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Today we dedicate special attention to the Airen. This variety is the most cultivated in Spain, it occupies a total area of 425,788 ha, distributed the most in Castilla La Mancha.
Airen is a fairly vigorous variety, very creeping ones, and budding and late maturity. It has a very high fertility, so it is a very productive plant, with an output of 4.5 to 6 kg / strain. It is a very drought resistant, adapted to infertile land plant. Blind buds are fertile so that you can apply very short pruning with acceptable yields. It is very resistant to pests and diseases, so in the downtown area can be adapted very well to organic farming. It is a variety with an average weight of pruning wood of 807 g / strain.
Types of wine offered
The wines offered by Airen usually on the nose, relatively aromatic, the protruding aromas of banana and apple. They have low acidity, they are wines with body.
The synonyms of this variety are: Zamora is called "Blancon" is called "Lair" in Montilla (Cordoba), two sisters and Cazalla de la Sierra (Sevilla). Another name that has is "Malvar" Mondejar (Guadalajara) and in parts of the south of Madrid. In Albacete, Agudo (Ciudad Real) and Cehegín (Murcia) is called "La Mancha" in Mazuecos (Guadalajara) is called "Valdepeñas" and Pedroñeras (Cuenca) and El Bonillo (Albacete) is called "valdepeñera".
The first date that appears in the Airen variety makes Alonso de Herrera in 1615. Already in the fifteenth century as Lairén this variety, the name that identifies it still appears in Cordoba and well above in the "General Agriculture" was known the author cited above. Alonso de Herrera, however, prefers to give the name "Datileña" because "their grapes are clustered as dates". It recognizes not having tasted the wine made with these grapes, but, curiously, seems "low strength and even little hard (...), which are better for making raisins, they have few grains, and become very beautiful and useful. "
The following description is made by Rojas Clemente in 1807 and Layrén describes two types: the first correspond to the Airen now known as La Mancha and the second would be a table grapes to coincide more with which Alonso de Herrera called on Datileña cit.
The first reference by Rojas Clemente on Layrén mentions this variety is synonymous with Mantuo Laerén and Laerén King. The description made of this variety is "very hard Sarmientos very fuzzy whitish yellowish-green leaves with shallow breasts and short teeth, falling very crowded late grapes, large, somewhat later, with obvious veins..". He says this variety is grown in Sanlucar, Xerez, Trebujena, Arcs, wait, Moguer, rate and Paxarete. He also mentions that this variety is grown in Valdepeñas and Manzanares, giving excellent wines to obtain exquisite spirits.
In the second reference Layrén appointment performed this variety is synonymous with Datilera and describes it as "something clear thin strain, time flows in the ordinary Sarmientos many, very long, logs, entirely hairless, reddish-brown color,. very soft. middle leaves, somewhat irregular, somewhat lobed, with acute ordinarily breasts, smooth on top, early fall, yellowish. Clusters enough, recomposed in the upper part and the lower compounds. Grapes ten lines long six and a half as thick, slightly thinned toward the tip, something very often concave on the side facing the stalk and convex on the opposite, quite golden, very translucent, very fleshy early, some thick skin. " This grape, as Rojas Clemente is used for the production of raisins and mix their wine with the Ximénez. This variety is grown in 1807 in Sanlucar, Xerez, Trebujena, Algeciras, Arcos, wait, Moguer, Malaga, Motril, Albuñol Adra and Paxarete.
In 1914, García de los Salmones appointment growing Airen in Albacete and as Lairén in Madrid, Villacañas (Toledo) Tarancon (Cuenca), Campo Criptana (Ciudad Real), Frejenal of Sierra (Badajoz), Montefrío (Granada) Baeza (Jaén), Coin (Malaga) Fiñana (Almería), Cazalla de la Sierra (Sevilla), Espera (Cadiz) and Córdoba.
Marcilla, in 1954, defined as the Airen variety white grape typical of La Mancha region, being almost exclusively there and cultivated in large scale. It described as "creeping Cepa, very fertile from the first buds of the branches, thus allowing you prune too short. Large, pretty tight clusters giving susceptible musts fine wines processing of grass and, although this is not common in the region in question, as fine white wines, very frank of taste; the alcohol content of these wines is on average of 12-14º and sometimes, in good madurareros and in good years to 14'5-15º ".
The same author cites Lairén Montilla area but does not as a synonym of Airen.
