In La Manchuela our varietal genetic heritage is very important, since we can find many local grape varieties that are only grown in our specific environment. One of them is the Pintaillo or Pintailla variety, depending on who you ask. For example, Ivan’s father tells him about Pintaillo and his neighbour Pintailla, so it seems impossible to fully agree on the question …
Pintaillo is a secondary red grape grown exclusively in our local zone of the Manchuela region(Alborea and Casas Ibáñez). It is never planted in single-variety parcels and can typically be found side by side with old-vine Bobal, or in mixed plots among multiple other local grape varieties.
For a time, it was used to replant the gaps in parcels of Bobal grapes because of its good resistance to ‘stem disease’ (a physiological decay). This disease severely affects the native Bobal variety when the temperatures drop too much in spring (even without freezing). The vine canes (branches) become broken or truncated by the internal node just below to the cluster, causing a loss of production.
The name of Pintaillo comes from the time of the veraison, when the grains of grapes appear “painted” or freckled with purple color on the otherwise rosy skin.
Pintaillo is also a commonly found in multivarietal mixed plots, where the Bobal lives with with Doña Blanca, Marisancho, Teta de Vaca, Rojal, Valencin, Cencibel, Coloraillo and … Pintaillo (see project, ¿y tú de quién eres?). These mixed plots are the oldest vineyards in the area and represent a reserve of varietal genetic heritage. Formerly, vine growers mixed the varieties in the same plot with the objective of maintaining a more or less constant grape production for self-consumption. For example, the year the frosts negatively affected the Bobal, they left unharmed the production of other less sensitive grape varieties such as Pintaillo.
It is a long cycle variety, harvested after the Bobal, with oval grape seeds and loose clusters, sensitive to powdery mildew in warm and dry vintages but very resistant to drought and frost.
The Pintaillo variety is in danger of extinction because it provides wine of moderate alcohol and low color intensity, and so it is less interesting for bulk sale where the price is defined by alcohol and color. Therefore, wine growers do not usually give priority to this variety. But we think that it is an interesting grape, because it allows us to develop a more “Atlantic profile” in our wines, unusual here in the south of Spain, very fresh, with broad sweet tannins in line with the latest direction of international wine style for the past decade. In addition, due to its agronomic conditions, it adapts perfectly to the climate change we now face.