Over the last few decades, Spanish wine has seen a serious revolution-- and we can’t get enough. What was once synonymous with bulk wine and mass-produced swill has transformed into a mecca for terroir-driven fruit and clean, precise wines, oozing with character and insane drinkability.
Western Spain, specifically Galicia, has become a hotbed for up and coming, terroir-seeking producers. Love thirst-quenching whites and earth-driven, food-friendly reds? Look no further than these five producers shaking up Spain’s natural wine game.
Luis Rodriguez - Ribeiro
Founded in 1988, Luis Rodriguez farms five hectares of vines in the granitic, sandy soils of Arnoia, highlighting the region’s indigenous, once almost extinct, varieties. Rodriguez served as president of the Ribeiro D.O. for a number of years, now giving all of his energy to the steep, south-sloping vineyards of the region. A native to Galicia, Luis implements lutte raisonée farming practices, never using herbicides, and ferments all of his wines with native yeasts. He is credited with reviving red wine production within Ribeiro, and is known locally for his homemade chorizo, home-distillation hobby, and cellar full of back-vintage wines.
Laura Lorenzo (DaTerra) - Ribeira Sacra
Laura Lorenzo enrolled in oenology school at the age of 16, taking on apprenticeships and working harvests in both South Africa and Argentina. After her time overseas, Lorenzo spent ten years at Quiroga-Bibei in Ribeira Sacra, meticulously studying the terruño of Manzaneda. In 2014, she partnered with Alvaro Dominguez to create Daterra Viticultores, with the mission of carrying on the local culture and creating earth-driven wines from 4.5 hectares of 80-120 year old vines. Farming is done manually, with some biodynamic principles implemented, and a non-interventionist mentality, including native yeast fermentation, gravity movement, and minimal sulfur usage, implemented in the cellar.
Guimaro - Ribeira Sacra
Meaning ‘Rebel’ in the local Gallego dialect, Guimaro’s eight hectares of vines are rooted into slate, granite, and sandy soils, farmed organically, with meticulous attention to detail. In the early 2000s, Pedro Rodriguez (of Guimaro) was introduced to legendary Galician winemaker Raul Perez, who aided Rodriguez in seeing the age-worthiness and stellar potential of his old vines and single-vineyard plots. Today, Rodriguez implements traditional winemaking practices, including native yeast fermentations, food treading in open-top containers, stem inclusion, and barrel aging. Guimaro was one of the first wineries to join the official Ribeira Sacra appellation.
Nanclares y Prieto - Rias Baixas
Native to the Basque Country, Alberto Nanclares moved to the seaside village of Castrelo with his wife in 1992, creating a small winery out of his garage. Today, Nanclares creates some of the most age-worthy, saline-tinged Albarinos in the entire Galicia region, heavily influenced by the salty Atlantic air. No chemicals are used in the vineyards; all vines are cultivated organically and some biodynamic principles are used. Nanclares’ 2.5 hectares are divided into 12 small plots, with a quality over quantity mentality implemented at the adega. Native yeast fermentations, extensive lees aging, and no clarification/filtration are implemented. Concentrated, precise, and extremely age-worthy, these Albarinos are not to be missed.
Comando G - Castilla y León
Located in Sierra de Gredos, just southwest of Madrid, Daniel Landi and Fernando Garcia founded Comando G in 2008, focused on showcasing the region’s potential for elegant and expressive Garnacha. Vines are located on high altitudes and farmed biodynamically, ranging from 50-80 years in age. Each single-vineyard is hand-harvested and fermented with native yeasts in open top French oak casks, aged in a combination of large French oak barrels and clay amphorae. Juicy, mineral-driven, and insanely balanced, Comando G’s minimalist cuvées highlight the top growing sites of Castilla y León.