From: D.O. Vinos de Madrid, Cadalso de los Vidrios, Spain
Blend: Garnacha, Carineña
Taste: On the nose, you first encounter a bouquet of mountain raspberry, cherry, and forest fruits and forest shrubs intermingled with notes of balsamic and light baking spices and fresh dried herbs. On the palate, its balance is impeccable. The delicate play of acidity and tannin, the vibrant fruit notes, and the subtle nuances of spice and its terroir shine through, highlighting the Sierra de Gredos area.
Pairing: Such a wine demands dishes that complement its richness and depth. Picture it alongside grilled meats, the crisp skin of a baked suckling pig (see below), or a hearty lasagna. Pastas with robust meat sauces, too, would find their match in this red.
Siu Yuk (Crispy Pork Belly)
Adapted by Clarissa Wei
About: Since its establishment in 1932, Vila Viniteca, a family-run enterprise, has grown to become a cornerstone of Barcelona’s rich viticultural legacy. Situated a mere stone's throw away from the iconic Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, in Barcelona's historical old quarter, the head office remains a testament to the enduring legacy of this business.
In the vibrant 1990s, the torchbearers of this enterprise, Francisco Martí and Quim Vila, embarked on a transformative journey. What once stood as a humble delicatessen and wine shop was reimagined into a thriving wine merchant business, all under their visionary leadership.
Francisco, not just a businessman but a seasoned wine-grower, is the proud owner of Ca N’Estruc, a prestigious Catalonian wine estate whose roots trace back to 1548. Under their joint stewardship, they breathed new life into forgotten vineyards and grape varieties. Their combined efforts culminated in the launch of distinctive wines like Paisajes and Viña al Lado de la Casa in 1998, heralding the inception of the Uvas Felices project.
Another fascinating chapter in this tale is the 'Hombre Bala' wine series, a synergy between Uvas Felices and Comando G, steered by college buddies turned winemakers – Daniel Landi and Fernando García. Each had previously etched their names in the wine world, Daniel with Bodegas Jimenez-Landi and Fernando at Bodega Marañones. In 2008, their shared passion led to the birth of Comando G. The duo, standing shoulder to shoulder with the pioneers of Priorat, have masterfully transformed the Garnacha grape from a modest variety to a competitor of the illustrious Burgundian Pinot Noir and the northern Rhône’s Syrah.
Tucked away in the rugged terrains of the Sierra de Gredos, their vineyards, aged between 50 to 80 years and cultivated biodynamically, are a source of singular, terroir-driven wines. Luis Gutierrez, from Wine Advocate, rightly notes their unwavering commitment to enhancing the quality and distinctiveness of their wines. Their winemaking process, reflective of precision and thoughtfulness, teases out the perfect harmony of fruit and terroir.
Under the masterful direction of Comando G, Uvas Felices vineyards are transformed into wines that speak of passion, history, and excellence. Their collaboration in 2010 has given birth to two exquisite labels: El Hombre Bala and Agricola de Cadalso. Together, they've embraced the challenge and privilege of cultivating vines with deep historical roots in the Sierra de Gredos mountains.
West of Madrid, the Sierra de Gredos mountains unfurl their grandeur. Though the region only carries the D.O. status of Vinos de Madrid, its wines speak of a history richer than many more famed regions. The deep soils, laden with sand, gravel, and the shimmer of quartz and silica, are as much an art piece as the wine they give rise to. With elevations between 600 and 1100 meters, the region enjoys a cooler mountain climate, making it a sanctuary for the Garnacha and Albillo Real varieties.
This partnership believes in respecting the vines, letting nature take its course, and allowing the grapes to represent their terroir. Hand-harvesting, organic practices, and minimal intervention in the winery ensure the wine retains its authentic character.
Hailing from the Cadalso de los Vidrios region of Gredos, the grapes for El Hombre Bala grow in the Los Castaños, La Fuente Del Asno, Los Barrancos, and El Piquillo vineyards in weathered granite soils, which bestow upon them a unique mineral edge. With its 98% Garnacha and 2% Cariñena blend, this red wine sees the two varietals vinified separately and then harmoniously blended.
The meticulous crafting of this wine is evident in every stage of its creation. The grapes undergo natural fermentation, are pressed gently, and aged gracefully in old French wood before spending a final six months in the bottle.
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