Distinctive Spanish pours are a breath of fresh air
When you taste wines that sing with distinctiveness, you can bet that the people behind them have a story to tell. That’s certainly the case with four bottles from Spain, recently brought to market as part of a new project.
Importer Eric Solomon, founder of European Cellars, has long been known for a portfolio drawing from France and Spain. With a company tagline of “place over process,” Solomon and his team have sought to showcase terroirs off the beaten path. Earlier this year, a new project within the company, called Indigo Wine, made its Boston debut. The endeavor serves as an incubator for producers new to the fold, and it includes pours that feel like a breath of fresh air.
Two bottles are crafted by Pablo Calatayud at Celler del Roure in the village of Moixent, an hour’s drive south of Valencia, inland from the Mediterranean coast. The winegrower, who champions indigenous grapes like the nearly extinct mandó, ages wine in ancient amphorae that are housed in a cellar carved out of bedrock beneath the property. Vibrant and textural, the wines taste like much more than an exercise in centuries-old technique.
From that winery, drive more than three hours northwest into the Meseta Central, the heart of Spain, then continue west beyond bustling Madrid. In this rugged region, framed by the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, winemakers Daniel Landi and Fernando Garcia have their hands in several projects, including an effort to save vineyards threatened by urban sprawl. The undertaking bolsters the livelihoods of hundreds of families who grow grapes for a local cooperative. A garnacha called Granito del Cadalso is the result of a partnership between the two winemakers, the cooperative, and European Cellars. Like fellow bottles in the mix, it’s a lively pour that celebrates a spirit of “better together.”
Celler del Roure “Cullerot” 2016 Made from a kitchen sink’s worth of grapes, including pedro ximénez, macabeo, and verdil, this white expresses stone fruit, citrus blossoms, and chamomile on the nose, leading to a ripe, slightly tropical palate with intriguing weight and texture. Around $16. At Porter Square Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, 617-547-3110; Streetcar Wine & Beer, Jamaica Plain, 617-522-6416.
Celler del Roure “Safrà” 2015 The name translates as saffron, so it’s no wonder that this red’s high-toned aromas include warm spice notes set against bright berry fruit. Made from mandó and garnacha tintorera, this polished blend offers cherry, red plum, and fine-grained tannins. Around $21. At Porter Square Wine & Spirits; Cuvée Fine Wines, Belmont, 617-484-4560.
Bodega Marañones “30,000 Maravedíes” 2015 Don’t let the pale-for-a-red hue fool you. Winemaker Fernando Garcia blends garnacha with a splash of morate to achieve a concentrated pour, full of red fruit, salt, and mountain herbs, plus acidity that balances alcohol. Around $25. At Shubie’s, Marblehead, 781-631-0149; Reveler Beverage Co., Needham, 781-400-1203.
Granito del Cadalso Garnacha 2016 Offering scents of violets and saffron, this appetizing garnacha dances with tart cranberry, warm spices, and a dollop of food-friendly tannins. Around $15. At Wine & Cheese Cask, Somerville, 617-623-8656; Andover Classic Wines, Andover, 978-470-0500.