Zestos Old Vine Garnacha
If you love wines of tension that exhibit purity and finesse, you will find Zestos old Vine Garnacha to be your new love. Zestos shows the complexity of a wine three times its price. In the words of Robert M. Parker, Jr, the most influential wine critic in the world, Zestos is “a staggering value”, he also claims that Zestos is “an unbelievable wine for the price”. Zestos old vine is produced from Garnacha vines that were planted in 1950 in the high elevation vineyards of San Martin Valdeiglesias - northwest of Madrid. Today San Martin produces among the most floral and mineral Garnachas in all of Spain. The older the vines the better the wine. Old vines do not over produce. As a result the vines yield fully ripened grapes. Perfectly ripened grapes make wines that improve with time. Zestos means basket in Spanish. Not too many years ago, baskets like the ones depicted on the label were use to transport grapes from the vineyard to the wineries. Madrid has recently become the center of one of the most interesting and innovative wine regions on the Iberian Peninsula. The outskirts of this storied royal city are filled with old vines Garnacha situated in high elevation vineyards that have been planted in ideal soils. Madrid is a sort of “great unknown” that is now just freshly discovered. Most consumers are unaware that Madrid makes wine and because Vinos de Madrid is not yet “on the radar” of wine consumers, it is a great source of incredible values today.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? This tremendous quality wine is made from old vine Garnacha and it sells for a song! San Martin produces among the most floral and mineral Garnachas in all of Spain. Zestos shows the complexity of wine 2 times its price. In fact many wines that cost 3 times the price of Zestos do not even show the complexity of this humble yet complex wine.
RATING HISTORY: 2013 89IWC; 2012 89IWC; 2011 90RP&IWC
GRAPE: 100% Garnacha. Vines planted from 1960 - 1970. Tended in granite and sandy soil at 574 m ( 1,883ft) elevation
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Zestos has such a pleasing aspect and texture and such fresh, succulent red and dark berry aromas and fruit; it's a perfect introduction to Spanish wine. Put it next to any casual foods you care to: pizza, Panini sandwiches, pulled pork sliders, fajitas, cheese quesadillas, and pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. This is an “easy quaffer” wine, as well. If you don't have any aged manchego or aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese handy, just pour some in your glass and enjoy!
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Vinified in stainless steel and cement tanks of 10,000-liter capacity. Garnachas in San martin are ussually harvested during mid October. Pre-fermentation maceration and fermentation takes 5 days, followed by a longer post maceration period of 10 days. The wine is aged in cement and stainless steel tanks to emphasize the purity of flavor and the youthful, fresh character of the Garnacha grape.
PRODUCTION: 30,000 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located in Zone 7, in the high elevation district of San Martin de Valdeiglesias at 574 m ( 1,883ft) elevation. The granite and sandy soil in this area is responsible for the mineral characters expressed in Zestos. For climate, the area's high elevation of 870 meters makes it the most extreme climate in the region. The risk of frost during early budding and flowering is very high. However, when the risk of frost is low, San Martin produces among the most floral and mineral Garnachas in all of Spain. The average temperature from April-October is 17.9C (64.2F) and yearly rainfall is 574mm (22.6 in).
TASTING NOTES: Vivid ruby. Lively red and dark berry aromas show good clarity and a touch of candied flowers. Supple and seamless in texture, offering juicy black raspberry and cherry flavors given spine by a gentle mineral nuance. Finishes fruity and broad, with a touch of white pepper adding lift and cut.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold