Manu Requena comes from a long family agricultural and wine tradition. The new generations always tend to move in the opposite direction to their predecessors and that is what Manu has done. Since the time of his great-great-grandfather, though it was his great-great-grandmother who planted the first vineyard back in 1935, wine has been made in his family, in the noble town of Socuéllamos, province of Ciudad Real. The family marketed it until the cooperatives were established in their town in the 1950s. Tradition said that the wine was aged in clay vessels and also in cement tanks.
Manu decided to dedicate himself to making wine when he was 22 years old and chose to do it in a way that was more respectful to the grapes, the vineyards and the wine itself. And that was how he began to take steps into the natural wine world.
Since then, eight vintages have passed (or is it already nine?). Manu has been using grapes from eight hectares of certified organic vineyards for the last 20 years. However, it was not until 2020 when Manu decided to release the wines he produced to the market. First two wines, with just 2,000 bottles in total. Since then he has grown to the 7,500 bottles he currently produces. Airén from 90-year-old vines, Cencibel, Parellada and Macabeo are the varieties used for their wines.
In addition to the family vineyards, Manu plans to recover abandoned vineyards of native varieties such as Tinta Velasco or Crujidera. A very nice project that will take some time, but time and passion are two virtues that Manu treasures, so everything will surely work out.
Whether it’s 1,000 or 7,500 bottles, this is more than what Manu can do on his own. For this reason, he is lucky to have the support of his family and friends in all the tasks he has to take in the vineyard and also in the winery, including the design of the labels. And all this must be said because Manu is also a grateful person.
I have commented that Manu began selling his wines in 2020. For this he chose the brand of Indar for his winery. In Basque Indar means strength and it also means hoe in old Castilian language. The Basque comes from a period in which his paternal family emigrated to Bilbao.
The two wines with the highest production are Lebrel, made with Cencibel, Airén and Macabeo, with just over 2,500 bottles from the 2021 vintage, and Indar, made with Cencibel and Parellada, with around 1,300 bottles. This wine is the one that has captured my heart, since it mecarates on the skins for 40 days and after pressing it goes into clay amphorae for eight months, since Manu considers that this container respects the grape much more.
The rest of Manu’s production consists of seven wines with different number of bottles, reaching only 140 with a late-harvest wine with fifteen days of maceration on the skins called Candongo.
I have been lucky enough to enjoy some of his wines from the 2019 and 2020 vintages, and I have to say that I have liked what I have tasted. In his wines you can see that there is knowledge, passion, and above all a great enthusiasm for what he does and for the path he wants to travel. I want to visit Manu and enjoy more of his wines, more vintages, and I am sure that I will like them even more, because each vintage is a learning experience and a source of experience for the next vintage. If you like natural wines made with passion, don’t hesitate to taste Manu Requena’s. So that we understand each other: they are very cool.
In this link you can watch a family video.
Soon we will talk to Manu Requena about his wines and his wine philosophy.