008”.
Today we’re getting three wines at Sedella. To begin with, a young red, matured in clay and concrete barrels. Then there’s a red premium full blend, matured in oak. Finally there’s a white muscatl; the intention is to produce a dry white too, in the near future, to fill out the range.
We were very keen on the muscat, for its lively but smooth and elegant character. This is a subtly sweet wine with a great deal of finesse.
Their top-of-the-range is the premium red. It’s made from Romé and Grenache vines a century old, and it’s allowed to ripen over anything from 16 to 20 months in French oak barrels. The wine has a deep colour, great intensity, with a violet meniscus and good thick legs. The aroma puts you in mind of the natural surroundings, with notes of iodine, Mediterranean forests, and red fruits. It’s a fresh, complex but smooth wine. Lauren advises us to lay a few bottles down, because in time they’ll develop more character and individuality.
Love of wine, and of the region.
Sedella Vinos is a winery that combines today’s design and the beauty of nature with innovations in traditional production methods and carefully selected ancient vines. Every bottle of Sedella has more in it than just wine. You can taste the passion, the hard work and the sheer love of the job. That much is obvious when you talk to Lauren Rosillo. This project is his vision and he’s clearly an expert in wine and a lover of it, to the marrow. More than enough reason for a guided tour – and of course a tasting. Because seeing – or was that tasting? – is believing!