Los Chorrancos Vineyard, El Tiemblo (photo courtesy of Daniel Ramos).

Majestic Mountain Wines: Garnachas de Gredos (and some Albillo too).

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To the best of our knowledge, Garnacha originated in northeastern Spain's Aragon region, which was the center of the powerful maritime confederacy known as the Crown of Aragon. From the 12th to 17th centuries, the Crown extended from Spain to absorb the Mediterranean states of Mallorca, Sardinia, and Sicily (among others), as well as parts of southern France. It appears that Garnacha went along for the ride, going on to assume important roles in the viticultural traditions of Crown territories such as Sardinia (where Garnacha is called Cannonau) and the Languedoc-Roussilon region of France, where Garnacha is known as Grenache. Grenache went on to achieve greatness in France, particularly in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The pure varietal Grenache wines of Château Rayas (for one) stand out for their complexity, elegance and ageability, characteristics largely attributed to Rayas’ unique plantings of head-trained, old vine Grenache in fine, sandy soils.

Quite a way southwest of Aragon, an hour's drive outside of Madrid, another fascinating range of head-trained, old vine Garnacha planted on sandy soils, as well as schist and slate, has inspired a consortium of winemakers to unite under the moniker "Garnachas de Gredos." Their aim is to preserve and elevate the profile of these magnificent vines, some of which are well over 100 years old. Spanning the central Spanish appellations of Vinos de Madrid, Castilla y León, and Méntrida, the Sierra de Gredos mountain range contains varied soils, exposures, and microclimates that combine with extreme altitudes to produce powerful Garnachas that express terroir with unusual clarity when vinified with care. At their best, the wines are majestic: voluminous yet poised, with thundering tannins, intense acidity, heady aromas, and a complex mixture of florals, spice, garrigue, minerality, and earth. The wines express their origins, while exhibiting precision and balance within Garnacha's inherent breadth.

We are thrilled to offer Daniel Ramos' revelatory Zerberos Garnachas from El Tiemblo and Cebreros in Ávila (80km or so west of Madrid), which expose new sides of the grape as well as a distinctive winemaking perspective. The Garnachas de Gredos alliance also specializes in Albillo Real, the great white grape of the region. Bodegas Marañones in San Martín de Valdeiglesias (Vinos de Madrid) makes exotic Albillos and bold, herbal Garnachas that are affordable luxuries, while Berabeleva's ever-popular Camino del Navaherreros offers more transparent and delicious Garnacha flavors under $20 than any other Spanish wine we know. Please see item descriptions below for details on winemaking and terroir. Cheers! Ariana Rolich

Daniel Ramos Zerberos 2007 Castilla y León Pizarra

Winemaker Daniel Ramos said that when he and his wife drink a bottle of Pizarra, they frequently open it 3-4 days in advance. Only made in exceptional years, Pizarra is 100% Garnacha from a 60-100+ year old vines on south-facing slate/schist vineyards at 900-975m (3000 feet) elevation in the town of Cebreros. It is brawnier and darker than Ramos' Chorrancos cuvee, with sappy wild berries, sandalwood, and musky citrus oils alongside subtle oxidative notes, spicy wild "garrigue" of lavender, and thyme (which coincidentally grow around the vineyard), and a clear core of slatey minerals. An exceptional wintry Garnacha for roasted meats and root vegetables. Please decant! Ariana Rolich

  • red
  • 35 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic
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Daniel Ramos Zerberos 2010 Castilla y León Del Tiemblo Los Chorrancos

