Sierra de Gredos

The Sierra de Gredos is the mountain range that lies ninety minutes west of Madrid and widely regarded as one of Spain’s most exciting wine regions, albeit one that is still relatively undiscovered. Old bush vine Garnacha is the name of the game here and vineyard altitude ranges from about 500m of elevation, climbing as high as 1200m, ensuring huge day-night temperature swings – perfect for the later ripening Garnacha grape. The wild, untrammelled nature of the mountain range and remote pockets of vines means that it is common to find around 5-10% of other local varieties naturally co-planted in the vineyard, adding extra complexity and freshness. The soils are primarily granite based. White wines, although a significant minority, are based on a local variety called Albillo Real. It is an early-ripening richly textured variety that takes well to barrel ageing thanks to the stony, mineral character that comes in part from elevation and poor soils. Administratively the Sierra de Gredos sits on the border between three separate zones: Madrid, Castilla y Leon and Castilla La Mancha. Most wine is therefore designated Vinos de Madrid or the (unofficial) Garnacha de Gredos.

The upshot of all this is that there is a small cohort of dynamic producers turning out jewel-like Garnacha that has a unique, almost tremoring, ethereal character. When successful they are wines of presence and rocky structures with a bright, crystalline feel. If the Garnacha of Priorat is deep, rich and slatey and Chateauneuf-du-Pape spicy, savoury and glossy, then Gredos Garnacha is something completely different.

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