Fernandez de Bobadilla in 1956, describes the Mantuo Laerén as "powerful strain trunk. Porte of the semi-erect branches, of medium length. Big leaf, orbicular, cuneiform, with five lobes, upper lateral sinuses deep and overlapping edges; marked lower breast, more or less intense green beam, hairy below. Cluster many very same, very long and narrow, cylindrical and not very compact. Plump grapes, ovoid, greenish, slightly golden, rough skin, pulp and some juicy hard. "
Agronomic characteristics of their comments: "Variety of late maturity, good for transportation, little sugary musts, giving wines of poor quality, as its ranking among the Montuos, or are montúas selected varieties or little good to eat.".
Hidalgo (1988) makes an exhaustive description of the variety Airen "prostrate bearing strain. Sumidad globose, hairy, cottony, something carminada. Herbaceous shoots of smooth contours, entirely green. Woody cuttings of little striated surface, outgoing knots, conical buds. Young leaves extended, arañosas in the beam, cottony hairy on the underside, clear pale green. Pentagonal and cuneiform adult leaves, medium sized pentalobuladas, strong green color, petiole sinus lyre, upper lateral sinus with overlapping edges, lower lateral sinus lyre, make hairless, arañoso back, nerves of the first order on the partially red beam Ditto on the green underside, teeth convex sides, no protruding ribs fourth order, clear autumn foliage brown toast. Large clusters, loose, herbaceous stalk visible on 1/4 length. Berries thick, regular size, yellow, with bloom, spheroid shape, medium thick skin, soft pulp, colorless juice, simple flavor, long green stalk color separation difficult, with three pips on average. "
Lezcano (1991) makes some difference "adult leaves, medium to large, open petiole sinus and U-shaped; the petiole is hairless. Large, spherical or elliptical berries short (19 mm.) Difficult to separate the stalk and ripens late. "
Chirivella et al. (1995) also adds that it is a "strain small to medium size. The young shoots are sleek, partially arañosos, elliptical cross section of green and a little brown at the base; with many thick tendrils. The branches have darker, striated, media, strong knots with many ramifications of short length. Alternate and sometimes forked tendrils. The buds are conical, fluffy and white. They exude the wedge-shaped green, glabrous beam, arañoso underside. Adult leaves dull, smooth surface beam; Breast deep side; petiole short, thin and hairless. Elongated clusters of medium size. Berries yellow-green color, skin medium consistency, neutral taste; average maturing time ".
Jancis Robinson's in his "Guide wine grapes" (1996) puts the Airen variety as the most cultivated in the world, with 423,100 has surpassed Garnacha with 317,500 ha, Mazuelo with 244,330 ha, Ugni Blanc with 203,400 ha, Merlot with 162,200 ha and Cabernet Sauvignon with 146,200 ha. Says it is the first choice of Spain occupying 30 percent of the vineyard. It is the undisputed primacy in the land of Valdepeñas and La Mancha. Says that in the south of Spain is known as Lair.
Penin in his book "strains of the World" (1997) discusses the wine made from this variety: "The Airen has had a bad press, most by a working party not too drew the variety, the quality of the strain. last, some weak yields, caused mainly by the low density of planting, joined traditional fermentation in terracotta jars. On the other hand, almost all the wine was shipped to other regions for mixtures or distillation. In general, its wines are characterized by a pale yellow color with glints; on the nose notes of ripe fruit (banana, pineapple or grapefruit) is appreciated, and mouth, despite lacking some acidity, are quite tasty and enjoyable, easy to drink but without being elegant. The best have a fresh scent of roses, with a harmonious and fine flavor that leaves no false flavors at the end of mouth. "
Penin (1997) adds the following "late budding; the lower lateral sinuses are less marked than those above. Cluster shape may be cylindrical and / or conical long. The yield per plant is 4.5 to 6 kg., Is very resistant to drought. "
From the literature review shows that two types are described: Airen (Lairén or Layrén) corresponding with the variety mostly grown in La Mancha, which is mentioned in the first reference of Rojas Clemente García de los Salmones, Marcilla and Hidalgo and the second type of Airen (Layrén or Datilera) which corresponds to a table grapes used for the production of raisins and describe Alonso de Herrera, Rojas Clemente in the second round and Fernández de Bobadilla.
The first time the name of Airen, currently most widespread name mentioned to define this variety, it is in the Garcia appointment Salmon (1914), in the province of Albacete, so the origin of the variety can be focused on the Mancha region. Today Airen variety is still cultivated mainly in the center of the Iberian peninsula and its wine area is mainly used for table wines and spirits. It is a variety that is well adapted to drought conditions and cold spring being very suitable for making organic wines in Madrid and La Mancha.