When I first tasted this wine, I was instantly fascinated (and hooked).The Gredos Mountains, west of Madrid, are home to the most awe-inspiring and balanced Garnachas in the world. Power, tannin, and acid meet subtlety and terroir-expression in this unique, high-altitude region that is largely unknown to wine lovers, but will be acknowledged one day soon as the source for the world's highest expressions of the Garnacha grape. Del Tiemblo Los Chorrancos is a fierce and floral cuvĂ©e from the north-facing granitic sand and schist vineyards at upwards of 1000m surrounding the village of El Tiemblo (in Avila's Alberche River Valley). Aromas are cool, floral, and mineral, with cherry blossoms, rose, resin, rosemary, lavender, and sweet clover honey. The palate is anchored by finely-dispersed tannins, acidic spine, and slatey mineral depth, with shimmering raspberry, rich kirsch, rosemary, and savory forest floor. I have given this wine as a gift and opened it among friends a number of times. Yet I confess to wishing for my own bottle to sip and contemplate quietly... hopefully with a side-gift of some slow-roasted pork.This wine's elegance, depth, and beauty are not possible to describe completely. It is sure to change the way you think about Garnacha. Ariana Rolich

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $39.99

  • Organic

Marañones, Bodegas 2010 Vinos de Madrid San Martin Garnacha

100% Garnacha from 50-70 year old vines grown on granite soils with gneiss and schist at 750-850 meters. This is a proper high-altitude Garnacha from the San Martin de Valdeglesias subzone of the Vinos de Madrid D.O., with tart, cool aromas of strawberry, cranberry, red currants, and raspberry seeds; the palate is structured and penetrating, with wild berries, chewy berry skins, scratchy tannins, and dark herbal flavors of oregano and minty eucalyptus. Serious, delicious, and balanced in its breadth. Ariana Rolich

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Bernabeleva 2013 Vinos de Madrid Camino Navaherreros

This is a fresh, perfumed, and delicate Garnacha from high altitude (500-1000+ meters), practicing organic and biodynamic vineyards on decomposed granite sands in the San Martín de Valdeiglesias zone on the far western edge of the Vinos de Madrid D.O. A burst of fresh red raspberries fills the vibrant medium-bodied palate, alongside pretty florals, minerality, and warm Spanish spice. The outstanding 2013 vintage is coming to an end, so stock up! Ariana Rolich

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $14.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Daniel Ramos Zerberos 2010 Castilla y León Viento Zephyros

Viento Zephyros is an unusual and delicious Albillo from vines in San Martin de Valdeiglesias, fermented and aged on the lees for 11 months in stainless steel tanks. Juicy peach, apricot, and tropical fruits, with fresh, salty minerality and dark herbal flecks of oregano. Albillo yields were so low when Ramos started making this wine, that he added a bit of Sauvignon Blanc from a vineyard of head-trained vines that were somewhat randomly planted in the region by Vega Sicilia 30 years ago (and then promptly abandoned). A rich, honeyed wine that pairs well with cheeses and roasted chicken. Ariana Rolich

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic

Marañones, Bodegas 2012 Vinos De Madrid Piesdecalzos

Piesdecalzos is a vineyard of 50 year old Albillo vines planted on stony, granitic soils at 750 meters altitude (and named after the old grower who worked the vines without shoes on). This is a wine of great purity and poise, with subtle aromas of green apple, citrus rind, ginger, and orange water. Flavors are fresh and full, with tangerine and tropical fruit, savory green herbs, crunchy salt, and creamy orange oil and blossoms on the finish. Piesdecalzos spends 12 months in a mixture of 500, 600, and 700L French oak barrels (both used and new). Ariana Rolich

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Marañones, Bodegas 2011 Vinos de Madrid Picarana Blanco (Albillo)

Named after the Picarana bird that haunts the highest hills of San Martin de Valdeglesias, this is 100% Albillo from from 30-70 year old vines planted on four unique granitic sites located between 650 and 850 meters altitude (including the stellar single vineyard Piesdescalzos). Aromas are honeyed and floral, with cinnamon sugar and waxen herbal tone; the palate has breadth and freshness, dominated by golden fruit flavors - yellow plums, golden raisin, crisp Golden Delicious apples, and even a hint of banana - with spicy white pepper and cool mineral notes. Ariana Rolich

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur