Staff Selections •Peter Plaehn

Seasonal Pick 2024

Bodegas Cenit Field Blend “Tradicion”

(Zamora, Spain )

Surdyk's Price

When I got into wine I never thought I’d become fascinated with how vineyards were planted and worked, all the way back to ancient times. The pretty, groomed single-variety vineyards we’re used to in places like Napa are a very modern invention of the last 100 years, and now with the renaissance of agricultural polyculture – cultivating multiple kinds of crop species as well as integrating insect and animal biospheres – has brought farming full-circle toward what it was centuries ago. The tradition of co-planting of multiple varieties and harvesting them all together – field blending -- is also returning, letting us taste what some of these vineyards may have been producing generations ago. Wineries like Bodegas Viñas del Cenit are embracing their old vineyards and the spectrum of grapes planted in them. The hills of Zamora, to the west of the Toro DO and the more famous Rueda DO in western Spain, are littered with old co-planted vineyards of extreme age. This wine comes from scraggly bush vines over a hundred years old, organically farmed, and planted to both red and white varieties. Tinto de Toro (Tempranillo) forms the backbone, but the white varieties of Doña Blanca, Verdejo and Albillo make this very different than other Tempranillo-based wines and unique to this region. Albillo contributes texture and Verdejo aroma, but the key player is the Doña Blanca: it brings an amaro-like bitterness to the finish of what might otherwise be a simple table wine. Let’s not kid ourselves, it still is, but thanks to the modern wine industry what was once common is now a small-production wine of 3000 bottles we managed to get around a hundred of. Enjoy this bit of history while it’s available! 6/case (121253)