The Return of the ‘Lost’ Grape
When you’ve bitten the dust, a second chance at life doesn’t always happen. In fact, it’s impossible for humans. Thankfully, resurrection can happen for vines.
Moneu, a vine species that produces red grapes, was wiped out by phylloxera (a type of insect that loves grapevines) back in the 19th century. Twenty years ago, it was rediscovered by Bodegas Torres, as part of their initiative to restore ancestral varieties of grapevine – a project which started 30 years ago.
It has returned!
Moneu’s name comes from Coster del Moneu or banks of the Moneu River, which is located close to where the variety was discovered.
It is a pre-phylloxera variety of grape that is highly resistant to drought and high temperatures. Wines made from the fruit of this vine have creamy and floral undertones, as well as smooth tannins and a distinct acidity.
Indigenous to the Penedès region, it was rediscovered near Querol, in Alt Camp.
Bodegas Torres carried out tests for Moneu at its vinyards in L’Aranyo, in Les Garrigues, where the company planted the vine, as well as at Castell de la Bleda in Santa Margarida i El Monjos.
Moneu is the second ancestral variety that Bodegas Torres is reintroducing into the Penedès. The first was the Selma Blanca, which was planted at the company’s Aiguaviva vineyards a few years ago.
The revival team
Bodegas Torres is an institution with a long history. It was founded in 1870, its winery was partially destroyed in the Spanish Civil War in 1939, and reconstructed a year later. It made winemaking innovations in 1970 and was celebrated as the most important winery of Spain the late 1990’s.
To this day, it continues to spearhead the evolution of the winemaking industry. It has managed to revive vine species which offer a uniquely appetizing taste that wine enthusiasts won’t find anywhere else besides in Spain.
Bodegas Torres began its revival project 30 years ago. It has since brought back close to 50 varieties, 6 that show potential to produce quality wine blends, and 4 of which are indigenous to the Penedès – the Moneu, Selma Blanca, Querol, and Garro. The latter two are in the Grans Muralles blend, one of Bodegas Torres’ flagship wines.
Take a look at on of our previous blogs if you would like to know more about Spanish-made wines. And if you’d like to store your wine investments, visit Singapore Wine Vault’s state-of-the-art facilities.