EL ESCOCÉS VOLANTE is based in Aragón, Spain dedicated to the production of high quality wines with a particular focus on the native Garnacha grape variety. They also specialize in making very individual wines from native Spanish varieties from other exciting wine regions.
El Escocés Volante (The Flying Scot), Norrel Robertson MW, touched down with his family in Spain in 2003 and released his first wine in 2004.
Date Founded: 2003
Norrel has been making wine in Spain for over 10 years and is currently the only Master of Wine living in Spain. He was born and raised in Scotland and, after graduating from Aberdeen University with a MA Honours degree in Politics and International Relations, has worked in the wine industry for the last 20 years, starting in sales before moving on to buying and product development.
In the 1990´s Norrel decided to pursue a career in winemaking and decided the best way was to learn from the cellar up. Norrel went on to work vintages in Chianti in Italy, Portugal, Australia, France and Chile. In 1998, Norrel embarked on the Master of Wine Course and became a Master of Wine in November 2000, winning the Robert Mondavi Award for the best overall theory performance in the exam.
In 2002-2003 Norrel studied the Postgraduate Viticulture and Oenology course at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand, obtaining his postgraduate qualification with distinction.
In 2003, he moved to Spain to as Winemaker for International Wine Services and quickly fell in love with the old Garnacha vineyards in the area of Calatayud, Aragon and decided to start making his own wines.
His company - EL ESCOCÉS VOLANTE SL - took off and Norrel now produces many award winning wines made from very specially selected vineyards at high altitude in Aragon, Spain. He also has winemaking projects in Murcia, Andalucia and Galicia. His own wines are sold in over 15 markets. He consults for many high profile wineries in Spain and also to import businesses in the UK .
“ES LO QUE HAY - it is what it is. A common Spanish expression, but one I like to reserve for the few old high altitude Garnacha vineyards that survive in Aragon . What you taste in the bottle is a true expression of what there is in the vineyard. It´s as simple as that.”
High altitude ancient vineyards (75-100 years) at 1,000 to 1,100 meters above sea level with Pizarra slate and quartzite soils. Completely dry grown and unirrigated, this is an inhospitable continental climate with extreme changes of temperature where mountain herbs, almonds, cherry trees and Garnacha form a breathtaking patchwork. Low annual rainfall of 200-300mm and the remarkable soils produce fine and elegant Garnacha which is punctuated by intense black fruit flavors with complex mineral, smoke and garrigue notes.
"The red 2018 Es Lo Que Hay, comes from a vintage Norrel Robertson describes as "one of the standout years in our 17 years producing Garnacha." This is mostly Garnacha, with just 5% other grapes, as it comes exclusively from two old vineyards in the village of Villarroya de la Sierra, and such vineyards always have a small proportion of other grapes, mostly Moristel with a little Miguel de Arco and some Provechón (Bobal). All the varieties fermented together destemmed after a five-day cold soak with the natural yeasts and then matured in Flextank egg for 15 months. This is softer, with more clay and limestone influence rather than the slate soils from the vineyards used in the past for the cuvée. This has more depth and complexity, perhaps from the other grape varieties that complement the Garnacha, and probably has a little more acidity and tannin. It has tension, minerality and good acidity, probably from the Moristel, which tends to ripen a little later than the Garnacha. Tasty. Again, not a shy wine at 15% alcohol but nicely balanced. 3,966 bottles were filled in March 2020.- Luis Gutiérrez"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #248, April 2020), 93 pts
Our Côtes du Rhône Villages is elaborated on the superb Terroir.
The average age of the vines is 34 years; The assembly favors
Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. This complex wine can be kept 8 to 10 years and we
Named after the French word for Crow, or Raven, this Syrah is certainly as dark as the name implies. Hailing from Discovery Vineyard, perched high above the Columbia River in the heart of the Horse Heaven Hills, these grapes were grown in a very unique terroir. Avennia's approach of old-world style, minimalist winemaking allows for full expression of the fruit, showcasing the elegant and savory side of Syrah.
"Leads with a nice balance of dark fruits—blackberry and blueberry—with more savory elements, including blackberry leaf, olive, charcuterie, and a hint of shiitake. The palate features snappy fresh black fruits, a hint of smoked meat, and a lively finish with plenty of savory elements that make this wine quite interesting. Give it a year in the cellar and enjoy over the next eight years or so." - Chris Peterson, Winemaker
"Aromas of blackberry and violet accented by a note of stems. Sweet, supple wine with dark fruit flavors lifted by a black-peppery topnote and accented by cinnamony Red Hots. For all its high notes, this is essentially a creamy wine with no edges. I suspect it will tighten up in bottle and eventually display a more savory aspect. Incidentally, this will be the last vintage for this bottling because, beginning with vintage 2018, Chris Peterson will introduce some new single-vineyard Syrahs from the exciting new WeatherEye vineyard on top of Red Mountain. This steep site, owned by Cameron Myhrvold and farmed by Ryan Johnson, extends over the ridgeline and onto the northern flank of Red Mountain. The project is called Red Mountain Elevated, and Peterson is making the wines. (14.5% alcohol; done mostly in puncheons; vinified with 10% stems) - Stephen Tanzer”
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (December 2019), 92 pts
"The last vintage for this cuvée, the 2017 Syrah Le Corbeau Discovery Vineyard is similar in style to the Arnaut yet offers slightly more floral notes in its blue fruits, wild strawberry, violets, rose petal, and sappy, forest floor aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, with bright acidity and good balance, it’s a beautiful Syrah that leans heavily toward the fresh, elegant end of the spectrum while still offering tons of character and pleasure.”
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2019), 92-94 pts