Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Spanish natural wine scene

So far French wines have dominated this blog simply because they are more readily available in the UK and I spend more time in France than anywhere else. I was also under the impression that there wasn't much interest in natural winemaking in Spain but I was obviously wrong.

According to Jancis Robinson’s exemplary website there are some exciting wines emerging including her wine of the week this week, Picarana from Bodega Marañones. She also highlights a number from Indigo Wine in a feature which is only available to subscribers so I’m not going to queer her pitch by referring to the wines or tasting notes. You’ll have to subscribe (which I strongly recommend) - or wait till I’ve had a chance to taste them - to get some feedback from me.

The only wine I’ve tasted recently - apart from the Rioja I tried with Kate Thal - which really falls under the scope of this blog is Los Pinos 0% (above) from Dominio Los Pinos in Valencia which has been organic for some 20 years. It’s a dark, slightly tarry blend of Garnacha (20%) Monastrell (40%) and Syrah (40%) with, as the name suggests, no added sulphur. It’s on the rustic side with smoky bonfire aromas and firm, slightly stalky tannins - a wine that really needs food (wild boar comes to mind) to kick it into touch. Well made - It certainly didn’t suffer from the lack of sulphur - but for me it lacked the edgy excitment of some of the natural wines I’ve tasted from France lately.

Another winemaker Fabio Bartolomei of Vinos Ambiz also spotted that there was no links section for natural Spanish wines so I’ve remedied that. Unfortunately the blogs and sites of the producers he mentions are all, barring his, in Spanish but if you speak the language check them out:

Laureano Serres  
Samuel Cano   
Alfredo Maestro   
Vinya Sanfeliù   

You can find more on the Vino Naturales site - again in Spanish - here 

He also drew my attention to this very interesting map which shows that there are more artisanal producers (not sure how that is defined) in the south west corner of France than in any region of Spain. But obviously that’s changing. If you know of any I should try please let me know.


  1. I wouldn't take the map of "artisanal" producers too seriously. In the Herault valley (Languedoc) there are at least x20 the number shown.

  2. I guess it's produced by a group who only show their members wineries. But not knowing that much about natural winemaking in Spain I find it quite interesting nonetheless. Do you want to forward me the names of some of your favourite Herault producers, Graham?

  3. The map is produced a woman called Malena Fabregat (her website is at written in Spanish but with a 'translator' button which does a not-very-good machine translation, but at least gives the gist). I believe her company provides web and marketing services for wineries.
    Anyway, I don't think the map has any pretentions of being exhaustive or comprehensive and is more like an ongoing project. Even so, I think it's quite useful, bearing in mind its limitation, and it's certainly a good idea.
    The Spanish Association of Natural Wine Producers only has about 6 members, sadly. Even I haven't joined it, though I've been meaning to do so for years!
    I know two natural wine producers from SW France: Amy Lillard (La Gramière - and Ryan O'Connell ( I met them both at the EWBC in Vienna a few months ago and tried their wines - I recommend them both, well worth a try.

  4. Thanks Fabio. I'm already in touch with Ryan but will look out Amy.