Sustainability | Wine

Discover the pre-phylloxera varieties planted at Jean Leon

Discover the pre-phylloxera varieties planted at Jean Leon

What happens to the vines if the average temperature rises dramatically? Global warming is caused in part by the increase in greenhouse gases.

If we look at climate change prediction models, the different scenarios predict not only a progressive increase in temperatures, but also a reduction in rainfall and an increase in extreme weather events. Under current environmental policies, an increase of between 2.7 and 3.1 °C is expected by 2100. As a result, all crops are affected, including vineyards.

Faced with such an adverse scenario, there is no single solution to apply to maintain the quality and productivity of vineyards, there are a number of viticultural solutions such as:

  •  Working at a higher altitude (every 100 meters it is reduced by 0.7 °C the temperature).
  •  Changing the orientation of the vineyard to decrease the incidence of direct afternoon sun on the grapes.
  • Working with a conduction system management that protects the grapes from solar radiation.
  • Reduce planting density (less stress).
  • Apply drip irrigation.
  • Changing the rootstock in new plantings (there are new rootstocks that are very resistant to drought).
  • Finally, working with clonal selection of known varieties and with native minority varieties that are more adapted to climate change.

In the case of the latter, Familia Torres began a project at the end of the 1980s to recover the Catalan viticultural heritage that had been lost with the arrival of phylloxera. Phylloxera was an insect that devastated Spain during the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, which in the case of Catalonia has been left with only a quarter of the vineyards that were cultivated at that time. Numerous varieties that were very interesting from a qualitative point of view were lost.

Throughout the Familia Torres selection process, not only the most qualitative varieties were selected, but also those that ripened later and gave rise to wines with good acidity (livelier and with greater aging capacity).  Two of the varieties recovered were Forcada (white) and Moneu (red).  At Jean Leon we wanted to be part of this project, and we planted the two pre-phylloxera varieties Forcada and Moneu in 2020. 

What are the Jean Leon varieties like?

Moneu 

Discover the pre-phylloxera varieties planted at Jean Leon

The rediscovery of this variety arose in Querol in 1998, in the Alt Camp region. It is a variety in which the vine has been able to adapt to the drastic climate change.

Moneu is characterized by being a medium-low production variety. It has a late ripening and shows some sensitivity to mildew (the name given to several cryptogamic diseases that attack plants).

This variety, when transferred to a wine with a short maceration period, gives rise to an intense wine, with aromas of fresh fruit and perfumed notes. In the mouth, it is usually silky and smooth, with marked acidity, good concentration and balanced tannins.

Forcada

Discover the pre-phylloxera varieties planted at Jean Leon

The Forcada variety, like Moneu, has a high resistance to drought and above all a very late ripening. 

It has a great advantage, which is that it benefits from the clay soils found on our estate. The variety is vigorous and produces medium-sized clusters and is slightly sensitive to mildew. 

Its aromatic complexity and freshness are surprising. It has a markedly Mediterranean profile with aromas of herbs, white flowers and citrus notes. On the palate it stands out for its great acidity that can be very well compensated by a good smoothness, the result of a good work with lees.

Discover the pre-phylloxera varieties planted at Jean Leon

Thanks to the implementation of these two varieties (Forcada and Moneu), we are able to enhance the viticultural biodiversity in Jean Leon, as well as in the Penedès region.