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Cuevas de Arom

Francisco Mora wasn’t born into a winemaking family, but at an early age, he started making wines in an apartment […]

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Cuevas de Arom

Francisco Mora wasn’t born into a winemaking family, but at an early age, he started making wines in an apartment in Zaragoza. A native of Aragon, Francisco realized that the native variety of his place of birth, Garnacha, could be far more than the custom labels and bulk wines upon which the region based its early success. So, first, at Bodegas Frontonio, then launching Cuevas de Arom in Campo de Borja before moving it to Calatayud and partnering with Bodegas San Alejandro, Francisco Mora sought out the most expressive, uniquely situated, high-elevation, and oldest vines of Garnacha to show that the Garnacha from Aragon could be as winsome, complex, and ethereal as any Garnacha made in the rest of Spain if not the world.

Francisco isn’t solely a proponent of Garnacha in Aragon, but he holds an MW and, in his thesis, proposed a pricing hierarchy for vineyards in Campo de Borja based on the quality of grapes specific vineyards and villages were capable of producing. This strategy would provide a living wage for growers and combat the race-to-the-bottom mentality that this DO seemed to be embracing. However, without change, this commercial approach to winemaking would result in uninteresting bulk wine and threaten the best vineyards – those most challenging and expensive to work. The add-on effects would be the loss of these dry-farmed vineyards to more profitable crops, erosion, and a higher demand for irrigation in an already dry area.

Francisco Mora launched Cuevas de Arom in Campo de Borja but due to challenges with the DO, moved his project to Calatayud where Yolanda Diaz, the technical director for Bodegas San Alejandro, saw the potential for a partnership with Francisco Mora’s drive and enthusiasm combined with her access to the best vineyards in the DO.

Francisco’s pioneering efforts and pursuit of social and environmental sustainability were profiled in JancisRobinson.com by guest writer Anna Harris-Noble.

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“The big change and the quantum leap in quality comes from their Cuevas de Arom project. There is a huge change there, as it has moved to a completely different region. They used to source the grapes from Campo de Borja, but they are now in Calatayud, looking for more precision and freshness.”

– Luis Gutiérrez
Aragon, Spain
  • Location
    Aragon, Spain
  • Primary Appellation
    Calatayud
  • Proprietor
    Fernando Diaz & Yolanda Diaz
  • Winemaker
    Fernando Mora
  • Size / Elevation
    hectares / 700-850 meters
  • Age of Vines
    50–80+ years
  • Farming
    Sustainable
  • Varieties
    Garnacha
  • Cellar
    Hand harvested, natural yeast fermentation, 50-100% whole-cluster, long maceration, manual punch downs at the start of fermentation, aging in concrete, foudres, and ceramic spheres
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