A VERY UNUSUAL JOURNEY.
THE ELABORATION SEEN IN ANOTHER WAY.
The personality of Proelio comes from the terroir; the character is fine tuned in the cellar. The vinifications with autochthonous yeasts are carried out separately, depending on the type of soil the grapes come from. For the fermentation we only use oak barrels, where extractions are performed in the most respectful manner with the use of pumps. The malolactic fermentation takes place in traditional barrels to gradually increase the capacity of the tanks until they end in barrels of 2.000 litres. For the final assembly, we use concrete tanks where the wine ends its journey.
Bodegas Proelio is a simple space, perfectly integrated into the natural surroundings. Modernity and tradition go hand in hand in a place where large windows highlight and allow the use of natural light. Therefore, this is an environmentally-friendly architecture that coexist in harmony with a place as special as the Valle del Río Iregua. Besides, we have a technology that allow us to obtain a product of the best quality, always respecting the fruit it comes from.
AGEING IN OAK
Oak is part of the viticulture for more than 2000 years. At the beginning, it was only used to transport the beverage, replacing other containers which were more fragile and heavy, like the amphoras. Why oak? Oak was the type of wood that proved to be the most suitable for contain and age the wine. There are two subspecies of oak of real importance for the viticulture: French oak and American oak.
The ageing of wine on a typical oak barrel of 225 litres implies two phenomena.
The first one is the oxygen filtration through the micropores of the wood with the reactions that triggers that micro oxygenation. With this system, the wine is softened, turns velvety and it is not as piercing on palate because its components start a slow process of oxidation, evolution and polymerization. The other phenomenon is the incorporation to the wine of a wide range of aromatic compounds, typical of the wood.
These are the tannins of the wood. Here is where we’ll see the difference between the French oak and the American oak. The first one brings notes of chocolate, tobacco and cocoa; the second one brings notes of custard, vanilla and coco (generally speaking). Both processes give the wine more complexity, refinement, tastes and aromas. They need to have the necessary structure, alcohol, acidity and balance. Another model for ageing wines is the oak cask. It is a container with a capacity from 2,000 to 30,000 litres or more. In our case, we usually use casks of 2,000 litres, produced by the best French barrel-makings. With these tanks, the interaction between wood and wine requires more time, since the relation between surface and volume is lower. In general, we obtain wines more respectful with the most.
AGEING IN CONCRETE
The peak on the use of concrete in wine cellars was from 1940 to 1960. During these years, big concrete tanks were built with a bung hole in the lower side. The inside was plastered with cement and was finished with tartaric acid. This covering makes the concrete unassailable from the components of the wine.
In our case, the incorporation of concrete has been through ovoid containers.
The concrete allows the micro oxygenation through the pores. The physical principle that justifies the oval form is that the wine is subjected to an intern movement due to the differences in temperature that provoke fluids flows (some kind of natural battonage). The tannins become rounded in a natural process due to the oxygen supply. This ageing on concrete cancels the contribution of tannins and aromas from the barrel. The result is a pure wine (more varietal character) and a palate more glyceric.
These are the main characteristics of these casks:
1) Natural insolation. The heat conductivity of the concrete is ten times lower than the one of the stainless steel to reach the same thickness, but obviously the thickness used for the concrete is larger than the one used with the stainless steel, it is then when the difference is further aggravated.
The concrete tank is 350 times more insulating than the stainless steel tank, and this is, without a doubt an advantage in any of the productive processes of the wine.
The concrete obtains an stabilizing effect in the wine’s temperature, avoiding peaks that are harmful to the yeast. Inside of a concrete tank everything is more gradual, softer, without sudden changes, which is appreciated during the fermentation, but also in the storage or in the aging.
2) Microporosity. The concrete is a porous material due to its elaboration process and the materials with which it is composed. The concrete used in our tanks guarantees the air tightness, at the same time that provides them with microporosity, allowing a certain permeability to the flowing of oxygen.
The process called microoxygenation is the one making the wines evolve in a different way and to endure the time, obtaining results similar to the ones get with oak barrels, but keeping a purest flavour.
3) Neutral material. When we use an oak barrel to age a wine, not only do we obtain a microoxygenation of that wine, but also the wood relinquishes its tannins and its aromatic values during all the aging process unable to stable it.
The concrete of the tanks does not contain tannins, and the scent that it may get to transfer to the wine is soft and mineral, therefore we can achieve a natural microoxygenation inside of a tank made of a very neutral material.