Josep-Maria Vendrell possesses 17 hectares of vines around the village of Marca in Montsant, not far from Falset. He keeps the best old-vine lots of grapes and sells the rest off in bulk to Miguel Torres. The trend in this area is to produce formulaic wines that show very little character other than the new oak that the popular winemaker-consultants in the area insist will please the journalists. This young man is already bucking that trend, for he knows that the terroir (teruño in Spanish) of his area and very old vine (50-80 years) Garnacha and Cariñena are worth showing through in his wine. He is a winemaker to watch that strikes us as already being at the top of his game after only four vintages on his own.
Vendrell’s vineyards are farmed organically without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. They are continuously plowed not only for weed management, but to encourage deep root growth. By doing this, the grapes will inevitably show the underlying character of the terroir but also be more resistant to drought. His winery is perfectly suited to his artisan stature. It is modern, but manageable by one person. With the help of his father and an old family friend in the vineyards, this is truly hand-made wine that undergoes minimal handling in the cellars and leaps out of the glass once released from its bottle.