About the Producer
Mario Rovira is originally from Cataluña where he studied enology and agronomy at Tarragona and expanded his expertise working in New Zealand, Sancerre, Napa Valley and Bordeaux. Eventually he returned home in search of a place in Spain to make wines of precision – expressive of place with fresh acidity and moderate alcohol. After an extensive search and with the support of his family he settled in Ponferrada and began acquiring a selection of vineyards in the foothills of the Montes Aquilanos (mountains of the eagles) in the DO of Bierzo. Named by the Romans who were astonished to see so many eagles circling above these peaks, the Aquilanos form the southern boundary separating Bierzo from the rest of Léon.
Naming his new project Akilia, in honor of the mountains where his 4 hectares of vines are located, Mario currently farms five sites: Fontairo, Chano Villar, Villarín, Lombano and Valdesacia. Though not certified, Mario employs organic farming techniques and harvests just as the fruit reaches ripeness. He is usually the first to pick in San Lorenzo and he harvests everything by hand. The fruit is fermented by indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks for the most part with a few fermentations in French oak barrels or stainless steel tanks. The wines are aged for 9-12 months in either concrete, tank or French oak barrels ranging in size from 228L-300L. The minimalist approach to winemaking captures these cool-climate sites perfectly.
Mario has continued on his experimental path with a small project of unfortified white wines made from Palomino Fino down in Andalusia, specifically Bodegas Delgado Zuleta in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Jerez). Sourced from the Albariza soils of the Pago de Balbaina and aged in deposits with thin layers of flor developing naturally, this goes by the name Tosca Cerrada.
Mario employs organic farming techniques and harvests just as the fruit reaches ripeness. He is usually the first to pick in San Lorenzo and he harvests everything by hand.