Charlotte, the Englishwoman of Fermoselle

21 March 2014

The wines of Charlotte Allen express as few the strength and the truth of the terroir. His Pyrite red wines contain the keys that explain the relationship between man and the vineyard. In this case, the one of a brave woman with vines twisted by the years, precisely those providing the grapes that have made that her wines express her idea of wine. Her dream has become real. Red wines in which she has captured his modern oenological knowledge and her ecological vision of the vine, in each bottle. In this way she has made a dent in the quality wine markets with the seal of a legendary wine area, now protected by the Designation of Origin Arribes.

Seven vegetative cycles have passed, with their corresponding harvests, all of them hard, but benign, since Charlotte (Carlota) put her feet, her hands and her soul of wine on the arribe. Seven long years loking after the fermentation of her wines, which are born in the scenary that shocked her so much when she first contemplated it in the 2007 vintage, and still impacts her - the wild and dark canyons that the Douro cracks in this wine region in nothwest area in Zamora.

Unknown paradise

Carlota bet strongly for an unknown paradise, looking for the ampelographic treasure of the “solar de los follacos” (popular nickname of the inhabitants of Fermoselle), which are the old vines of “Juan García”, “bruñal”, “malvasía”, “puesta en cruz”, “bastardillo serrano” and “chico”,” tinta Madrid”, “tinta Jeromo”, “gajo arroba”, “tempranillo” and “verdejo colorao”, among others.

Carlota has already won, at least, the most important battles of her personal war against the arribe. She works the old hawthorns from El Polvorín and Camporredondo. Of course, she performs with her own hands the cultural practices, from the plow, sometimes with mule, to the pruning. A behavior that has become almost a religion for this English winemaker who decided to leave archeology at university to study oenology in France. Carlota is proud to obtain her wines from the soil. When possible, she performs a micro fermentation before transferring the wines to the oak barrels.

After studying oenology, visiting several countries and drinking from the Gallic sources of wine, Carlota made the decision to choose Spain as her dreamed terroir. Her friend Didier Belondrade, the Frenchman from La Seca and a convinced 'wine hispanist', advised Carlota to visit Zamora Arribes, a natural area that preserved nature intact and, therefore, the heroic vineyards that climb the slopes of the Douro over the terraces.

In this way, from the hand of a Frenchman, an Englishwoman came to Fermoselle. But, as bucolic as Carlota's romance may seem with the arribel, it's still hard. "We must really demonstrate that wine expresses the terroir," she says. Carlota knows that this requires personal, physical efforts and risks when marketing; much honesty in the ellaboration and respect for the natural environment of the vineyards.

Subterranean Cellar

Carlota produces her wine in a small subterranean cellar, one of many that pierce the granite territory of Fermoselle, the undisputed capital of Zamora Arribes. His winery is called Almaroja, a word that responds to a set of initials, without further interpretations. It is located in the most wine street of the village, the one of Fontanicas. Her winery produces an average of 10,000 bottles a year, of which 10% are red and the rest white. They all go through a period of aging in oak barrels. It exports 50% of the production and the national market absorbs the rest of its red wines Pirita and the last wine that bears her name, Charlotte Allen.


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