The wine in the bottle and the image on the label of Gran Cerdo say a lot about Gonzalo Gonzalo, an extremely talented biodynamic winemaker who turned their back on traditional methods and has succeeded in creating a developing a burgeoning reputation despite several setbacks.
Gonzalo is a child of the vines having grown up on a family vineyard at Fuenmayor in the La Rioja region of Spain. So, it’s no surprise Gonzalo chose to follow family tradition and become a winemaker. However, Gonzalo opted to do things differently and, after studying oenology, a trip around France and Italy facilitated the discovery of natural winemaking, encouraging the decision to pursue that ethos and philosophy.
The decision to move away from the traditional process was reaffirmed when Gonzalo’s father died as a result of an illness caused by years of working with chemical fertilisers and herbicides. Gonzalo now farms the grapes without adding sulphur or artificial yeast and fermented in concrete tanks so there is no oak influence. The result is a smooth wine which is heavy on fruit and is great with food or on its own.
The wines that Gonzalo produces use no filtration or stabilisation and has established a growing following. And the label, featuring a fat pig (Gran Cerdo in Spanish) is another nod to the difficulties that occurred during their first vintage. Needing financial support to complete the harvest, Gonzalo turned to the bank. The application was declined on the basis that wine was not regarded as suitable security for the loan as it could not be seized if repayments were not made on time.
Fortunately, friends stepped up to provide the backing and the wine was well-received – and Gonzalo has gone on to repeat that success in subsequent years. However, that initial snub from the bank has not been forgotten. In fact, this wine was named after the ‘fat pigs’ who almost killed Gonzalo’s business.
In dedicating the wine to the bankers, Gonzalo said, “One day, these greasy and sweaty corporate suits will find that the best things in life cannot be impounded. Thanks to our friends help, we were finally able to bottle this wine.”