Lacking a DO status, Valdejalón is arguably the least well-known wine region in Aragón. Located at the centre of a triangle formed by Campo de Borja, Cariñena and Calatayud appellations, it comprises the area around the river Jalón. The wines are sold under the vino de la tierra designation, the equivalent to the new European PGI (Protected Geographic Indication). No wonder it takes lots of effort to recover old vines of Garnacha in an area where wine production had almost been lost.

Three friends in their 30s are behind Frontonio: the new Spanish Master of Wine Fernando Mora MW, oenologist Mario López and international business lawyer Francisco Latasa from Zaragoza. Fernando Mora’s background is particularly interesting. An engineer working in the wind industry, he fell in love with wine and did everything within his power to turn his hobby into a profession. In his quest to become a winemaker he even planted 12 vines in the village of Alagón in Zaragoza and bought a kit to make his own wine at home with an ice-based temperature control set that he placed in his bathtub. After leaving his job in 2013 and passing the WSET Diploma two years later, Fernando currently makes a living as a wine educator and consultant while putting a great deal of passion in his Valdejalón project.

Wines are made at Mario’s family winery in Épila, right behind the small wine shop where Mario’s mother still sells bulk wine. The winery is named after Saint Frontonio, the patron saint of the village. Legend has it that he was beheaded by the Romans and his head thrown in the river Ebro, yet it appeared upstream. Going against the current fitted in well with the three partners’ project, hence the name.