by Mr Francisco Serra, Spanish Priest and Erudite (XXI century)
Casa Los Frailes is located in the valley called “land of Alforins”, south west inland province of Valencia, with average altitude of 650-700 meters above sea level. The valley is located between two mountains range, on the east the Mediterranean Sea (50km) and on the west the main “plateau” of La Mancha.
It is a region with long and well documented human settlements. The Iberian settlement dated IV BC century is outstanding. Via Augusta Roman Road, the longest at the time from Rome to Hispania, passes onto Casa Los Frailes.
The landscape is so beautiful that in the XII century, Christian King Jaume I The Conquer, when passing through after releasing the city of Valencia, established the area as “Royal Domain”. After the moors were expelled in the XIII century, first vineyards were farmed and with the settlement of the Jesuit Friar Order, wine was elaborated. Most of the farm-estates in the area have their own buried amphoras cellars.
Casa Los Frailes is located in the depth bottom of the so-called Sub-Betic range of mountains. This area has an old geologic record from the secondary, tertiary and quaternary periods. In the formation of the soil, we can find marine sediments (cretaceous, from 145 to 66 million-year-ago), conglomerates, multicolour clay soils (tertiary, 66 million-year-onwards), erosion and limestone continental stones (quaternary, current period).
Mountains sorrounding Casa Los Frailes are Dolomites (made of Dolomias) with its sharp and rich shapes. Such shapes and relieves allowed erosion (from quaternary to date) sedimenting and spreading out elements transported by water such as magnesium, iron, clay and limestone, above all of them.
At different earth depth levels, we can find the main rock, caliche rock (also called “tap”). It is a limestone hard rock with exceptional resistance This “tap” allows to keep the humidity during draught season, avoiding water evaporation. And on the other side, when it rains a lot, his stony surface allows water drainage.
Vines were grown in this region by Christians back in the XIII century, after the war against the Arabs. The main variety was (and still is) the Monastrell, cultivated in bush vines. Average Monastrell vines today are 40 year-old and yields of 2500 Kg/Ha. However, we have Monastrell vines older than 75 years, being the most expressive vines.
80% of our grape varieties are Mediterranean grapes as Alicante Bouschet, Syrah and Marselan (together with Monastrell). We also have some Atlantic varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, currently under transformation process.
Our estate is in dry agriculture, which together with limestone soils, little rainfall makes yields low but with high quality level.
As previously explained, the estate is divided into four areas. In each area, we select parcels according to sun exposition, soil type, grape variety, bush or rail cultivation, year of plantation and obviously the wine we are to elaborate: Los F, Los Frailes Dolomitas, Los Frailes Caliza, Los Frailes Rubificado, Blanc de Trilogia, Bilogía, Trilogía, Moma, 1771.
At Casa Los Frailes, our weather is a Mediterranean climate from inland, called Continental-Mediterranean climatology with mild winters and very dry and hot summers. The altitude of 650-700 meters above sea level allows sharp temperature contrast during night and day. The contrast is much needed for the refreshment of the vines. January is the colder month with average temperatures of 6 ºC, and August the warmer with average of 23 ºC. Peak temperatures reach -6ºC in Winter and 35 ºC in summer.
Rainfall is little, with average of 350 ml/annum being autumn the rainy season and summer the driest. During such dry and hot summer months, the vines in dry agriculture are refreshed by breezes from the Mediterranean Sea avoiding the hydric stress.
Sun hours per year reach 2.600 allowing perfect ripening of the grapes. July is the peak with 340 hours per month, and December is at the bottom with 150 hours.