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Descalzos Viejos Winery - Ronda (Malaga)

Traditional craftwork, architecture and history come together at Descalzos Viejos to morph into some of the best wines in the area. Wines created in Ronda with evocative and delicious aromas. A wealth of wine culture and architectural abundance worthy of a healthy toast!

By:  Lakshmi I. Aguirre
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Birth: 2000
Founded by: Paco Retamero and Flavio Salesi
Location: Ronda
Stands out for: excellent wine
Did you know? the owners restored the convent themselves

There is something that transcends the history of the earth, the green and ocher undulations of the surrounding landscape, the Trinitarian building that no longer bears the marks of the passage of time. It’s not the winery decorated with frescos or even the crystal clear water that trickles through Moorish water channels. It’s the taste of the wines that encapsulate the essence of the wind, sun and the atmosphere of Ronda.

The Descalzos Viejos winery was founded in 2000 to “produce a wine of exquisite quality”. Flavio Salesi and Paco Retamero, both architects, decided to purchase a 16th century convent in order to restore it to its former glory. Their 15 hectares of fertile land, which once belonged to monks from the Los Descalzos Order, have since been planted as vineyards. They are currently producing five wines that each have their own very unique character.

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Built into the slopes of the famous Tajo gorge in Ronda, the stone-built winery is as surprising as the view of the vineyards below is breathtaking. A stroll under the pomegranate, pine and avocado trees, with stone pathways leading through pools and terraces is only surpassed by the moment Flavio Salesi takes you to visit the magnificent central building. The wines are kept in barrels set against a perfect backdrop; the conserved remains of religious murals dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. Bear in mind that few people get the chance to see the winery in all its splendour. The owners avoid entertaining large groups of tourists and only accept special requests: “We create tailor-made visits for people with a particular interest in wine. We guide them through the vineyard and winery ourselves” explains Salesi.

2003 saw the creation of their first wine, the Dv+ 2004, a complex, red crianza made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Syrah. This was followed by the white Dv Chardonnay 2006, a surprisingly dense and powerful wine. Then came the Dv 2006, a younger red wine made with a blend of Syrah, Merlot and Grenache. It wasn’t until 2009 that Descalzos Viejos produced Dv ConArte, a special edition crianza created with Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot whose label was designed by the controversial Ronda-born artist Carlos Aires: “The protagonist of the label is a bombero torero (a clown-like dwarf dressed up as a bullfighter who does a show on a toy horse). It’s an ironic take on a classic Spanish icon, a modern approach to local customs,” explains Salesi. Thanks to these wines Descalzos Viejos has managed to position itself amongst some of the best wineries in Ronda in a very short space of time.

“We consider ourselves to be far closer to artisans than to manufacturers,” comments Salesi. With a production that doesn’t surpass four thousand bottles of wine a year, the collection, fermentation and the bottling are all done by hand at this Ronda-based winery. “The steep slope that separates the winery with the vineyards makes bringing the grapes up to the winery hard work!” highlights Salesi. The effort is rewarded with each and every taste from their seductive wine.

“Our wines are sweet by nature, unpredictable, spontaneous and the result of chance,” declares the lable of their latest wine Dv Mínima, a sweet wine that was born out of a fortuitous fluke. “The Grenache was overripe, it rained a great deal and the winter was warmer than usual. This created a fungus known as Botrytis Cinerea that serves to eliminate water from the grape and leaves only the sugars behind,” explains Salesi. The result is a wine that allures with its delicate, subtle and distinctive flavours.

“For many wineries their sales pitch is way better than their product,” he laments. “Should locals have to value local wines just because? No. They should learn to value them for their quality. Luckily the time has come when the people of Ronda are beginning to speak in terms of ‘our wines’,” clarifies Salesi. An Argentine who moved to Andalusia over two decades ago, Flavio Salesi confirms that “Andalusia welcomed him with open arms.” He has now returned the favour by producing one of the best wines in the region.


Getting there?

Bodega Descalzos Viejos
C/ Partido de los Molinos
Ronda, Málaga

Price: € 30. Only by appointment.

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El 21 March 2012 a las 11:25 AM, HOTEL BARCELO LA BOBADILLA dijo...

Buenos días, Estamos interesados en su vino tinto Descalzos Viejos y para ello me gustaría tener información de precio, distribuidor y ficha de cata.

Sin más por el mmento y esperando sus noticias, les saluda atentamente,

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