Dos Molinos Garnacha
You may be familiar with the importer Paris Wine Company's Deux Moulin wines. They collaborate with produces in the Loire Valley of France to bring beautiful value-driven wines produced from native grapes. Founder Joshua Adler and Sommelier Mayu Miller have joined forces to bring you Dos Molinos as an exploration of Spain. Together they have source wines from producers who translate terroir through minimal intervention in the cellar. The vineyards are located in the northwest province of Zaragoza in the DOP Campo de Borja known to locals as “The Kingdom of Garnacha”.
The region is best known for its rich and fruit-forward reds hailing from the lowlands, but as the vineyards slowly wind up the foothill slopes of Moncayo mountain, the altitude offers wines with a bit more restraint and elegance. Dos Molinos introduces a high elevation Garnacha with ripe tannins, black fruit, and earth that speaks of the rocky soil. This could stand alone, but it will really shine with food. Look to anything coming off the grill - Lamb Lollipops, sausages or a rip eye, Granacha and smoke always complement.
The first written reference to viticulture in the area is a document indicating a donation of vineyards in 1203 to the Cistercian Monastery of Veruela. Much like the rest of Europe, Monasteries played a very important role in the development of wine production. Even up through the 19th century the Veruela Monastery helped to replant and graft vines in the area after the devastating effect of the vine louse phylloxera.
TUNES FOR YOUR JUICE
by Liza Morgioni
With the name Dos Molinos deriving from the famous windmills of Northern Spain that Cervantes describes in Don Quixote, this bottle is a testament to Spain’s rich, influential culture. It is thought that the Garnacha (or Grenache) varietal actually originated in Spain, where hot climate contributes to a distinct expression of the grape. Bolero is a style of Spanish dance music that has inspired many other genres throughout the world. Perhaps the most renowned piece influenced by bolero is that composed by Maurice Ravel, who revered the story of Don Quixote.
Boléro utilizes an ostinato rhythm; it remains consistent throughout the piece, with different instruments passing around the melody. Ravel intended for the theme to build upon itself and gradually develop, a concept that applies to the behavior of wine! This Garnacha is ready to drink now, but that doesn’t make it uncomplicated. Its layers slowly reveal themselves as the wine opens up.
Right away, the Dos Molinos Garnacha’s deep purple hue and round fruit notes are apparent, and it proves lush with a full but balanced grip. This insistent first impression beckons you to explore further while establishing the basis of its charm. Similarly, the snare serves as foundation for Boléro and the wind instruments spin the beginnings of a tale, as the tension provided by string’s pizzicato foreshadows a steady climb in animation. The Garnacha’s distinct spices and dry, rocky minerality add a new layer, and the elevation of this particular vineyard keeps the wine heightened but not weighed down.
Don’t skip ahead in this fifteen minute song; the build up is highly intentioned, and by the end it is explosive, bursting with energy from all sections of the orchestra. Dos Molinos Garnacha is not to be rushed either- be sure to savor its dynamic qualities, and it may remind you that, after all, Bolero is a dance.
Celler Comunica ‘Comunica’ Montsant
After spending years in the wine business consulting for wineries throughout the Mediterranean, Pep Aguilar and Patri Morillo decided to settle down at an old farmhouse estate in the town of Falset to explore the possibilities of the DO Montsant – pronounced mun’san. In their own words, “we make wines which we like and in the way we like to make them: honest wines, made from vineyards on granite soils.” In contrast to their neighbors in Priorat, they champion vivacity in their wine and avoid any use of new oak. A quick hour and a half drive from Barcelona with meandering roads along mountainside olive groves, dense growth, and jagged rocks this is an intense landscape with wines that mirror its surroundings. With a much lower cost of land in Monstant compared to Priorat, winemakers are eager to increase quality and make a name for this DO that was only registered in 2001.
Self-described “chefs of terroir” these wines contain some serious flavor. 6 months in stainless steel preserves the freshness of this 70% Hairy Grenache, and 30% Syrah blend. A native of Catalonia, Hairy Grenache is a mutation of the Red Grenache grape and gets its name from the hairy leaves. It delivers a lower alcohol content and light red fruits. With vine ages between 45 and 60 years old there is a serious depth and concentration, that doesn’t weigh you down. Wild red berries, slightly jammy, and granitic soils that transmit a slight smokiness.
Many have drawn the comparison between Monstant and Priorat to the relationship of Gigondas and Chateauneuf de Pape. Gigondas, like Monstant, is a value-driven alternative with similar components, but they are each unique in their own right. They don’t need to play second-fiddle to their more lauded counterpart because at the end of the day they are different soils, different aspects, and ultimately different wines. Insiders in the know, however, can take advantage of the value the more unknown designations offer!
TUNES FOR YOUR JUICE
by Liza Morgioni
The first thing that becomes clear when you learn about Pep Aguilar and Patri Morillo of Celler Comunica is that they love their land. Focus on their roots and the natural world has led them to stray from oak usage and high alcohol extract, as they believe that these can distract from clean fruit. Growing in granite-based soils, they desire a drinkable wine that still has some natural grittiness. I thought a folk singer would match their energy, and Shakey Graves certainly brings the grit with his scratchy, powerful voice.
Not only are Celler Comunica dedicated to their terroir, but they also are self-proclaimed nonconformists, unafraid to stray from more popular methods in their region. “Roll The Bones” is about living life by your own standards with no inhibitions, and not caring what people say. “Let’s take a chance and roll the bones.” Alejandro of Shakey Graves describes a near-death experience he had that inspired the track, saying that it was like he had a pair of new eyes. I think Pep and Patri could relate, seeing as they spent years advising in the wine industry only to settle down at their D.O. Monstant region farmhouse and search for their own path. “Roll The Bones” even sounds like a journey, especially with its rolling guitar and steady kick drum picking up in momentum from a crawl to a run three minutes in.
Ultimately for Celler Comunica their journey has resulted in a return to simplicity, trusting the vineyard to work its magic, and it has paid off. Here we have a wine that is simple not in its lack of complexity, but rather for its straightforward and true expression of terroir.