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Editor'S Choice - 2020

Collaborations rarunas: wines born from strange companions ... from vineyard

A grape from here, a grape from there and… voilà

A grape from here, a grape from there and… voilà © Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

He said Marlene Dietrich that the friends you can call at four in the morning are the ones that matter. What if those friends call you to harvest, or to propose make a wine together even on the other side of the world?

There are few drinks that unite as much as wine, but those that appear here are the result of collaborations sometimes sporadic, sometimes lasting, but where the spark of teamwork that ignites, as always, passion.


Javier Zaccagnini and Ismael Gozalo they already formed a somewhat strange couple, and between the two it was not strange that, since they set out to make a high-end Verdejo outside the DO Rueda when N-A-D-I-E considered then stay out of their commercial success, would like to continue betting on the greatness of this white mesetaria with a groundbreaking message.

And they called Klaus Peter Keller, a German producer, of Palatinate, where there are exceptional wines of riesling (and some of the great Old World whites are made) to create Verdling, a pun between Verdejo and riesling.

Because what this trio did was to start from an old Verdejo vineyard and make it as if it were a Rheinhessen riesling, where high acidity and pampering in winemaking is a mark of the house and life insurance to uncork the wine inside In a few years. Ossian is now in the hands of the Ruiz family and not of its founders but Verdlin continues to be produced every year in its two versions: Trocken (dry) and Sweet.

If something works, Why change it?

Verdling Trocken: € 20

Sweet Verdling: € 17

Ossian vineyards © Ossian


Here by name it is possible to guess that there is something different. And is that Pirate joins in the bottle two of the most heterodox processors in their respective areas.

Again, Ismael Gozalo, rebel with the occasional cause and an exhaustive knowledge of the Verdejo old segoviana, look for strange bed partner (not only politics does them) and find him in Benjamin Romeo, a type of enormous talent and a success of equal size for its magnificent Rioja, praised by critics and sought by the most experienced wine enthusiasts.

Romeo found in Gozalo his Juliet Particular to get on this pirate ship where the crew is made up of two different terroirs and their native grapes, each made in their land, as lovers looking for a dark place to melt full of passion: on the one hand, viura, malvasía and garnacha of San Vicente de la Sonsierra (La Rioja), and on the other Verdejo of old vines of Nieva (Segovia).

Rock And Roll That sounds good and tastes better, although it is not a wine for all audiences (there are only slightly more than 800 bottles in magnum format, 1.5 liters) or all pockets, as its price exceeds 150 euros. But if you try it, make a swag of your heart, piraaaata ...

Pirata 2015 can be found in some online wine stores, such as Lavinia.


Navazos team has been selecting boots for over a decade Marco de Jerez and Montilla-Moriles.

This group of wine lovers in which there are also winemakers and great experts in generous has spent years searching in lost corners of the wineries and rescuing small jewels that bottle with the name of The Boot of ... (inspired by Poe and his story The piled up boot) and a number, which corresponds to each of the wines and spirits they bottle.

But their restlessness has been gradually expanding, as expected, and the Andalusian frames have run out of boys. So they have continued exploring and among their “Wine trips” (which have nothing to do with the intake of hallucinogens, but with the search for synergies between the south and other areas) created Colet Navazos in collaboration with Colet, sparkling family in the Penedès.

Here the method is the champenoise of a lifetime, with two fermentations, but the Andalusian dot slips into the expedition liquor, that liquid that is added after the aging and disgorgement of the bottle and where it usually goes, in each case, the sugar that determines whether it will be a brut nature, semi-dry wine ...

Colet Navazos does not carry a drop of added sugar and yes that Atlantic and saline accent that mixes with the Mediterranean character of Penedès wine. Two very ours seas for a surprising and pleasant union. There are two versions, extra brut and extra brut reserve.

Navazos Extra Brut 2013 Colet: € 22

Navazos Extra Brut Reserve Reserve: € 28


That Portugal is getting interesting we do not stop saying it and others in Traveler. Not only in places, beaches, landscapes or little things of eating, also in the liquid plane. And, beyond the tasty ports, our neighbor is a fascinating wine world: bairradas, green vinhos, dãos, muscat of Setúbal, alentejos ...

And it is precisely there, in Alentejo, where I stop today to talk about a collaboration that is rare because I speak of a Portuguese wine ... made by two Spaniards, who have worked together in the 2016 harvest.

Susana Esteban, a Galician from Tui (on the border with Lusitania) and one of the most reputed winemakers in the north, has a lot of experience in Portuguese wine after having passed through “fifths” of weight in the Douro as Quinta do Crasto (what richest wines, too).

But for ten years he started the motorcycle of making his own wines and Sidecar It is a project where he embarks, and encourages driving, colleagues to make Alentejo wines with a different touch in each vintage. Every harvest, a friend.

