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New-Old Wines of Spain

It seemed, for years, that Spain was merely treading water. Spain was rioja…oh, and Vega Sicilia. Plus that fizzy stuff in the black bottle. That was sort of it.

Then all these new names started popping up; new-old names like Priorat and Ribera del Duero (most, I suspect, having been unaware of the origins of Vega Sicilia, rather simply recognising the brand): age-old wine regions that had never gained an international reputation, but came with the substantial assets of old vines and fascinating geology.

And this process of reinvention continues apace. It becomes harder and harder to pick rioja out of a blind line-up, so experimental are becoming its producers. But, for me, there are other new-old vine-growing regions that bring just as intense a frisson of excitement to the Spanish sections of importers’ wine lists.

I was invited to the Little French the other day by a wine importing friend. The restaurant is a new-ish addition to the Bristol eating-out scene and is very much worth a visit. The French bistro-style food is beautifully executed. The wine list’s pretty cannily selected, too.

In any event, my wine-importing friend was pouring some new vintages of several of his Spanish agencies and, to speak frankly, they were eye-openers. In a land (a world?) of increasingly concentrated, alcoholic, rich wines, these show a lightness of touch, a subtlety, an elegance that makes them stand-out beautiful. They have moderate levels of alcohol, great complexity and are thoroughly lovely.

Having said all that, I can only recommend them to Bowes Wine clients, can’t I?

*Click on the wine names below to view the detailed wine page with full tasting notes. *

Ca' di Mat

Having started a project in 2013 in Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, Curro Barreño and Jesús Olivares wanted to explore old vines on the granitic slopes of the Gredos Mountains. They are reviving Garnacha, Albillo and Moscadel vineyards (30-80yrs) at high altitude, 700-850mtrs. Winemaking is low-fi and with indigenous yeasts and whole bunches, at low temperatures to favour a gentle extraction of colour and phenolics.

2018 Los Peros Albillo
£102 in bond per six   Drink 2020-2024

2018 Valautin Garnacha
£84 in bond per six   Drink 2020-2024

2018 Fuente de los Huertos Garnacha
£105 in bond per six   Drink 2020-2025

2018 Los Peros Garnacha
£147 in bond per six   Drink 2020-2024

Aseginolaza & Leunda

An exciting, if difficult to memorize and pronounce, new name in Navarra.” Luis Gutierrez

Aseginolaza & Leunda are Jon and Pedro, two school friends from the Basque Country currently living in Navarra. They are environmental biologists but have become crazy about one thing: old vine Grenache! Once they have found ancient – and often forsaken – unirrigated, bush-vines, they set about rehabilitating the vineyard without recourse to either herbicides or to systemic pesticides. Their philosophy is equally simple: maximum respect for the environment combined with minimal intervention in the winery.

2019 Kauten
£117 in bond per six   Drink 2020-2024

2018 Cuvée
£117 in bond per six   Drink 2020-2025

2018 Camino di Otsaka
£186 in bond per six   Drink 2020-2024

2018 Camino di Santa Zita
£186 in bond per six   Drink 2020-2024

2018 Camino de la Torraza
£186 in bond per six   Drink 2021-2025

Jose Gil

Jose joined his family firm - Bodegas Olmaza – in Rioja Alavesa after completing his studies in 2012. Not long thereafter, he found himself a cellar and has now started to bottle his own wine from the five hectares of vines he personally owns, vines that he works biodynamically. 

2018 Cuvée San Vicente de la Sonsierra
£153 in bond per six   Drink 2021-2026

 

 

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