Who: Alex Ruiz and Amós Bañeres.
What: D.O. Penedès.
Where: Torelles de Foix, Vilafranca del Penedès, Catalonia, Spain.
When: Since 2015.
Els Vinyerons Vins Naturals is a brilliantly realised project to make inexpensive organic, sans soufre, terroir wines.
The vines and winemaking space belong to Alex Ruiz whose family are large-scale producers of Cava and who wanted to make wine on an artisanal scale from fully organic vines. The inspiration, and the poetry, is mostly from Amós Bañeres, as Consultant, whose own wines are very limited in production and so wanted to make something more readily available.
The wines are designed to be clean and easy to drink while fully capturing the fruit character of the grape and soil and climate.
The names come from insects that are active in organic vineyard. Alex never forgot that his grandfather casually remarked on that back in the day. Lluerna is a firefly. Saltamarti a cricket. Pregadéu is a praying mantis.
2018 was a challenging year with twice the normal annual rainfall and particularly in the Spring, thus there isn’t the normal concentration and a green harvest was required. The yield was 7,000kg/hectare compared with 1,500kg in 2017. Yet the lower yield and lower concentration met with Amós intention to make lighter, fresher, more vegetal wines, so the results are very fine.