The state motto of Andorra, Virtus Unita Fortior, can be translated as “Virtue united is stronger”. I mention this because I went for the third time to the Trobada de Microproductors de vi a Andorra, a wine fair that in my opinion will get transformed into a classic.
The guiding principles of the fair and landscape will help to improve the coming editions in a framework of singularity, height and freshness of the wines. The Andorran flag appears to support this idea: blue for the sky; yellow for the white wines; and red for the red ones.
This fourth edition has been very nice. I remember the first edition, in which weather wasn’t very supportive, but freezing. In any case, I managed to get to know some interesting winemakers as Casa Beal (Andorra), F. Schatz (D.O. Serranía de Ronda) or Coto de Gomariz (D.O. Ribeiro).
I wanted to visit the vineyards in that occasion, but I couldn’t. I wondered why anyone would think of making wine in such steeply mountains, and I thought that it would be easier to buy some plots either in Spain or France.
At last, the reason to get into winemaking, as any other aspects of life, doesn’t follow economical criteria, but passion. This point is crucial when we talk about small winemakers. Their singularity and low production give importance to these type of fairs. Every edition has been better than the previous one. About 60 winemakers have participated this year. This gives a good chance to professionals and amateurs to enjoy an array of winemaking technics, grape varieties and geographical areas. I hope I will have the chance to taste more wines in the coming editions (I managed quite well this edition :-))
I want to mention with special affection the Andorran winemakers. They have done a very good job since the first edition. Their wines were interesting already, but now they are much better. There are four Andorran winemakers only: Casa Auvinyà, Borda Sabaté, Celler Mas Berenguer and Casa Beal;
the last one didn’t participate this year. I tasted the three present ones. They produce fresh, concise and well done wines. It couldn’t be in a different way, as the minimum altitude is 1000 metres high, the orientation of the vineyards is critical and the choice of organic farms make a difference between success and failure. Riesling, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, Albariño, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Chardonnay and Cornalin walk together with Merlot and Syrah, looking at the valleys of Andorra.
Another point that draw my attention was the array of sweet and oxidative type wines from Spain and France. It seems that these small winemakers are thinking, -We are small. We work hard. We strive to get the very best. Perhaps we will succeed and make our living… So, let’s make a sweet wine. One of those ones that our grandfathers used to produce with plenty of difficulties, without an economical benefit. Those old fashioned wines. Let’s do it just for fun, and because we think it’s worth it.-
This is a point of view that Quixote will take. I share it. So let’s cheer for these winemakers that give us the chance to enjoy these unique and rare wines. I hope more winemakers, references and countries will be represented in the coming years. No doubt that this will happen. Virtus Unita Fortior.