Guerrilleros del Vino: Moraza Tempranillo, Barranco Oscuro, Terra Remota

This week, I was looking back at my past tasting of some Spanish Natural wines, I could not help thinking about the analogy between Guerrilla and the Natural Wine Movement. The webster dictionary defines Guerrilla as a a member of a usually small group of soldiers who do not belong to a regular army and who fight in a war as an independent unit. Notable gueriila movements in Latin America include FMLN, FARC, Sandinista National Liberation Front and other more. Their goal is to overthrown the current political establishment using non violent and sometimes violent tactics. They are motivated by a specific political ideology. Left or Right wing. I will not comment anymore on this, since this is not a political blog.

In general, the natural wine movement are like the Guerrilleros. This is a globalized movement of winemakers who seek to make in the most natural way possible. Biological in spirit, they do not employ pesticides or any other foreign element that conventional winemaking employs. By doing so, they have turned their backs against the established winemaking order. Natural wines are revolutionary in nature. They have nothing in common with conventional wines. The ray of aromas, flavors and texture often set you out of your chair.

Spain is kind of late comer in the natural wine movement. According to some sources, the concept was introduced in Spain in barcelona via the store L’Anima del Vi. In 2008, an association of natural wine producers in Spain was founded. A specialist of natural wines in Spain is Joan Gomez Pallares who is the author of the blog De Vinis and author of the first Spanish natural wine book in Spain.

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Moraza Tempranillo 2013. $17.85. SAQ Code:  12473825

A Natural Tempranillo from Rioja that set itselfs apart from the rest of the pack. A joven with aromas redolent of wild black fruits, gunpowder. In addition, complex animal nuances such as black truffles, boar skin and horse saddle. In the mouth, very fresh with a high acidity. Very elegant and well balanced with retronasal reminding of pimenton and adobo spices. Long finale. 95/100.

For those not familiar with Moraza, they are one of the star clients of the portfolio of Agence Boires. If you are new to my blog, you can read my older post about their Garnacha. For a new agency, Boire has gathered an impressive list of wineries from Italy, France, Spain and California. At the moment the Moraza is sold out at the SAQ, but will have more at the end of August.

Barranco Oscuro BO2

Barranco Oscuro makes natural wines in some of the highest altitude vineyards in Spain,They are up to 1368 meters high, in the area  of La Contraviesa, in Alpujarra of Granada.  These are natural wines crafted with a high respect for the environment. I discovered them last year in the Raspipav salon of Montreal. They are represented by Symbiose, another stellar Quebec agency specializing in natural wines.

B02 is a pure tempranillo displaying intriguing nuances of black earth with complex animal nuances. Wild blackberries add to the mix creating a magical bouquet. On the mouth, the wine has excellent balance between fruit concentration and balance. Lovely mineral finish. This cuvee is vinified with indigenous yeast and no SO2 is added. 93\100

Terra Remota Tan Natural Garnatxa Emporda DO 2013. La QV ( $27.05)

Terra Remota is the proyect of Marc and Emma Bournazeau, a french couple with Catalan business connections. Their vineyards are located north of Girona and not far from  the French border or the Costa Brava on the Mediterranean coast. They are represented in Quebec by La QV.

On the nose, this pure Garnacha displays notes of violets and ripe black fruits. On the mouth, the wine is full body and structures. Retronasal flavors remind me of dry black fruits. Beautiful minerality on the midpalate with a long aftertaste. 95\100.

Bodegas Moraza-Pioneers of the natural style in Rioja.


moraza 1Rioja does not stop to amaze me. Since I started drinking the wines of the region, I have known the traditional style such as Lopez de Heredia and Contino among others. In the 90’s, I witnessed the birth of  the alta expression movement, sad to say wines full of french oak and caricature fruit.

Now, it seems the natural wine movement is making a small place in this ultra traditional Spanish wine region.  The pioneers of this change is Bodegas Moraza. I had the pleasure of discovering this producer while doing another wine assignment at Montreal restaurant Communion. I ordered a glass of their unoaked  Viura 2012 and it was a revelation for me. Although, I did not take tasting notes, i was fascinated by its elegance and purity of flavors. Viura is widely grown in Rioja and it is known in Catalan France as Macabeu. It is also a blending partner in the wines of Cava.

Viura has to be handled in the right way to have good results. If you let it grow too much, you will have neutral flavors. Then to fix it, the winemakers would add oak and then you would have wines with excessive makeup. However, this is the not the case of the Viura of Bodegas Moraza. This bottling has a lovely floral and fruit component. It was a killer match with the signature entree dish of crab cakes at Communion.

After inquiring Maxime, the sommelier at the restaurant, I found out that Agence Boires was the representant of Moraza in Quebec, Canada. I contacted Boires and the rest is history.

Charles LL is the owner of the upcoming Agence Boires.  Created this last year, this wine and spirits agency has an impressive biological and natural producers list. Agence boires wines can be found in some of Montreal trendiest restaurants such as Laurea and Communion.

So recently, i had the opportunity to meet Charles and his bellisima girlfriend, Maya at their apartment in Mile End, Montreal. I was invited for dinner and it was a good opportunity to talk about Moraza

Bodegas Moraza is located in the Rioja Alta.  It is  co-produced by Patricio Brongo, Montreal native, partner at Agence Boires and previously involved in the  Antolino Brongo cryomalus  ice cider proyect in Quebec

Their Garnacha 2013 comes from Abalos in Rioja Alta, specifically from the Caseta and Utrera parcel.  These parcel share a similar soil profile to chateauneuf du pape in France. The vineyards are also located at a relatively high altitude around 600 meters above sea level.

Moraza handles the Garnacha the right way. This finicky grapes needs poor soil to encourage low yields. It also sinthesyses in a natural way lots of its sugars, giving wines with a generous alcohol level. But the kicker of the Garnacha is that generates little malolactic acid. This seem like a contradiction, since the grape gives a good acidity which gives a very fresh feeling.

 The garnacha cuvee is made the most natural way as possible. From the start, the grapes are picked manually. They are desteemed and fermented in concrete vats using natural yeasts. Afterwards, the wine is aged in very old french barrique for 20 months. All this treatment permits the Garnacha to show its natural beauty.

Girl with a Pearl Earring, oil on canvas, 1665.

If I will have to make an analogy with a painting, it will be the Girl with a pearl earring by Vermeer, the famous Dutch painter. If you have seen the painting, you know what I am talking about.

Sadly there is not much of this cuvee. There are only 40 cases of this wine and I will believe that will disappear very fast, once it is discovered and understood by the Quebec sommeliers. This is a new wine that has been permitted in Rioja in the last 3-4 harvest


Garnacha DOC Rioja 2013. $29.17. Case of 12.

A wine of true emotion. A Garnacha in  purezza.  On the nose, enchanting black raspberry note. It brings to mind, Shakespeare play poems. In addition, a pronounced and profound minerality with ethereal barnyard and yeast nuances recalling Tuscan leather workshop. In the mouth, medium to full body. Razor like acidity, fleshy fruit and crunchy tannins. All mastered and giving the wine an astral elegance. Retronasal flavors remind me of black earth kissed by mist, dark olives and Criollo cocoa bean. Long in the mouth, like the memory of a first love. Infinite persistence. Perfect wine. 100\100