Gonzalo Iturriaga de Juan, el alma de la bodegas Tempos Vega Sicilia

Today in “allwinestories on air” we are hosting Mr. Gonzalo Iturriaga de Juan, the technical manager of the emblematic “Tempos Vega Sicilia”.

We at are dedicated wine lovers. Well, please let me start by asking you to describe me the history as well as the philosophy of your winery.

Initially, considering the history we have to go back in 1864 to Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, the first owner of the winery. He planted the first vines in the appropriate places of our limestone soil and moreover he planted varieties especially from Bordeaux such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot as well as Malbec and Tinto Fino the local name of Tempranillo grape. Then the Antonio Herrero Vazquez family took over the winery· the most important thing they did was to start working with Cosme Palacio, the winemaker from Rioja. Next was Hans Neumann and the final step at 1982 was the Alvarez Family. Today Pablo Alvarez CEO continues the tradition of iconic Tempos Vega Sicilia. He bought the winery knowing little about the production of wine, but was very passionate and in 1991 they founded the Alion, another winery located in Leon.

Alvarez family wanted to create a more cosmopolitan wine and they succeeded in it. In 1993, just 3 years after the fall of Communism, the Alvarez Family turned its sights to Hungary and founded Tokaj-Oremus Viedos y Bodegas. Then we invested in Toro wine region and in 2001, founded Pintia winery. Our last project was Macan in 2013 with Benjamin de Rothschild. We decided to create something together. The unionof two leading name of the world of wine is based in La Rioja wine region. We started tasting wine secretly  and now we have a year that we have started producing wine. In 2016 we improved our facilities and this is going extremely well.

In all our projects Vega Sicilia, Pintia, Alion, Macan and Oremus, our philosophy is the same. We work with the same respect in the production of all our wines following a quite ecological method, a principal factor for our heritage. Also essential is the choice of the locations of our wineries. All new plantations are turned to these choices. Whenever we start a project, we need time to reach the style of wine we want. When we get there, we keep evolving but keeping the same style of wine.

We would like to know a few things about your personal history in relation to winemaking.

Well, I took my first steps in the winery by chance. I was in Spain, in Madrid, not knowing what to do in my life, so I went to Herederos del Marques de Riscal for three months’ summer work. I really liked it and asked the director how could I improve my knowledge. So he helped me go to France, to the University of Montpellier, as he believed that it is important to produce wine in a country of wine culture. So, I went there and after my 2 years experience in France, I went to Bodegas Habla in the southwest of Spain. This was a completely different project, being responsible for more people, facing new challenges. Six years later, when the financial crisis hit in 2008, everything changed and I took on something different. I was in charge of a French biotechnology company in America and I really enjoyed travelling, moving from one place to another and visiting various wineries. But in 2015 Pablo Alvarez, the owner of Vega Sicilia, invited me to work with him. For me and for all Spanish winemakers, Vega Sicilia is a dream, so I could not refuse this great offer.

What are the milestones in your career?

I was just a lucky person in my career. I was in the right place at the right time. When I went to Riscal in 2002 the director guided me to go to Montpellier and it was crucial for my career. The opportunity of having my first job in a small winery, where I worked for two years with a great consultant from Bordeaux from whom I took my first lessons. Habla was also a very important step with Xavier Ausas, ex technical director, from whom I learned a lot. And now I work with two wonderful consultants, one from Bordeaux and Kyriakos Kinigopoulos -also winemaker- based in Burgundy who specializes in Mandolas.

I have personally tasted several wines from your production. They are fine wines, but what impressed me most is the Tokaj Oremus Mandolas. Will you be able to share with us some of your secrets about this wine?

Oremus Mandolas was made under the instructions of the Technical Director Bacso Andras in Hungary since 2000. He has been travelling a lot since the communist era. He had a special passport that allowed him to travel from one continent to another. In 2000 he started producing white wines. In 2004 he decided to produce white dry wine as he wanted to produce excellent wine with huge potential. In 2015 we wanted to give a boost to this project and we started working with the Greek oenologist and consultant Kyriakos Kinigopoulos. He helped us improve the quality of wine and we are now more precise in what material we use to produce fine wines. Mandolas is one of the Oremus vineyards and it is only planted with Furmint, the noble variety of the region. We are produced in volcanic soils and you have to harvest them at the right time, because if it is done much later you lose the freshness, while if it is done too early it will be very crunchy, so it needs to be done at the right time. Then the fermentation takes place in new barrels and takes 8-12 days. The wine is aged in 136lt small barrels.




Discover “Kairos Cattin”

In 2020, the Cattin-Grands vins Cremant d΄ Alsace estate celebrates 300th anniversary.

For the 300th anniversary of our wine estate, we had planned a lot of celebrations for you which had to be canceled or postponed to calmer times.

But this artistic and oenological concept is one that cannot be stopped and today begins a story of time that will last no less than … 14 years “Jacques Cattin Jr, says”.

This time will be symbolized by this jeroboam-shaped work of art from Crémant, a special cuvée that has been called “Kairos”, the name of the God of the right occasion and the concept of doing the right thing at the right time.

More precisely, it is an immaterial notion of time measured not by a watch, but by a feeling.

In order to experience the “Kairos Cattin”, 300 jeroboams will be offered in 3 moments, at a rate of 100 in 2020, 100 in 2027, and 100 in 2034.

Between each period, the bottles will age in our cellars to gain in complexity, continues Anais Cattin. And the 9 works that adorn this collector’s bottle will also evolve according to the artists’ inspiration of the artists

More than a cuvée, more than a bottle, this is a unique concept in the wine world and which will perfectly represent to our taste the evolution of wine and art over time. Stay connect to Famille Cattin web page, invite your friends, because we will tell you more regularly about this fascinating philosophical and oenological concept.

Agios Chronos

On the occasion of breakthrough awarding of the elegant and finest wine of  Avantis Estate “Agios Chronos” at Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2019 with a total marking 97/100, we’ve asked the Winemaker Apostolos Mountrichas how the name of this wine came up.

The new wave of Naousa, Kostis Dalamaras

The city of Naoussa wakes up. The fireplaces are smoked and their tobaccos are spread like a cloud in the Strantza wine-growing zone. We take the road to Veria. No, we are not leaving yet. We revert back to “Niaousta” heading towards Dalamaras family winery at the entrance of the town. Τhe winemaker Kostis Dalamaras is waiting for us. As the cold is still possible, we invade in the warm wine tasting place.

A few words about me.

We, wine labels, you see, are a difficult case. We can be as complex as the contents within the bottle. In addition to good looks, we must provide a lot of information. There is a lot you need to know about a bottle of wine, and it is our job to make it known to every consumer.

The rooster of Savvatiano wine

In the early 1900s, my grandfather, Vassilis Papayannakos, went to America, lived in Chicago for 10 years, worked, collected money and when he returned home, he invested it in vineyards, married my grandmother Marika, who also owned many vineyards, and began to expand professionally. My father succeeded him, but he decided to become more involved in the business by making wine from the vines of his uncles as well.

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