VARIEDADES DE VINO EN MADRID
This is one of the varieties cultivated in Spain from ancient times, the origin of which seem to stem from the vines of Extremadura.
Alarije is one of the oldest varieties of grape cultivated in Spain, that seems to have been born in the lands of Estremadura. The first written reference to it is found in Libro de Oficios of the Royal Monastery Santa María de Guadalupe in 1448, where the vine is described as the most important in that area.
Later on, in Agricultura general (1513), Alonso de Herrera mentions it again, although he could be referring to the ‘coloured’ sub-variety, as it is known by the wine-growers in the Madrid town of Valdilecha, or the ‘red’ sub-variety, as it is referred to in Cenicero (La Rioja) and Laguardia (Alava).
This variety has an upright growth habit and long shoots; it is strong and has a number of branches. On account of its higher alcohol proof and its moderately early maturing it can be harvested prematurely in order to avoid the frequent storms that characterise the beginning of autumn, as a result of which the berry remains healthy and its quality is improved.
It tolerates extreme climates, although it is vulnerable to hydric stress and droughts. In fact, faced with these conditions it is usually laminated, either totally or partially. Despite being susceptible to fungi, its rustic quality makes it resistant to most of the typical diseases of vines.
This variety is highly valued in the making of vintage wines: the oxidase content of its musts quickly turn its greenish-yellow colour into shades of gold. Its characteristic primary aromas give its wines fruity olfactory notes.
It can be aged in oak barrels; can be used to produce cava (essentially blended with Macabeo) and strong sweet wines. Its predominant olfactory note can improve the blends in which it intervenes, particularly the one obtained from its combination with Tempranillo.
Even though it has several synonyms of the name Malvasía, it is often incorrectly referred to as Malvasía, despite being genetically distinct.
In the Madrid Community, Alarije is also known as Torrontés or Turrontés, which has also given rise to confusion as up to five different homonyms are traditionally known in the Iberian Peninsula.
The name Torrontés is also applied to a group of Argentinean varieties of white wine unrelated to those produced in Spain, which include its most well-known Torrontés Riojana, Torrontés Sanjuanina and Torrontés Mendocino.
The varieties that are most usually mistaken for Torrontés are Heben and Zalema.