Founded by father and son Andrés and Rodolfo Valiente in 1999, Vegalfaro has since defined a very personal style, reflective of Rodolfo’s focus on terroir expression and sustainability. The property’s 60 hectares are farmed organically and managed under biodynamic principles. As champions of the local varieties and mindful viticulture, Vegalfaro have a no-nonsense approach to winemaking, allowing the landscape and grapes to speak for themselves.
The evolution of Vegalfaro has been one of continuous exploration, discovery and development, both technical and personal. While investing, without making compromises, on the best ways to work sustainably and bring out the best in the terroir of Utiel-Requena, Rodolfo has forged his own path to produce wines that are also very expressive of his personality: classical yet adventurous, authentic yet modern, edgy yet focused. At Vegalfaro, Irreverence meets precision; not surprising when led by Rodolfo, who once studied law, eventually becoming a man of the land who also plays bass in a rock band.
The estate’s name itself reflects this meeting of landscape and personal history: it combines ‘vega’, the word for a lowland meadow or stretch of alluvial soil, with the property’s historic name, Casa Alfaro. As do the wine collections produced by Vegalfaro and bearing the DO Utiel-Requena stamp.
Caprasia, the Iberian word for ‘the land of the goats’, is a range that summons the time when wild goats roamed free across the valleys and hills of Utiel-Requena. It was then, as far back as the 7th century BC, that one of the ancient Mediterranean’s most complex winemaking operations was established, defining a lineage of winemaking pioneers which these wines pay tribute to. Produced from estate-grown fruit only, the Caprasia range is born at the intersection of tradition and innovation; it calls upon ancestral winemaking methods and the need to preserve a unique cultural heritage while also relying on Rodolfo’s technical precision and attention to detail.
All methods, old and new, serve a single purpose: to convey the essence of the terroir and grapes, both indigenous and international, all of which develop a character of their own at Finca Alfaro. Gentle crushing and cold soaks are used to boost aromatic complexity and texture without obscuring the essence of the grapes. The estate’s century-old plants of Bobal continue to be bush-trained, and the organic and biodynamic practices, which have had a dramatic positive impact on soil health, have only served to increase the quality of the fruit they yield – playing a central role in the expressiveness, complexity and thoughtfulness of the Caprasia range.
The wines in the Rebel.lia collection, on the other hand, are all about the pleasure of sharing and celebrating. Rightful companions, with their purity, approachability and drinkability, to the music nights hosted by Rodolfo. By questioning assumptions and style, they reveal approachable, intriguing and fun interpretations of DO Utiel-Requena.
But of all that can be said about the wines of Vegalfaro, the most important element is – and has been throughout the company’s development – the people behind them; a passionate team that has been alongside Andrés and Rodolfo on a fascinating journey making their commitment to sustainability, terroir and quality an ever-evolving reality.
Three Vegalfaro wines to know:
Tasted and reviewed by the Decanter team
Caprasia Blanco, 2021
Alc 12.5%; 75% Macabeo, 25% Chardonnay
Lovely balance of the two varieties, with Macabeo’s fleshy orchard fruit and rich citrus balanced by Chardonnay’s zesty drive and mineral backbone. A subtle layer or exotic fruit – pineapple, melon, papaya – comes through on the mid palate, as does a gentle smokiness. Lingering notes of toasted almonds and white flowers.
Caprasia – Bobal Anfora Biparcelario, 202o
Alc 14.5%; 100% Bobal
Alluring freshness and purity of fruit with an underlying mineral aspect. Different layers unfold in the glass, revealing sour cherry, cranberry, tomato leaf and tarragon flavours. Very mindful winemaking on show. with smart use of different terroirs and ageing vessels (amphorae and barriques).
Rebel.lia Tinto, 2021
Alc 14%; 65% Tempranillo, 35% Garnacha Tintorera
There’s a very particular vibrancy to this blend of Garnacha Tintorera and Tempranillo, juggling bright red fruit, deep black cherry, crunchy red apples and refreshing blood orange. Approachable throughout with alcohol very well integrated. Tannins are firm but well sculpted. Juicy plum on the good finish.