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maisulan the founders
Maisulan is the work of Eva Fernández and Luis Ruiz de Viñaspre. They describe themselves as "two crazy people who are in love with their land" and therefore work it in a very special way. Both Eva Fernández and Luis Ruiz de Viñaspre come from Rioja Alavesa. In Luis' case, you can even tell from the name, because Viñaspre is a neighbouring village to Elvillar, where they also own plots of land.

For them, the land protected by the Sierra Cantabria from all too fierce Atlantic winds is the land of their families who have lived there for generations, criss-crossed by many small ravines and characterised by olive trees that are often centuries old.

The vineyards are mostly on slopes and the vines are mostly still trained as bush vines.
The small, cropped and partly old vines provide the juice for two entry-level qualities and a range of parcel wines. The winemaking couple already turned to organic farming with biodynamic means many years ago.

Terroir wines from Rioja Alavesa

Rioja Alavesa, together with the even higher Rioja Alta and Rioja Oriental, which already has a distinct Mediterranean influence, forms a trio in Rioja. Of the approximately 61,000 hectares of vineyards, around 12,000 hectares are located in Rioja Alavesa. It is the smallest of the three sub-appellations and the only one that lies entirely in the Basque Country. While Rioja Oriental tends to produce Mediterranean wines and many Rosados, and the higher-lying Rioja Alta is known more for long-ripening, tannin-rich Rioja, Rioja Alavesa tends to cultivate a charming, fruity and spicy style. This style can be seen above all in the two entry-level qualities 6 Meses and 12 Meses from Maisulan, while the single-vineyard wines appear downright delicate, finesse-rich and precise.

More about Maisulan

When the two started looking into the work of the Japanese rice farmer Masanobu Fukuoka, they realised they wanted to go one step further. The work of the Japanese farmer, who was born in 1913 and died in 2008, is groundbreaking in terms of minimally invasive agriculture.
Masanobu Fukuoka
Masanobu Fukuoka - the inspirational figure of Eva and Luis

The son of a rice farmer, who trained as a microbiologist, has developed the agriculture of doing nothing, which he uses to describe the fact that soils improve and are more fertile if they are first brought into equilibrium and then largely left to their own devices.

It is therefore a form of agriculture that can be described as "do nothing unnecessary". Accordingly, Eva Fernández and Luis Ruiz de Viñaspre work their plots with restraint.

Cornulans single layers

The vineyards are located in Elvillar, Viñaspre and Moreda. They are mainly characterised by calcareous marl and clay and are partly very stony with quite high water permeability. The vineyards are mainly planted with Tempranillo and Graciano, which is also vinified as Txabola. Graciano is usually a serving variety, like in the 12 Meses, where you find about 10 % Graciano. The Txabola shows the very clear character of the variety with its purple fruit and the special spiciness. The very successful use of two-year-old barriques, which is characteristic of the Txabola as well as the single-varietal Tempranillo Los Magines, is always accompanied by a very clear acidity. The tannin does not turn into cotton wool or cream in these wines, but remains distinctive.

The Tempranillo from the Sobremoro vineyard stays longer in the wood, which also has a more pronounced effect here. Nevertheless, it is used in a very balanced way and harmonises with the fruit and the liveliness of the wine. The wines are very clear, not extracted or lush, charming and on the one hand sensual, on the other hand they have clear contours.

Text and wine expertise - Christoph Raffelt