Telmo Rodriguez: Vineyard Restorer

Telmo Rodriguez is synonymous with fine wine and everything that is made on the estate is of exceptional quality. His dedication and passion have helped to raise the reputation of Spanish wine which has for a very long time been regarded as being low quality, cheap, and unexciting.  Telmo came from humble beginnings, he grew up on a winery estate that had hundreds of years of history that his parents purchased in Remelluri in Rioja more than fifty-two years ago.  

Telmo does not come from a long generation of winemakers however this did not deter his winemaking ambitions.  He studied winemaking in Bordeaux and returned to the family estate in the early 1990s where his father advised him that he should only make average wines as his father did not feel that it was worthwhile to focus on making good or exceptional wines at the time.  He was not allowed to make good quality red wines so he decided that he would experiment with white grapes instead.  His work paid off and created a cult following of followers who adored his white Remelluri wines. 

His business partner of more than thirty years Pablo Egukiza joined Telmo at the family estate and they worked together until in 1994, Telmo decided that there was no future for him at the family estate, as he had no interest in making average wines.  He and Pablo left the estate in Remelluri and started their winemaking adventure.  Though the business carries the name of Telmo - it is a full partnership between the two men.  Together they have committed themselves to fearlessly and tirelessly working to pioneer and change the less-than-brilliant image portrayed by Spanish wine in the post-Franco era. 

Over the years Telmo and Pablo have acquired and revived more than eighty hectares of vines, (more than 355 separate little vineyard plots) that are scattered around Cebreros, Rueda, Malaga, Cigales, Alicante, Gredos, Valdeorras, Rioja, and Ribera del Douro. Their love for native grape varietals and respect for Spain's rich and diverse heritage has led to the restoration of old vineyards— finding enclaves, understanding them, cultivating soils, as well as planting native trees while imagining how the best vine growers of the past would have done it.   These old vineyards are significant and through meticulous care, they have been transformed into the best terroir possible. The desire is to be a small producer who creates unique wines of exceptional quality, a goal that most certainly has been attained.

In 2010, at the request of his brother, he returned to the family property in Remelluri which over the years had increased to ninety-two hectares.  The property was an exciting place to grow grapes as according to Telmo there have been no herbicides added to the soil in over eight hundred years.  He agreed to return but with the clear understanding that he would be allowed to do things as he wished.  In addition to the grapes that are grown on the property, Telmo’s father had also bought additional grapes from local grape growers. 

Telmo decided that he only wanted to make his wines from the grapes grown on the estate, and this resulted in a reduction in production from 500,000 bottles to 270,000 bottles per year.  The winery still buys grapes from the local growers but the wines are made under a different range that is not associated with the property.

According to Telmo, Rioja experienced turbulent times when it was invaded by the Bordelaise winemakers who were desperate for grapes after Phylloxera had destroyed their vines in the late 19th century.  Rioja wine production became very commercialized, deviating away from the former production in small villages, with growers and vineyards that were very similar to the structure in Burgundy.  He wishes to adhere to the old traditional style of winemaking that emphasizes quality over quantity. 

As advocates of authentic artisan creations, we would like to invite you to explore the fruits of Telmo and Pablo's exciting journey.

LZ  (₱ 1,500)

One of Telmo Rodriguez's best-value Tempranillos with notes of red currants and herbs. Good to drink on its own, or pairs well with a nice pork loin. 

One of Telmo Rodriguez's best-value Tempranillos with notes of red currants and herbs. Good to drink on its own, or pairs well with a nice pork loin. 

LZ is made at Bodega Lanzanga and comes from a variety of different vineyard plots that are planted at 700 meters above sea level.  The grapes are hand harvested and then fermented with the indigenous yeasts in cement casks before they are transferred to oak foudres and barrels of different sizes for aging.  This is a beautiful expression of Rioja that is light and full of freshness and fruit.

Varieties: Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha

Viticulture: Organic, bush vines, manual harvest in boxes.

Processing & Aging: Native yeasts, 14 months spent aging 1500-2500 liter foudres and 225 liter oak barrels.

Corriente (₱ 1,380)

The nose emerges with aromas of ripe red plum, cassis, spicy raspberry, red currant, dried herbs, tobacco leaf, and dried orange peel. It has a wonderful balance and bursts with intense ripe fruits and wild red berries on the palate, confirming the Rioja style. Pairs beautifully with Rioja-braised lamb that is seasoned with chorizo and garlic.

Corriente is a good everyday wine that pays tribute to a traditional wine classification. A simple and approachable wine that represents the region and its culture.

Varieties: Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha

Viticulture: Vineyards of traditional viticulture suppliers, bush vines, manual harvest in boxes.

Processing & Aging: Native yeasts, aging takes place in oak barrels and foudres of different ages.

Molino Real Mountain  (₱ 3,930)

This luscious wine from Malaga is made from Moscatel grapes that are dried under the sun to achieve a certain degree of sugar concentration. It's not overly fruity but has some slight herbaceous and balsamic notes with some bitter orange marmalade thrown in. This wine pairs well with sweet desserts or spicy food (the sugar in the wine balances the spice).

Molino Real Mountain comes from nine hectares of vineyards that grow at different elevations. The vines grow both in the sun and shade.  The single varietal Muscat of Alexandria takes advantage of the hot slate to ripen and dry under the sun, which increases its sugar concentration. Two and a half kilos of grapes are oil-pressed to obtain a single liter of grape juice that is then fermented for twenty months at low temperatures.

Pegaso Barrancos di Pizarra (₱ 3,930

This red wine with aromas of berries, herbs, and mineral notes is lush, elegant, and round on the palate. With notes of fruits and spices backed by an excellent acidity, it pairs well with roasts, large game, stews, and strong cheeses.

Pegaso Pizarra comes from vineyards of metamorphic soils at high altitudes, which creates a different expression in the wine that is both complex and profound.

Variety: 100% Garnacha

Viticulture: Traditional, organic, old bush vines, manual harvest in boxes.

Processing & Aging: Native yeasts, aging takes place for 24-30 months in different French oak barrels of 500 and 400 liters.

Gago (₱ 2,000)

A wine of great concentration made from 100% Tinto de Toro grapes, this deep red wine has aromas of black and blueberries, smoke, and sweet spices. It is the perfect paring partner with braised meats and grilled steaks.

Gago is Telmo’s Gago is Telmo’s most representative wine of Toro—combining the oldest vines from eight families of vine growers to produce a pure and balanced wine. 

Variety: Tinta de Toro, Albiño Mayor 

Viticulture: From twenty-one of their best plots, exclusively bush vines, manual harvest in boxes. 

Processing & Aging: Fermented in wooden and stainless steel tanks for 14 months (80% in foudres, 20% in barrels).

Dehesa Gago (₱ 1,290)

This deep red wine has notes of dark cherry, smoke, and black tea. Unoaked, this wine is not heavy nor overly fruity instead it expresses a perfect balance that is elegant and wonderful to drink when paired with a roast leg or rack of lamb.

Dehesa Gago is Dehesa Gago is an honest representation of the viticulture and the vineyards of Spain's most continental wine appellation. This wine offers the greatest fluidity and freshness of this extreme place. 

Variety: 100% Tinta de Toro 

Viticulture: From eight families of traditional vine growers, exclusively bush vines, manual harvest in boxes. 

Processing & Aging: Native yeasts, fermentation, and aging for six months in stainless steel tanks.

Other wines from Telmo Rodriguez:

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