• 1891-Planted Natural Wine Ace:  Alfredo Maestro Lovamor Blanco

    1891-Planted Natural Wine Ace: Alfredo Maestro Lovamor Blanco

    Finding compelling natural wines that equally hit the mark in their soundness and complexity is a mission of mine. When Spain's most exciting natural-minded producer tapped 1891 and 1910-planted Albillo vines I was enticed. Learning he also excluded sulphur additions and had blocked malolactic fermentation to highlight its fresh factor, I wanted to taste immediately.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2017 Alfredo Maestro Lovamor Albillo for $27 per bottle.


    Lovamor comes exclusively from 128-yr-old and 119-yr-old Albillo vines in Peñafiel, located in Spain's Basque country. Alfredo Maestro excludes any and all additives in his winemaking. And here, he took the unusual step to vinify these white grapes on their skins for seven days, giving a warm golden hue and adding a textural grip and very slight tannin that makes this one of the wildest and most though provoking wines in all of Spain.

    While the value here is certainly the first thing that pops at $27 from 128-yr-old vines, the main attraction is what happens in glass (or decanter depending on how you approach Lovamor). Once poured, there's a huge transformation that takes place.

    What starts with spicy orchard fruit and slight cider-like tones shifts after time to reveal mouth-watering salinity and renewed freshness from lingering minerality. Pear and red apple notes are slowly met with a more nervy kaleidoscope of citrus fruits. It's a wine that provides equal amounts of deliciousness and fascination.

    Whether you're focused intently on the unsulphured natural side of wines, or you're just curious to see the best executed skin-contact whites, Lovamor at $27 per bottle is your ideal landing spot.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Montefalco's Legendary Maestro:  Paolo Bea Sagrantino

    Montefalco's Legendary Maestro: Paolo Bea Sagrantino

    When considering the most soulful and magically unique wines in Italy, the name Paolo Bea always leads the discussion. The family roots in Umbria's Montefalco region stretch back to the 16th century on this property, now a diverse eco system of livestock, vegetables, and fruits, with only five of the fifteen hectares devoted to vines.

    Today, I'm happy to offer a deep lineup from Paolo Bea, including rare 1.5L and 3L bottlings.

    San Valentino is an intriguing blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Montepulciano from a clay-dominant single vineyard at 1,300 feet. With Umbria's fruit forward personality, the high elevation here adds a dimension of lift that makes this one of the world's most hedonistic, yet refreshing wines. From 50-yr-old vines.

    Rosso de Veo comes from Sagrantino vines in the Cerrete vineyard which sits at the highest point in all of Montefalco at 1,500 feet. Clay and limestone comprise the soil here. 2005 was the first vintage of Rosso de Veo, and has since been adored for its more approachable and fruit forward nature, as compared to the Pagliaro. Fermentation and aging follows the same protocol as Piparello.

    Pagliaro is all planted to Sagrantin, also perched at 1,300 feet. The grapes see harvest toward the end of October and spend up to 50 days on their skins for maceration. The fermented wine is aged for one year in stainless steel, then two years in large Slavonian botti, and finally one more year in bottle. Many of the notes from the Rosso de Veo are found here, but there's a darker and more wild expression of fruit and earth. Sagrantino is notorious for its firm tannins, but Bea's examples always show softer and more approachable tones than is the Montefalco norm.

    Cerrete is Bea's highest altitude Sagrantino vineyard, and has only been produced since 2007. Like the Pagliaro, it's immensely concentrated, but the added lift and brightness is something entirely different.  


    Arboreus is comprised of clone of Trebbiano known as Trebbiano Spoletino where vine training is high, allowing clusters to hang above the ground. Planted in Trevi and Montefalco between 650-700 feet on clay and gravel soils. The Trebbiano sees skin contact for up to 3 weeks and then is pressed and aged in stainless steel tanks for minimum two years. Sulphur is never added.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Maximum Tension:  2015 Ronco del Gnemiz Sauvignon Blanc SOL

    Maximum Tension: 2015 Ronco del Gnemiz Sauvignon Blanc SOL

    The Friulian Sauvignon Blanc selection has long been dominated here by the skin macerated style. To be blunt, I've left the direct-press, crisp style to Chavignol and the eastern Loire valley. The reason is simple. I've found the tension and structure much more appealing in the Loire versus Friuli. Of course, my #1 job is to continue to taste and continue to have opinions flipped. Ronco del Gnemiz marks a serious shift in my thinking.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2015 Ronco del Gnemiz Sauvignon Blanc "SOL".


    Ronco del Gnemiz' entire range of wines is dead-set on displaying a serious backbone of minerality that perfectly frames the sun-soaked hill of Rosazzo, famous for its poncasoil (a limestone/clay marl). Their "SOL" bottling comes from a parcel of selection massale Sauvignon Blanc vines on a particularly limestone-dominant portion of Rosazzo. "SOL" is endowed with a rigor and laser-like focus that stands out, as not only one of the greats of Friuli, but one of the world's most compelling expressions of Sauvignon Blanc.

