The Tardana variety, also called Planta Nova in the Valencia area, is a native white grape from the Spanish Levant, and mainly from the neighboring Utiel-Requena growing zone, which is why it is mostly found in areas along the border of Manchuela like Villatoya and Cilanco.
This variety is treated with a double aptitude, as much for table grape consumption as for wine vinificacion. In the past it was a highly cultivated varietal in Villatoya because they allowed the first picking to be made in boxes to sell on the market as a table grape, and the second picking to vinify, thus optimizing the grape’s economic value. With the arrival of seedless varieties in the range of table grape options, that first harvest for immediate consumption was lost, leaving only its market as a wine grape.
Currently in our area, the Tardana is in the process of disappearing. There are only a few plots between Cilanco and Villatoya. When ripening happens very late in the year, the risk of hail is greater and the winegrowers have abandoned their crop entirely. In addition, it does not reach a high enough percentage of alcohol to be of major economic interest for the large wineries that sell their wines in bulk and pay by the kilo-degree. As an anecdote of Tardana’s late maturation, Ivan’s father tells us that when he was a child, these grapes were harvested in the early days of December, and the bunches were hung in the chambers of the houses to keep them until Christmas. Thus in those days when there were no refrigerators the people could have their customary twelve grapes for eating at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
We think Tardana has enormous potential in the present and future viticultural landscape.
And so in recent years Tardana has not been valued at the level it deserves, and is often mixed with other varieties in the winery while the old Tardana vine parcels are gradually being replaced with other grape varieties. But we think this grape has huge potential, both in the the present and the future viticultural landscape, because as its own name indicates, Tardana is harvested very late in the year, after all the red varieties, and is therefore considered to be an extremely late ripening variety.
Thanks to the hardiness of its skin we are able to have a slow, balanced and very complete ripening on the vine, without problems with rot. This in turn allows us to produce white wines with moderate and balanced grades of alcohol content, extremely adaptable to future climate change, and without requiring chemical correction in the cellar.
Tardana wines have a characteristic and intense aroma of white fruits, and are suitable for long aging on the lees, producing white full bodied wines and moderate alcohol content. They are very food-friendly wines because their slow ripening allows a perfect integration of all their flavors and aromas, which results in full, balanced wines with a lingering finish and well-integrated acidity, perfect for pairing with our Mediterranean cuisine.
In our experience with this variety, we have seen an enormous potential to vinify it as ‘orange wine’. The Tardana variety itself makes this approach so obvious, it’s almost unavoidable. Our first trials with Tardana were with our vino blanco SOL which has a short maceration with the skins (a few hours) after the pressing in our vertical grape press. When we broke “the cake” of grape skins during maceration, we saw that due to the hard skin of the Tardana grape and the limited pressure of our press, there were many tasty elements being left behind in the skins. This was not so much liquid, but rather above all an abundance of flavors, which with a short maceration and a soft pressing we could never extract. It was then that we thought of making an orange wine. Now every vintage we try to prolong the Tardana wine’s contact with its skins. The result is our orange wine: TERRA. vino naranja TERRA.