Cendal Garnacha is made by Bodegas Tavera which is located in the village of Camarena in the Gredos Mountains and the DO of Mentrida just south of Madrid. The winery dates back to 1917 when the first cellar was built, but at the time there were certainly vines of Garnacha in the area long before the estate was officially established. Today, the Bodega is run by Consuelo Gonzalez and her brother, Jesus, who were thrust into the responsibility of running the family estate with the untimely passing of their brother José Antonio who died in a car crash in 2006. Consuelo and Jesus’ passion for wine began when they were young in the 1960s, and they used to ‘work’ alongside their parents and grandparents during the harvest. These were leaner and simpler times, but filled with both joy and pride for the outstanding and unique Garnacha produced by the family’s vines.
Like the outstanding wines of Bernabeleva located about 35 miles to the northwest in the DO of Vinos de Madrid, Cendal boasts very old, head-pruned vines planted at high elevation in sandy soils. These sandy soils are derived from the erosion of the granite in the Gredos mountains and contains high levels of quartz and feldspar. The average age of the vines here is at least 80 years old! In this part of Spain, the unique microclimate features warm days and cool nights with huge diurnal shifts. This combo produces Garnacha that is both silky and fresh, with lovely aromatic, spicy, red fruits and nice underpinning of minerality from the soils.
The wines are all fermented in tank with indigenous yeasts. They are then clarified naturally over a period of several months via a series of gentle rackings. The name Cendal comes from the silken scarf worn in the time of “Don Quixote” and is the name attributed to this ‘silken’ old vine Garnacha.
Although Spain produces boatloads of generic Garnacha, this wine punches WAY above its weight class in terms of quality and its expression of the varietal and its origins. It would easily hold its own in a tasting of Grenaches from Spain, France, or anywhere else.