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GCF ups focus on Spanish portfolio, with organic and vegan certification

Published:  08 July, 2019

Les Grands Chais de France's (GCF) has continued to invest in its first venture beyond its Gallic roots, the Castillo Aresan estate in La Mancha, with organic and vegan cerification for a range that now includes 10 single varietal wines acorss the colour spectrum.

The company, which operates estates on an individual basis across a majority of France’s major wine producing regions, has sought to replicate this strategy with Castillo Aresan, which it purchased in 2017, marking a significant departure from its previously solely French regional focus. 

“The GCF Group is seriously committed to taking out of France the model that has been so successful in France, by investing directly into vineyards and winery,” said Mark Kears, GCF managing director for UK & Ireland.

“Spain and La Mancha have a lot to offer, and this property has 200ha of modern vineyards with a range of popular and alternative grape varieties. The wines offer both a traditional and a modern point of interest.”

The region as chosen for its ability to deliver “consistent quality”, in addition to being wholly organic and vegan certified, aligning with GCF’s wider sustainability strategy, seeking to convert all its estates to High Environmental Value status by 2021.

“Aresan has its own water supply and 200ha of vineyard at 700m above sea level, so it can produce fresh, modern wines styles… the production levels are controlled below DOC level to keep the concentration and balance in the wines, focused on making the best quality possible,” said Kears.

Varieties grown on the property currently include points of difference, such as Petit Verdot and Cabernet France, along with differing clones of Tempranillio, such as Tempranillo de Toro, plus the likes of Chardonnay, Verdejo, Shiraz and Garnacha, with 10 varietal wines currently in production.

Explaining the rational behind the move into Iberia, Kears said: “Spain offers good value at entry level of sales and right up to premium level. The challenge is to engage the wine drinking public in the fantastic variety of wine styles that Spain has to offer from other regions as well, spanning this large country.”

“They vary from the crunchy fresh bright Bierzo in the northwest, to the deep, generous fruit and body of Catalyud in the central north, to the rich layered texture of Jumilla in the southeast – it’s a journey that can start with Aresan,” he added, hinting that GCF has further ambitions when it comes to growing its presence in Spain.

The aim of the programme is to produce wines of “wide international appeal” for the 172 export territories that GCF sells into, with the on-trade being targeted in the UK as an ideal home for these generous, fruity styles.