The Gredos Mountains
THE GREDOS MOUNTAINS
Located south of Ávila, west of Madrid and northwest of Toledo, the area known as Sierra de Gredos (the Gredos Mountains) is currently one of Spain's most interesting wine regions.
In fact, the resurgence of Gredos as a quality wine producing region is one of the most remarkable events occurred in the Spanish wine scene since the Priorat's renaissance, which happened 25 years ago.
The Gredos wine area comprises about 5,500 hectares of vineyards, shared between cooperatives, big producers and artisan winemakers.
The wines from Gredos have a unique personality and a distinctive character. By now, that's a generally accepted fact.
Unfortunately, the ineptitude of the Spanish administration has blocked, and will presumably continue to do so, every attempt to establish a much-needed legal recognition of the region under the form of a Gredos Designation of Origin.
Thus, the wines produced in the area must be labelled as belonging either to the Méntrida DO, to the Vinos de Madrid DO, or to the Vino de la Tierra Castilla y León PGI (Protected Geographical Indication).
Nevertheless, to preserve and promote the singularity of the wines produced in the area, some top-quality winemakers founded in 2013 the Asociación Garnachas de Gredos, whose main aim is to establish itself as a recognized quality label.
Grenache is the most planted red variety in Gredos, though there are also small quantities of Morenillo, Carignan and, according to the latest reports, some ancient Castilian varieties, such as Listán Prieto (now widely planted, interestingly, in the Canary Islands).
Gredos is home to some world-class Grenache wines. The outstanding quality of the wines can be explained considering the following factors.
The vineyards are located at altitudes between 600 and 1,200 metres above sea level. This causes substantial temperature differences between daytime and nighttime, which in turn allows the grapes to ripen steadily.
Soils in Gredos are mainly composed of granite, with some transition areas where granite is combined with slate. Generally speaking, granitic soils bring a great freshness to the wines.
Climate is Continental with a Mediterranean influence. In the case of high-altitude vineyards, the plants are submitted to the rigours of a Highland climate.
Most of the vines are old or very old. Therefore, they are perfectly adapted to their environment and thus able to express their terroir with amazing transparency and depth.
As a result, the Grenache wines from Gredos possess elegance, purity and freshness to a degree that has few parallels in other regions of Spain.
Mr. Luis Gutiérrez, Robert Parker's correspondant for Spain, has defined the Grenaches from Gredos as a combination of the burgundian elegance of the Pinot Noir wines from the Côte de Nuits with the intensity of the reds from Châteauneuf du Pape.
Lately, Mr. Gutiérrez published his second article dedicated to Gredos in The Wine Advocate magazine.
The following is a selection of wines produced by cellars that have received high scores from the Spanish wine critic.
Until our next post,
Just enjoy wine.