Telmo refers to himself as a ‘driving winemaker’. We got a real taste of why when we spent a week crammed into cars driving across the top of Spain to his various projects. Or when we went off-roading through vineyards in his 1960s convertible Land Rover, closely tailed by his small dog named Spoon (that’s not a translation). Telmo is a total character and is incredibly passionate about making authentic Spanish wines using native Spanish grapes. He scours the country looking for abandoned old vineyards that he can revive and return to their former glory. It’s painstaking work but the wines produced from these low-yielding 100+ year-old vines are thrilling. In addition to making a tiny amount of ultra-premium wine (we get half a dozen 6-packs of each) Telmo also makes a collection of entry-level wines that are some of the best value in our portfolio.

The term ‘Rioja Corriente’ was used in the early twentieth century by growers to refer to an everyday wine. Telmo’s version is elevated, of course, but that’s the idea – it’s meant to be drunk now and shared around for any occasion. The fruit is handpicked and comes from old unirrigated bush vines in Alavesa, the coolest of Rioja’s three sub-regions. It’s made at Telmo’s small gravity-flow winery in Lanciego that blends in with the landscape, surrounded by wild grasses. The wine is fermented with native yeast in steel and concrete vats and then is aged for 12 months in older barrels of varying size. This is fruit-driven with a touch of herbal complexity and full of energy. Time to clean off the grill.

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