And in 2016 Susana looks back to her homeland and a total is marked looGalician in Alentejo with the vision of his friend Eulogio Pomares (Zarate), one of the most outstanding producers of Rias Baixas. Both create a Fermented sidecar in fresh and deep amphorae, mineral and so attractive in the mouth that you will know little. And of which there are only 1700 bottles.

Sidecar 2016: € 49.95


There are few times when people talk about Jerez and Champagne as vineyards brothers; territories that share, apart from being the homelands of great wines of the world, a soil of limestone component, shelter of greatness and the difference that mark each other around the world.

That's why it wasn't weird that Jerez and champagne will come anytime. But really, approach as they do in this project, in which Alejandro Muchada, passionate architect of organic farming, fell in love with David Léclapart vineyard when a classmate invited him to make a vintage with this maker of Trépail and one of the exponents of the biodynamic current in Champagne.

Three years later, the French step on the Marco and the same thing happens to Alejandro with the Champagne vineyard: that light, that whitish land ... Said and done, what the chalk unites, that a bottle does not separate.

The Muchada-Léclapart project is already a reality with its own winery in the Barrio Alto Sanluqueño, and there is nothing more to look at Alejandro's face to see that yes, that he is very serious, and that quality wines glued to the terroir and dictated by heaven are possible.

Seductive whites and stellar names such as Lumiere or Fugaz make up a collection where, for now, my favorite is Étoile, a white palomino of old fermented vineyard and elaborated in a chamomile boot from which it is difficult to leave a drop in the bottle.

Muchada- Léclapart Étoile 2017: € 46

The ace of the vineyards © David Léclapart


Again Portugal, and its unjustly unknown wine charm here, seduces one of the most restless processors in northern Spain, Raúl Pérez, and he sticks the jump from his homeland, Valtuille, in León, to the beautiful Douro Valley to get home from the most prominent name of the wines of the Portuguese side of the Duero: Dirk Niepoort.

Nothing unusual, on the other hand, since Raul loves to get out of his comfort zone to try here and there, to vinify varieties hitherto reviled, revitalize almost lost areas making incredible wines and, in short, having very, very little fear.

That is why it was only a matter of time before he approached the domains of Niepoort, Portugal's top winemaker who has taken his portos, douros and the rest of the wines that it produces in places like Dão, Austria, South Africa or Ribeira Sacra to the highest places in the critics rankings and to the deepest corners of the hearts of the fans who try them.

As for which, we would say (Pérez has also produced in the African country and has left a few excellent wines in his collaborations with processors of the Ribeira Sacra), and it was clear that they both ended up meeting, as so often happens to talented colleagues Similar.

Synergy? Of course, because Niepoort does not close the doors of his warehouse to collaborators, and because Raúl has a special sensitivity and wine tastes a while, so the fruit of this union is Ultreia Douro, a mixture of grapes from the Portuguese region such as amarela ink, frank touriga or roriz ink (as the Tempranillo is called on the other side of the border) which is pure, almost balsamic bursting fruit , tasty on the palate, agile, fluid and hard. Very Douro, very Pérez.

Ultreia Niepoort: € 56

Love between the brambles © Viña Zorzal


Some of Mendoza Argentina. Siblings. Others, also brothers, of Corella, Navarra.

More than 10,000 kilometers away that can only be traveled with wings. The Michelini, owners of a winery called Zorzal, and the Sanz, owners of another ... of the same name. Away in space and with many things in common, perhaps its history was predestined.

Thats why he crush between the thrush (which, by the way, are monogamous), would have to happen sometime. And after exchanging emails, tweets and even some formal letter (trademark issues here or there, type confusions: "But you didn't have a winery in Argentina?" to the Navarrese thrushes…), a Michelini, Matías, and a Sanz, Xabier, talk about the fact that it is already good for chats, that it is necessary to see each other, here, or there… And Michelini decides that here.

He, who has set foot in Spain to elaborate in areas such as Galicia or Bierzo, where his brother Gerardo is already making wine with his wife Andrea Mufatto, approaches Navarra to meet Xabier. Nerves; there will be chemical or not; We can do something together or we will take fatal ... those doubts that arise in any blind date. But no.

The moment of the meeting arrives, Michelini and Sanz face each other, among old vines of Garnacha, Grampano, Viura ... landscapes unknown to the Argentine that steal his heart. Michelini freaks out; and decides to stay, wants to know more about that field, that territory for him to explore. Start thinking about crus, elaborations ...

Xabi lets him conduct the orchestra because what he hears sounds like heavenly music. And they start writing their story together; This has only just started.

Yes already last year Viña Zorzal, the winery of the Sanz, started a collaborative project with friends called Flight Lessons (that time with someone of your highest confidence, the winemaker Jorge Navascués, advisor to the winery), this year the pilot will be Matías Michelini, defender of natural wines and one of Mendoza's processors.

But the flight is just starting, and the trip is intuited long, with very interesting wine-shaped stops that will have to wait to try.

The next Flight Lessons will be released in a few months.

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