    Tasting "SOL" is a masterclass in how Friuli's unique ponca soil translates into wine, as the pulverized chalky components here skyrocket out of the glass on first sniff. There's loads of tropicality like grapefruit and guava, but all held in check under a tremendous amount of tension that offers a serious side here that matches anything you're likely to find in the Loire valley. The sensation of grip, dancing minerality on the palate, and long finish is a statement on the world class effort this is.

    The Ronco del Gnemiz wines still very much fly under-the-radar. 
    Serena Palazzolo and her sons have organically farmed these parcels since she took over for her father in the 90's. Today, these southern-facing slopes see moderation from the Adriatic ocean that also offers a sea-breeze element that differs drastically from what you're likely to find in the Loire. A must try for any Sauvignon Blanc lover, or those who gravitate towards whites founded on structure and a more linear focus.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Wine Yourself:  Envínate's Canary Island & Ribeira Sacra Gems

    Wine Yourself: Envínate's Canary Island & Ribeira Sacra Gems

    As you can imagine, visiting with Envinate in Tenerife in the Canary Islands and then Ribeira Sacra a few days later was about as good as it gets on the wine route. In both terroirs, Roberto Santana and Alfonso Torrente have found the most dramatic old vine parcels, and since they founded Envinate in 2005 they've proven to the world that we all need to raise our own bars of expectation from these destinations. Now, the level of precision and finesse capable in these two historic regions is clearly cemented.

    Today, I'm happy to offer Envinate's 2017 and 2016 lineup.

    The story behind Envínate traverses through mainland Spain and the Canary Islands. The jaw-dropping scenery took on new form for me as I scrambled up ancient terraces in mainland Spain and in Tenerife, located off the southwest coast of Morocco. Favoring understated, fresh, and mineral-driven wines from ancient parcels, this project encapsulates the thrill of today's Spain. (Videos can be found later this afternoon on our Instagram Stories account @kogodwinemerchant)

    Envínate translates to Wine Yourself, and was the creation of four friends who were studying enology at the University of Miguel Hernandez in Alicante in 2005. Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez slowly began consulting with wineries after college, in the process discovering forgotten sites that brought with them old vines, but treacherous terrain. The previous generation saw the challenge as insurmountable, but this gang of four knew the treasured opportunity that presented itself. 

    There's no doubt, it's the sensitive approach to harvest and winemaking that ultimately defines the success of the four. There are no chemicals used in the vineyards and clusters are hand-harvested. In the cuverie grapes are foot-trodden in small bins and fermentation occurs spontaneously from native yeasts on the skins. Wines are raised in old oak barrels and sulphur is only used when necessary at bottling. Each step Envínate takes is to ensure site-specificity is the focus in the bottle.

    For me, the wines have an immediacy and joy to them that's so rare to find from first sip to last. They are spicy, fresh, and saline-driven, never compromising the vivid fruitiness that is the foundation of the raw material.


    Albahra Tinto sources 30-yr-old vines from Albacete and Almansa, just south of Valencia near the coast. The soil is chalky with limestone and clay deposits. 100% Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante-Bouchet).

    Benje Blanco sources 70-105 yr-old vines from volcanic soils of the Canary Islands. 100% Listan Blanco.

    Benje Tinto sources 70-105 yr-old vines from volcanic soils of the Canary Islands. Blend of 95% Listan Prieto, 5% Tintilla.

    Taganan Tinto comes from 100+ yr-old un-trained vines planted on the volcanic soil of the Canary Islands. Varieties planted here are a mix of Listan Negro, Listan Gaucho, Malvasia Negra, and others. at up to 30 meters in elevation perched steep above the Atlantic Ocean. Vines are farmed by Envinate as well as 15 different families. This northern coast of Tenerife sees a more temperate climate with strong coastal winds that are ideal to preserve freshness and verve. Fermented 30% whole cluster and aged in a combo of small tanks and used barrels.

    Palo Blanco comes 100+ yr-old braided Listan Blanco vines in Tenerife grown on volcanic sand. These are immediately pressed off their skins and aged in two Friulian 2500L oval foudres for 10 months. There is no malolactic fermentation here, and the saline quality of this wine is extra pronounced.

    Migan Tinto is comprised of 90-120-yr-old Listan Negro vines planted on volcanic sand and clay in Tenerife. Migan taps two parcels of cordon trenzado (braided vines) Listan Negro. 60% comes from the La Habanera plot (100% whole cluster ferment) on volcanic sand at the highest elevation in the area, and 40% comes from the older San Antonio plot (15% whole cluster), lower on the slope and with more clay. Aged in older 228 & 600L barrels.

