Barrantes, the most famous no name red wine
Dinner among friends. A sharp movement and a little of the deep red Barrantes wine stains the white tablecloth. One of the diners, the ‘galaicocostumbrist’ painter Abel Barandela, has an idea. Using a rolled up serviette as a brush, he starts to draw with the dark wine. Fascinated by the discovery, Barandela decides to replace his habitual palette in one of his series of paintings with a little orthodox traditional ceramic pot of wine.
Barrantes is known as ‘Manchamorros’ [the mouth stainer] for the dark colour it leaves on your lips when you drink it. With a low alcohol graduation thanks to its sugar level and its uncommon fruity flavour, it is unusual to see it outside of its Galician birthplace because it is difficult to transport and its distribution is prohibited as, at origin, it is a wine produced from a hybrid strain. These kinds of strains, formerly widespread in Spain in places like Galicia, León, Palencia and Castellón, were prohibited in the 1950s by the Spanish government, which then toughened the law in the 1970s. These measures worked everywhere apart from Galicia, where the deep rootedness of Barrantes wine has led its producers to fight for a broth they consider part of their heritage.
It was no easy task to transform the stain of the pursued Barrantes wine. “As the sun deteriorates the wine”, says Barandela, “I needed a good support and suitable fixing”. After several tests with canvases and aquarelle paper, Barandela chose the mixed ‘papeltela’ [cloth paper], a finely woven cloth coated in special starch on which to apply lacquer rubber and liquid latex once dyed. To turn the wine into art, Barandela uses wine and nothing more, just as it comes out of the barrel, and the dregs left by allowing the liquid to rest, very often with an acrylic base.
All of these efforts were set out in a series of reddish ‘costumbrist’ paintings. One shows a peasant with a ceramic pot by him, immersed in a process of reflection. Maybe he is thinking of how to set out his hybrid grape while he tastes the result of the last harvest.
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