It is beyond doubt that Rioja is one of the foremost wine regions in the world, but that doesn’t mean there is no potential to be tapped or no new approaches to be explored. The team behind de Alto definitely believe this and have been focusing more and more on what goes on in the vineyard than the bodega. Working with selected vineyards that have been converted and transformed into organic certified oases, the resulting wines are all about the fruit rather than winery and the ageing process. This ‘loco’ approach to the accepted Riojan wisdom has put the winery in stark contrast to the establishment and they seized their chance to create something fun, fresh and lively. Gatito Loco was born.
Harvested at night, the grapes are crushed and de-stemmed to 10 ton fermenters where the free run juice is drained off and cooled to 5 degrees to allow for a cold soak of 7-8 days. Some of the tanks are innoculated with selected commercial yeast strains as well as a couple which are allowed to utilise the winery's natural yeast flora and ferment on their own. During fermentation the initial ferment is kept cool to allow the maximum of fruit flavours and then allowed to warm up towards the end, giving good extraction of vital tannins as well as giving palate weight. The wines are kept on skins for a further 12 days after a 15 to 20 day ferment.
A bright fruit-bursting wine that emphasises vineyard over bodega, which discards the hackneyed image of Rioja, everything about this wine is intentionally provocative to challenge your view on what Rioja is. Careful. This kitty has claws. This wine stands out for its red and black fruits and liquorice aromas. Fresh and round with a multitude of nuances supporting the black fruit flavours.
Pasta and meat dishes like bolognaise are an ideal pairing.