Wine Club – March 2024

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La Generosa
El Abuelo Wine, 2022

El Abuelo Wines is a cellar by 8 hands, from a group of four friends from Madrid who are challenging the limits of high-altitude Grenache production. Where most winemakers (even some of the natural ones) opt for precision as a guiding principle (a little SO2 here and there), El Abuelo Wines, just a couple years into their winemaking practice, opt for freedom from any winemaking additive, and – because of skill and know-how – wind up with precision anyway. Theirs are territory-driven wines that also manage to be fun and groovy. Made from grapes from a young local farmer, La Generosa is as generous as she claims – a savoury, flavourful rosé from direct press Garnacha aged in barrel. Artisanship through and through. This is not your average summer rosé; it’s a winter rosé if there ever were one. Concentrated, ripe, and powerful.

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La Premontaña
Arturo Molineta, 2022

Premontaña” – the foothill – is the outlier in this box, and not only because it’s this month’s cellar bottle that will gain complexity with some time. For one, the grape variety is different from the rest: here we have biodynamically-farmed Graciano, with dark skins and high acid, a far cry from the Garnacha’s candied cherries. Then, there’s the origin – here we aren’t quite as high up in the mountain range, but rather, hanging off the Sierra to the south, where the altitude tempers into the plains of La Mancha and the soil lightens up with the addition of fresh, chalky limestone. There’s a quieter, wilder, and more contemplative tone to this wine. Yes, still juicy, and yes, still fresh – but it’s a grown-up version of a light red. Impressive, land-first work from regenerative farmer Arturo Molineta – and that focus shows.

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La Garnacha
Indovino, 2022

Nicole Indovino helms this brand new, bi-national winemaking project (yes, bi-national: half in Madrid, and half in the Western Slope of Colorado) with an eye towards risk-taking and paying homage to both of her home bases. As the natural winemaking culture in the Sierra de Gredos is fairly international, this should come as no surprise. Nicole’s Spanish wines are frank and fruit-forward interpretations of the rolling granite hills of the region. This one is a bright, juicy cherry-inflected Garnacha that the winemaker herself describes as flirty. She is bang-on with that descriptor. It’s a wine for date night or a wine to sip on solo before heading out for the night. Ok, it’s not only fruit – there is a rich, chocolate-y, tannic underpinning, but all in all, it’s approachable, warm-spirited, and, of course, best served chilled.

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Donde Baila El Polvo Amarillo
Nave de los Locos, 2022
Albillo Real

For the first couple years of this project, Cinta Moreso and Carlos Ingala were winemakers caught between Barcelona and Madrid, making wine in both of their home regions of Spain, and learning from various greats along the way (including Fabio of Vinos Ambiz, of course). As of 2022, the Nave de los Locos (“ship of fools”) is headquartered in the Sierra de Gredos. This wine undergoes a short skin contact (an almost-orange, if you will) with a good chunk of the stems during the maceration, which gives it a vegetal, herbaceous backbone. Despite the skin and stem contact, the granite soils of the region are evident here in the airy, light, and perfumed character that underpins the wine.  It’s an understated homerun with a lot to say about the region – perfect for dinner for two while you plan your trip to Madrid.

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Bailando En El Filo
Pequeños y Salvajes, 2022

Vicky and Nahuel, the Small and Wild team behind Pequeños y Salvajes, are a powerhouse duo in Madrid’s urban natural wine scene. They may be some of the most recognizable faces from Gota Wine Bar – but the heart of this little winery goes way beyond the city. All around the area, they’ve managed to accrue a good haul of grapes to experiment with (very successfully), and now, a few years into the winemaking adventure, they’re already producing some of Madrid’s most enigmatic wines. They are unafraid to mix the local tradition of floral, perfumed aromatics and amphora vinifications, with bold, on-brand, style-forward natural winemaking with an international appeal. Nos Recuerdo Bailando en el Filo is a recent favourite of ours: a short-maceration Garnacha that’s a brooding, earthy-but-herbal cherry bomb. Drink while dancing

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El Tiemblo
Vinos Ambiz, 2022
Albillo Real

Fabio Bartolomei is the godfather of Madrid’s burgeoning natural wine scene, in a way. Many of the other winemakers in this box got their start in his cellar, learning the process of natural winemaking through their own microvinifications (a process now formalised in Fabio’s School of Natural Wine). For many years now, Vino Ambiz has been synonymous with the pure, punk-rock side of natural wine in Madrid. His back-labels, which list everything he hasn’t added to the wine, are iconic in their own right. El Tiemblo is an orange wine with 10 days of skin contact, made from a single plot of Albillo Real (a favourite of the Spanish Royals back in the 17th century, hence the name). A light velo flor (covering of yeast, like in Sherry) developed on this one, adding salty, nutty notes on top of the stone fruit and floral aromatics.


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