    Lousas Parcela Camiño Novo comes from 70-yr-old Mencia (90%) and Garnacha (10%) grown on a combo of granite and slate in Ribeira Sacra. Parcela Camiño Novo is a southeast facing parcel that makes an amphitheater in the Amandi subzone of Ribeira Sacra. A much cooler site for this region, and gives wines that with levity, brightness, and superior cut and focus. Fermented 100% whole cluster and aged in used 300-L and 400-L barrels.

    Lousas Parcela Seoane comes from 80 yr-old Mencia vines in Ribeira Sacra. Seoane is a single parcel located in the Doade area of the Amandi subzone where the soils are strictly slate. The slate reverberates the heat collected during the day time, but also endows tremendous minerality, making this perhaps the most muscular and powerful wine of the group. Fermented 100% whole cluster and aged in used 500-L barrels.

    Parcela Margalagua (pictured above) translates to "Mother of Water" and is about as close to a coastal Jurassic Park environment as I could imagine. STEEP. Vines here are all own-rooted and over 100-yrs-old. Covered are many varieties inter-planted such as Listan Negro, Listan Prieto, Baboso, Negramoll, Malvasia Negra. This is the most elegant and incisive of the Envinate wines, with distinct citrus and salty inflections.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Envínate!  The Full Halloween Release

    Envínate! The Full Halloween Release

    At this point, the small-batch wines produced by the Gang of Four behind Envínate needs little introduction. Halloween marks an appropriate day to introduce the 2017 release that just arrived this morning, as the diversity of colors, flavors, and mystery in each bottle is, the say the least, quite freaking unique.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2017 Envínate release, along with a small segment of 2016 wines.

    The story behind Envínate traverses through Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands.Favoring understated, fresh, and mineral-driven wines from ancient parcels, this project encapsulates the thrill of today's Spain.

    Envínate translates to Wine Yourself, and was the creation of four friends who were studying enology at the University of Miguel Hernandez in Alicante in 2005. Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez slowly began consulting with wineries after college, in the process discovering forgotten sites that brought with them old vines, but treacherous terrain. The previous generation saw the challenge as insurmountable, but this gang of four knew the treasured opportunity that presented itself. 

    There's no doubt that these old vines throughout jaw-dropping scenery in Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands brings a unique voice to each wine. However, it's the sensitive approach to harvest and winemaking that ultimates define the success of the four. There are no chemicals used in the vineyards and clusters are hand-harvested. In the cuverie grapes are foot-trodden in small bins and fermentation occurs spontaneously from native yeasts on the skins. Wines are raised in old oak barrels and sulphur is only used when necessary at bottling. Each step Envínate takes is to ensure site-specificity is the focus in the bottle.

    For me, the wines have an immediacy and joy to them that's so rare to find from first sip to last. They are spicy, fresh, and saline-driven, never compromising the vivid fruitiness that is the foundation of the raw material.


    Albahra Tinto sources 30-yr-old vines from Albacete and Almansa, just south of Valencia near the coast. The soil is chalky with limestone and clay deposits. 100% Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante-Bouchet).

    Benje Blanco sources 70-105 yr-old vines from volcanic soils of the Canary Islands. 100% Listan Blanco.

    Benje Tinto sources 70-105 yr-old vines from volcanic soils of the Canary Islands. Blend of 95% Listan Prieto, 5% Tintilla.

    Vidueño de Santiago del Teide is comprised of 50% Listan Prieto and 50% Listan Blanco from Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The parcel is a minuscule .15 hectare of own-rooted, un-trained 90-yr-old vines. The co-planted parcel is destemmed and macerated for 15 days in open tubs, then transferred to neutral French barriques and aged for 8 months. As you would imagine from the equal parts red and white this is exceptionally high toned in character, vibrant, and filled with smoky volcanic strawberry-inflected fruit.

    Taganan Blanco comes from 100+ yr-old un-trained vines planted on the volcanic soil of the Canary Islands. Varieties planted here are a mix of Albillo Criollo, Marmajuelo, Gual, Malvasia at up to 300 meters in elevation perched steep above the Atlantic Ocean. Vines are farmed by Envinate as well as 15 different families. This northern coast of Tenerife sees a more temperate climate with strong coastal winds that are ideal to ripen these white varieties slowly, maintaining great acidity. Fermented and aged in small tanks and used barrels for 8 months. Citrus and orchard fruit combines with underlying nutty notes full of salinity and a lingering sea salt finish.

    Misturado de Abeleda Ribeira Sacra is a field blend of 100+ yr old vines of Mencía, Mouratón, Caiño, Godello, Dona Blanca, and Palomino. Grown on porous slate and gneiss at 650 meters in elevation. Only 150 6-packs were produced. This 70/30 red to white blend was co-fermented in open top plastic vessels and then transferred to 300 and 400-liter neutral French barrels for 11 months aging.

    Viña de Aldea (village wine) sources minimum 60-year-old Mencia vines on various slate soils in Ribeira Sacra at 400-600 feet in elevation. 
    Posted by Alexander Rosen