Las Moradas de San Martin

The vineyards of Las Moradas may be the largest single contiguous estate of old vine Garnacha vineyards in the Sierra de Gredos as the estate was assembled in the mid-1990s from 26 small parcels that had previously been abandoned.  The estate is about two miles from San Martin de Valdeiglesias on the top of a "hill" (at an elevation of around 3,000 feet) with perfect sun exposure all day long (most Sierra de Gredos vineyards face east and only get morning sun).  Across the estate there are vines ranging in age from 40 years to over 100 years old.

The estate is also inside the SPA 56 (Special Protection Area for birds), a surrounding landscape of great environmental value thanks to its native flora and fauna. These surroundings are a natural breathing space, with a very clean atmosphere that is maintained by using only natural products (organic fertilizer with manure, grape stems, etc.) in the vineyards.  The terrain itself is spectacular with a mixture of ancient granitic sand, gravel, and rock outcroppings from its prime location in the Sierra de Gredos.

 

The wines are produced with a combination of state of the art wine making equipment but also while respecting traditions with completely manual work in the vineyards.   There are low yields per hectare, seeking a balance between the vines and maximum respect for the Garnacha grapes.  The harvest is completely manual, without breaking the grapes or oxidizing the must, and without damaging the Garnacha vines and with a greater degree of selection. The contiguous estate also ensures freshness and high quality as most Sierra de Gredos wines are sourced from very dispersed small parcels all through the mountainous area and transit times between vineyards and a winery can be one to two hours versus minutes on the Las Moradas estate.

 

The final part of the inspired transition between old vine Garnacha and very expressive and authentic wines is Isabel Galindo who has been winemaker since 2002.  Devoted to the vineyard landscape and a lover of Garnacha, Isabel was one of the pioneers of the rediscovery of the Sierra de Gredos.  With a combination of brilliance and creativity, Isabel understands the characteristics of every parcel on the estate.  From the nutrient poor pure granite soils and low yields, she is creating very elegant and balanced wines with minimal intervention - and where the old vine Garnacha grapes are always the star of the show.

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Ancient granitic sand in the vineyards

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A higher peak in the Sierra de Gredos in the background

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60 year old Garnacha vines

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100 year old Garnacha vine

The Wines

Senda 2016 (OF, NF)

Senda is from the parcels of Boquerón, Los Corzos, and La Coja within the estate and the age of the vines is between 40 and 85 years old.  Soils in these parcels is a combination of granitic sand, gravel, and rocks and the wine is aged 10 months in used oak barrels.  Aromas include dark cherries, dark plums, pomegranate, blood orange, and a hint of cedar.  Flavors include blackberries, boysenberries, ripe strawberries, red peaches, and nectarines.  There is a light to medium body but with a feeling of more “weight” across the palate, perfect balance and acidity, and a saturated minerally finish with a hint of sweet tannins.

Food pairings would include filet mignon, New York steak, roast beef, beef stew, veal stew, veal chops, pork chops, pork tenderloin, pork shoulder, rack of lamb, duck, chicken, pasta with meat sauces, cassoulet, paella, shrimp, salmon, seafood pasta, Asian beef, pork, and chicken dishes, and charcuterie.

Initio 2013 (OF, NF) 

 

Initio is from the parcels of Montazgo, San Martín, and Centenera within the estate and all vines are at least 60 years of age and vines in some of the parcels are over 100 years old.  The wine is aged for 14 months in a combination of 30% new oak barrels and 70% used oak barrels.  Aromas are of dark cherries, dark plums, and Asian spices.  Flavors include dark fruits such as dark cherries, blackberries, and blueberries along with hints of dark chocolate.  There is a medium to full body, perfect balance and acidity, and a full refreshing and minerally finish.

 

Food pairings would include filet mignon, New York steak, rib eye, short ribs, beef stew, veal scallopine, pork chops, wild boar, elk, grilled chicken, pasta with meat sauce, Asian & Mexican beef, pork, and chicken dishes, lamb curry, tandoori dishes, charcuterie, and mild to medium cheeses.

 

La Sabina 2011 (OF, NF, SF)

 

La Sabina is a remarkable example of what can be achieved with sulfite free wines.  In my visits to wineries all around Europe I have unfortunately seen mixed results with sulfite free wines and the critical factors for the wines to be stable and expressive appear to be a combination of winemaking skill and knowledge and cellar cleanliness.  With this estate there are superlative examples of both characteristics and they express themselves in the remarkable freshness of this almost ten year old sulfite free wine.

 

Aromas include rich plums, blackberry jam, mulberries, boysenberries, and dark chocolate and flavors include dark plums, dark cherries, and boysenberries.  There is a medium to full body, perfect balance and acidity, and a rich full minerally finish with sweet tannins.

 

Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, beef stew, lamb chops, pork chops, pasta with meat sauce, coq au vin, tuna, mussels, Asian beef, pork, and chicken dishes, Mexican beef and pork dishes, paella, jambalaya, Indian Tandoori dishes, and charcuterie.

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