We continued our #OleWinos adventure with host MGWines Group (WL, FB, Tw), at their stellar Bodegas Lavia (WL, FB, Tw) #wine estate in the Bullas DO (WL, FB). You might remember that I visited DO Bullas a couple years back during our #Murcia8 journey. It was wonderful to be back and to visit a new part of this small Spanish appellation, the smallest in the Murcia region of Spain. It is here that MGWines found the latest jewel in their basket of unique, fine wineries across the multitude of Spanish wine regions. Our host for this trip was again, winemaker Sebastien Boudon. He splits his time between Sierra Salinas and Lavia, which are about 100 km apart from each other. The rain and clouds followed us to Lavia as well, but that didn’t stop us from taking in the striking mountainous surroundings of the Lavia estate.
As described previously, wines from Bullas are mainly composed of the magnificent monastrell grape and tend to be more elegant, floral and lighter in weight than other wines from its neighboring Murcia DO’s of Yecla and Jumilla. It is also the highest in elevation of the three and tends to get the most rainfall (though still quite low) and have higher humidity from the surrounding conifer forests, all of which stresses the dry-farmed vines less than neighboring regions. The green trees and forests of the surrounding mountain peaks are a marked contrast from the drier Alicante appellation that we visited the day before. The soil is characterized by lot of shale rocks and stone, making for a very well-drained mixture and also allows these vines to easily send their roots quite deep in search of water and nutrients, picking up fine minerals along the way. The estate owns roughly 30 acres of organically grown vines, with 5 of syrah and the rest monastrell. The syrah averages 16 years in age, with the monastrell at 35 years old. They further source fruit from surrounding old vine vineyards, of airén, syrah, macabeo/viura, and 2-3 other foreign grape varieties.
Similar to Sierra Salinas, this winery is also quite the architectural wonder and designed to minimize manual handling of the grapes, juice and wine, allowing gravity to take care of those movements. The gorgeous modern stone building manages to both shine alone in its surroundings, but also blend in with nearby natural landscape. Built in 2004, MGWines purchased the property in 2014, which was also Boudon’s first vintage at the estate. The winery is much larger than their current needs, but they plan to greatly expand production, while still maintaining a boutique, hands-on approach by Boudon and his team. Wine production currently sits at roughly 4,000 cases, so there is plenty of room to expand, as they continue to identify the best nearby fruit and vineyards.
It is quite clear from our tasting following the estate tour, that they have already found some of the best vineyards in the DO: these were some of my favorite wines from the strong MGWines Group portfolio! It was in the Bodega’s very modern tasting lounge and wine store, which overlooks the rows of old syrah vines and stony soils that surround the winery, that we tasted through the wines of the day.
We tasted through a number of mainly back vintage wines from the estate, from all three tiers of wines. The lowest tier, though still with plenty of #QPRWK quality, is the straight Lavia red blend. Next up is the Lavia+ label, a tighter selection of some of the best lots from each vintage, followed by the flagship Lavia+ Finca Paso Malo. This single vineyard wine is made only in select years and is 100% estate monastrell.
All of these wines are characterized by balance, acidity, elegance, and in the case of the Paso Malo, restrained power, all of which can age for long time past their stated vintage. You will find peppery, juicy red fruit in the early vintages, along with only a dusting of toast to balance the medium body and smooth, fine tannins. With age, savory leather, scorched earth and more black fruit starts to enter the palate and nose. If you’ve ever read any of my tasting notes in the past, you’ll know that these combos excite my palate in its core. Please enjoy the tasting notes below and hopefully you too can try these wines in the coming years. ¡Salud!
A giant thank you goes out to our hosts, MGWines Group and Kraynick Consulting. You can find all of our #OleWinos content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The photos are posted at the #Vinopanion Facebook page and the wines reviews at WineLog. You can read the MGWines Group blog post about our trip at their site, as well.
Wines tasted during our #OleWinos visit to Bodegas Lavia (WL, FB, Tw):
Color: Medium ruby in the core, light ruby by edges.
Nose: Peppery red cherry berry fruit here, almost of garnacha, with light toast.
Palate: Great medium smooth feel and weight here, juicy and tasty, ripe cherry berry fruit as well, with good blackberry, light tannin, and great acid. Finishes with light toast and unsweetened chocolate: QPRWK.
Color: Starting to get some brick in the core color, edges are clearer brick red.
Nose: Drier red fruit here, with earthier, fully integrated oak. Some dried leaves here as well.
Palate: Dried, tasty cherry liqueur here in the fore, light dry tannin, juicy acidity, finishes with a bit of chalk, and flint. Good: QPRWK.
Color: Medium to dark garnet in core, more dark brick edges.
Nose: Deeper cool, earthy menthol and anise here, drier black fruit in the nose with cigar and new leather.
Palate: Medium full and very round and smooth palate. Good mix of drier red and black fruit, dry firmer tannin, savory cherry tobacco as well, with good acid. More leathery notes into the finish: OldWorldWK.
Lavia Bullas Monastrell Lavia+ 2009
Color: Light to medium ruby in the core, light on edges.
Nose: Brambly and brighter cranberry fruited nose here, then rounder raspberry near the rim with medium toast.
Palate: Good savory mouth at first here, with nougat flavors, but unsweetened, with earth, black fruit, anise, medium fine tannin and good balanced acidity. Good mouthfeel that continues to get smoother and more elegant with additional air: KeeperWK.
Lavia Bullas Monastrell Lavia+ 2006
Lavia Bullas Monastrell Lavia+ Finca Paso Malo 2012
Color: Darker garnet core with violet highlights, violet edges.
Nose: Big red and black plum in the nose with nice violet and rose petal florals. Lurking oak underneath.
Palate: Bigger mouthfeel here and integrating but already nicely smooth and round with very fine tannin, almost feathery. Medium sweet chocolate marzipan as well, with juicy acidity to brighten things up. Still integrating, but will be good in a few years: KeeperWK.