Gredos

Just north and west of Madrid lays the pastoral region of Gredos mountains. It is not a DO. It is a mountain range that encompasses three separate DOs: Mentrida, Madrid and Vino de Tierra de Castilla Leon. This is unspoiled wine country about and hour and a half from the heart of Madrid yet it feels like it's a world away. Goats and sheep roam the pristine hillsides of the Alberche Valley - a winding river valley with mostly south eastern exposure and some cooler temperature north facing vineyards that are a welcome respite from the continental heat of inland Spain. The old Garnacha and Albillo vineyards (many over 80 years old) are being rehabilitated by talented winemakers and vignerons. This is not a region for the feint of heart. Steep and rocky hillsides lined with slate and granite soils are where you find the best vines. It's hot here, but the nights are cool due to the high altitude about 3,000ft above sea level, which give the grapes their acidity. Couple that with the slate and granite soils and you have Garnacha that expresses a minerality like no where else in the world. Luis Guttierez described it right when he said "Vineyards are planted between 600 and 1,200 meters altitude. This and the acidic granite soils provide freshness and acidity in the Garnacha wines even as the alcohol levels routinely reach 14.5% or 15%. If you control grape ripeness (the grapes can easily reach 17% alcohol) and do not commit any excess in the winery, while extracting enough of the character of the grapes, you can get something that could be halfway between Châteauneuf du Pape and Côte de Nuits! In fact, world-class Garnacha." WA. October 31, 2014