Finding compelling natural wines that equally hit the mark in their soundness and complexity hasn't been easy, but hearing that one of Spain's most exciting natural-minded producers was tapping old vines proved enticing. I'd even argue this is one of Spain's wildest, most thought-provoking wines.
Lovamor comes from 1891 and 1910-planted Albillo vines in Peñafiel, a part of Spain's Basque country. Alfredo excludes any additives in his winemaking, and he also takes an unusual step to vinify these white grapes on their skins for seven days. Whether you're focused on the non-sulfured natural side of wines, or you're curious to taste one of the best executed skin-contact whites, this is your ideal landing spot!
The value here certainly stands out, but the main attraction is what happens in the glass (or decanter). What starts with spicy orchard fruit and slight cider-like tones shifts to mouth-watering salinity, renewed freshness, and lingering minerality. Pear and red apple notes slowly meet with a more nervy kaleidoscope of citrus fruits. Lovamor provides equal amounts of deliciousness and fascination.
Collaborative efforts between friends have been a common thread within The New Spain wine scene. In the past, we've focused on the high-end, single-vineyard bottlings of Comando-G, but this afternoon's offering is the value play. At $29 per bottle, 4 Monos models how delicacy and transparency can be a Spanish red's leading traits.
GR10 Tinto comes from three villages with granite-dominant vineyards and vines ranging from 30 to 85 years old. The blend is 85% Garnacha, 10% Cariñena, 3% Morenillo, and 2% Syrah. There is certainly a core of energy and an abundance of minerality, but these fresh fruit qualities take me back to tasting grape clusters picked off the vine. It's also 4 Mono's brilliant, non-interventionist approach in the cellar that gives GR10 such sophisticated texture and structure.
The Four Monkeys, as they call themselves, clearly share a passion for lively and fruit-forward wines. Javier Garcia, Laura Robles, David Velasco, and David Moreno met while hiking in the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, located 80 km east of Madrid. All had unique backgrounds related to wine, each bringing a different element of expertise to this project founded in 2009.
Comando G's Garnacha from the ancient hillsides above Madrid is among the most exciting Spanish reds I've encountered. Comando G has a unique understanding of Garnacha alongside a few others in the world, including Old Rayas and Henri Bonneau.
These wines are similar to the composure, silken texture, and focus on freshness that I've come to expect from Cru Beaujolais, but we're not dealing with Gamay here. The Comando G wines are true to their Garnacha roots, with robust red fruit traits and wild incense spice, yet streamlined to reveal a brisk spine and chiseled rock minerality.
Daniel Landi and Fernando Garcia became friends in college and, after graduation, worked for wineries around Madrid. Rumors spread about plots of old, wild vines growing high in the hills of Sierra de Gredos. The duo leased the vineyards, implemented organic and biodynamic farming, and began producing these micro-cuvées under their label.