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Gravitas goes Spanish

Published:  23 July, 2008

Gravitas owner Martyn Nicholls has bought an 18-hectare
site in Andalusia, Spain, to produce Riesling.
Nicholls, whose wines have won nearly 60 medals in the past two years, said he drove 50,000 miles over five years across the world to find his ideal site.
He said: The site is 1,400m high, and it has Spain's biggest snow mountain behind it. The temperature is closer to that of the Rhine Valley than people would think. The soils are just like the Mosel Valley: schist and slate. There are only really about a dozen Riesling vineyards in Spain, mainly in Pnedes. In Spain, you have crisp, cold nights but also longer, warmer days. It's effectively the difference between Marlborough and the Loire with Sauvignon Blanc.'

Nicholls, who said he suspected that his Spanish Riesling would be a little more aromatic' than most New Zealand counterparts, added:

I think that Spain is the most exciting wine region in Europe. It's incredibly dynamic, and there are a lot of good, young winemakers there, with lots of youthful ambition. Also, the rules are not nearly so tough as they are in France.'

A former banker and a graduate of Plumpton College in East Sussex, as well as UC Davis and Roseworthy in Australia, Nicholls is also writing a book titled The Business of Wine and he produces olive oil and black Prigord truffles in addition

to his wine business.

His first Spanish vintage is expected in 2009.