Concentrated, explosively mineral old-vine reds
A consensus has emerged among many top winemakers in Spain recently that the country’s ancient Garnacha vineyards–concentrated in Northeast Spain, along a topographically variegated, Mediterranean-influenced corridor that runs, west-to-east, from La Rioja to Catalunya–are national treasures capable of world-class greatness and worthy of protection from overzealous replanting by other varieties. In Navarra, a new generation of winemakers has been at the forefront of these efforts, reclaiming and rehabilitating old Garnacha vineyards, some as old as 70 or even 100 years of age. These gnarled old vines boast deep root systems and produce as little as a kilo of grapes per vine, leading to extraordinary concentration of flavor, remarkable complexity and explosive minerality in the finished wines. Their aromatics can be both heady and elusive: deeply perfumed with ripe red fruit, subtly floral, a little woodsy, delicate overall but buttressed throughout with flinty, graphite-like minerality.