Alberto Orte Vara y Pulgar

It’s hard not being fascinated by Alberto Orte — a man who is creating Spanish wine history through history, who is creating the future Spanish wine map through looking back in time. Alberto is without a doubt one of Spains most interesting winemakers.

Alberto grew up in Madrid where he also attended law school. During his time in the city an interest for wine emerged, perhaps sparked on one of his trips down to Cádiz where Alberto had family working with wine. Eventually Alberto earned a diploma in oenology, in that way continuing his family’s wine legacy, whom have been wine producers since the late 1800’s. Today Alberto lives in Cádiz.

Cádiz is only one of the regions Alberto grows vines, he also does in Valencia, Rioja, Galicia and others. Alberto is involved in many wine projects around Spain and wherever he goes the idea is the same –
to create genuine wine of the land where it grows, and to the history part, of grapes that are indigenous to the place. All through respecting nature, practicing organic farming and sensible, hands-off winemaking Alberto dedicates much of his time researching Spanish wine history through documents, writings and the memory of older generations. Especially one iconic piece of Spanish wine literature has proven to be very valuable: Simon de Rojas Clemente y Rubios documentations about varieties and their characteristics in Jerez from 1807. The examples of Alberto’s fascinating work are many and equally unique.

Ever since Alberto set out on his mission he has been in search of truly great vineyards, sites that out-perform and gives the potential of producing the best wine in a given region. This work has involved identifying indigenous varieties and old vines grown organically in balanced, low-yielding, soils. Alberto is today one of the main figures and one of only a handful producers, as the likes of Raúl Pérez and Envinate, taking care of the old viticultural heritage Spain has; saving old varieties, recuperating old vineyards/regions as well as making wine based on terroir/site rather than blending them all together. These people are in the forefront of bringing Spain into a new (or old so to speak) era of wine.

Vara y Pulgar is a rare wine produced from a rare grape in the Jerez region. The vines are tended in Albariza soil. The wine is aged in large cement and oak vats in addition to small barrels of 225 liters. Pair with roast lamb, spicy sausage or charcuterie in a supporting role, this wine would fare well on the table.