Marqués de Griñón wines are sourced from the prized Dominio de Valdepusa vineyard in Castilla-La Mancha. Valdepusa stands apart from the rest of the region, as its 1068-foot elevation is one of the highest in Spain, and its top layer of soil is similar to Burgundy’s — it is almost pure limestone.
Dominio de Valdepusa has been in the noble family of Carlos Falcó Fernandez de Córdova, the Marquis of Griñon, since 1292. Referred to as the father of Spanish wine, Falcó pioneered the modernization of vine growing and winemaking in Spain. Falcó graduated from the University of California Davis with a degree in viticulture and oenology in 1964. He returned home and began making wine, all the while pushing the boundaries of winemaking as set by Francoist Spain. In 1974, he introduced the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grape varieties as well as drip irrigation and night harvesting.
His experimentation with international varieties and modern technologies made him the internationally renowned expert on Spanish wine. In 1999 he published the 18-volume Entender de Vino, the quintessential guide to Spanish winemaking, now in its 13th edition. He also founded the esteemed Grandes Pagos de España association, with members including 27 of the most prestigious estates in Spain. The group’s mission is to defend and propagate the culture of pago wine, meaning wine produced in a specific terroir that reflects the distinct personality of the soil and climate.
In 2003, Dominio de Valdepusa became the first estate to receive DO de Pago, the highest level in the Spanish classification system. This level was introduced that same year and designates single estates of exceptional quality that exhibit the special characteristics of a pago. A pago is a landmass with indigenous vegetation that differentiates itself from the surrounding environment by soil type or microclimate. The site must have historically produced wines of exceptional quality and the single vineyard name must have been in use for at least five years. The vineyard site must be smaller than the communal or municipal boundary where it is located and there must be a quality-control system in place that complies at minimum with the regulations for a DOCa.
Location of Vineyard
Dominio de Valdepusa is located in Castilla-La Mancha, some 31 miles from Toledo, near the Pusa River. It covers 50 hectares, 20 of which are planted primarily with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah. The balance is pristine land populated by local varieties of oak, wild olive trees, brush, thyme and rosemary, which contribute to the overall complexity and personality of the single estate. The family believes in the importance of the terroir and does its utmost to transmit the land’s characteristics to their grapes, including the soil’s physical, mineral and biological characteristics.
A reputable winemaker in his own right, Falcó has invited top experts from around the world to help continually improve Marqués de Griñón's processes. Legendary Bordeaux oenologists Michel Rolland and Émile Peynaud; soil expert Claude Bourguignon; and Australian viticulturalist Dr. Richard Smart have consulted at Marques de Griñon since 1990, helping to implement the technologies and methods that make the winery one of the most advanced in the world. These include a partial root-drying system, sub-surface drip irrigation, high-canopy trellising, gravity-fed tanks, hand de-stemming and an abandonment of fining and filtration, all of which give the wines their famously powerful and concentrated style.
Julio Mourelle has been the winemaker at Marqués de Griñón since 1995. Raised in La Coruña in Galicia, Mourelle holds a B.S. in pharmacology from the University of Santiago in Spain, where he majored in plant physiology. Mourelle also was awarded a master’s degree in viticulture and oenology from the University of California Davis, where he studied under leading oenology researcher, Roger Boulton.
While at Davis, Mourelle interned at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and later became assistant winemaker in charge of experimental wines at Sterling Vineyards in Napa Valley. Working with California wineries and their cutting-edge viticultural and oenological techniques deeply influenced Mourelle’s views on winemaking.
Returning to his homeland at just 29 years of age, Julio Mourelle found a Spain that remained largely traditional in its winemaking views and methods. He knew it would be difficult to find a winery where he could put his New World knowledge into practice. Dominio de Valdepusa, which was already pioneering various New World techniques in Europe, was a perfect match. Mourelle became the estate’s winemaker in 1995, and has been owner Carlos Falcó’s right-hand man from the start. His excellent work has helped establish Marqués de Griñón as a leader in Spanish winemaking.