The origins of the 4Kilos winery are humble. A “kilo” is old Spanish slang for one million Pesetas, the former Spanish currency. The 4Kilos name comes from founders Francesc Grimalt and Sergio Caballero’s small initial investment of 4 million Pesetas. The two converted an old Mallorcan sheep farm into their winery, vinifying their first bottles in an old milk refrigerator.
Francesc is a former Anima Negra winemaker and Sergio Caballero is a musician and founding partner of Barcelona’s Sonar Music Festival. The two founded 4Kilos in 2006, leveraging their small initial investment and innovative winemaking practices to produce vintages that elegantly express the strength and complexity of Mallorcan grapes. The vineyards are planted in different parts of the north and south of Mallorca, celebrating variety and not being confined to a single DO.
Francesc has a special place in his heart for the Amadip Esment Foundation which works with children and young people with special needs. Francesc had the brilliant idea of involving the the Amadip Esment children in the winemaking process. Nowadays, the kids help with grape growing, making the wine and even designing 4Kilos’ memorable labels, reflecting the winery’s fun and playful personality. What’s more, all net profits from 4Kilos are donated to Amadip Esment.
Francesc and the team at 4 Kilos have agreed to allow the Cosecha team to make their first barrel of Manto Negro with them. We are thrilled to have brought this very special wine to market in Fall 2019.
The wines produced by Alvar de Dios Hernandez are the antithesis of the traditionally leathery, overly robust flavour profile of Toro wines. Born into a family of winemakers in the village of El Pego near the Toro DO, Alvar decided to venture outside of his hometown to learn and perfect his craft.
The young Spaniard was hired as the cellar master for Fernando Garcia at Bodegas Marañones 10 years ago in the Sierra de Gredos region. As he worked for Fernando, he split his time between Toro and the Gredos. Purchasing his first vineyards in his native DO, the terroir of the Arribes DO quickly caught Alvar’s attention. In Arribes he found a terroir reminiscent of that of Gredos – high altitude, soil infused with granitic sand and mica, as well as a wide range of highly expressive indigenous grapes.
Alvar’s wines have tremendous freshness, partly because of the altitude at which the vines grow, but also due to his winemaking style, heavily influenced by his work with Comando G. He is flipping the script on the typically gaudy flavour profile of the Toro region, instead using organic viticulture to create nuanced and delicious wines.
On his last trip to Toronto, Alvar could be found dancing on tables in and around Queen West. Also a fan of Karaoke thanks to the Comando G influence, his wines are as fresh as his singing style.
Winemaker Beatriz Herranz makes two delicious wines from organically farmed Verdejo vines, on land inherited by her mother.
The vineyards are in the Rueda D.O., however they don't work within the appellation, as their approach to viticulture and winemaking is opposite of Rueda's industrial reputation. Beatriz is also recuperating some 100+ year-old vines on original rootstock in a neighbouring village, so we can expect more excellent wines from Barca del Corneta!
Located in Cantarranas, in the area of Valladolid called la Seca, it is a perfect location due to its land of siliceous sand and pebbles, with a layer of clay and subsoil, as well as limestone in its deepest layers.
With a particular interest in the Verdejo grape (which in Beatriz's hands is rather like Sauvignon Blanc on steroids), Barco del Corneta works organically and treats a proportion of the grapes to fermentation in French oak.
Beatriz demonstrates in her wines just how impressive Verdejo can be, while still remaining versatile enough to enjoy as an aperitif or with light summery food.
Brothers Miguel and Jose make wine as Bodegas Vinificate in the town of San Fernando near the southern tip of Spain's Cadiz region. They worked for years with different winemaking cooperatives in the area, and decided to release their first vintage, Mahara, together in 2011.
The brothers are passionate about their land and work to create wines that translate the true spirit of their region's grape varieties and terroir. Cadiz benefits from the mix of winds that pass over the land. Levante is a warm dry wind from the Sahara desert which blends with the fresher Atlantic wind, the Poniente.
The soil is manly made up of Albariza - a Andalusian term for the white, chalky-looking soil. The land is well adapted for the Palomino, Tintilla de Rota and Tempranillo grape varieties.
Jose and Miguel use biodynamic winemaking methods, with no sulphites added and minimal intervention in the winery.
The Alba family owns about 2.5 hectares but also sources from about 10 hectares spread throughout the region. Their winery and land is close to the Atlantic Ocean, near the mouth of the Umia River in the heart of Galicia's Rías Baixas.
Xurxo Alda, the bodegas' winemaker, wishes they owned more, but like their land, neighboring vineyards have been passed along from generation to generation. Working the land is a way of life. It's what people do with their free time. It's a lifestyle that money can't buy.
Xurxo farms and makes sure his farmers farm as naturally as possible, as much as the region permits. Being by the sea, the threat of fungal diseases like mildew and oidium is always present. In the cellar, spontaneous fermentation with native yeast is a common denominator between all of the wines. Whether he works the lees or uses oak is on a wine by wine basis, vintage by vintage.
Mengoba founder Gregory Pérez is committed to practicing holistic winemaking and protecting the biodiversity of his land. He began his career in France, working at Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Cos d’Estournel before moving to Spain at the encouragement of his friends. It’s in Spain’s Bierzo D.O. where Gregory worked for several years before establishing Mengoba in 2007.
Mengoba vines are grown near the town of Espanillo, at the head of the river Cúa on steeply sloped vineyards situated 650 to 800 metres above sea level. The soils are infused with clay and decomposed slate and are regularly ploughed up and aerated to enhance the richness of the earth.
Gregory makes wines based on eight guiding principles: knowledge of the soil, protection of the land’s biodiversity, use of indigenous varietals, no aggressive treatments, no herbicides, low yields, hand-selection of grapes in the vineyard and traditional winemaking methods. His goal is and always has been to make authentic, great wine with minimal impact on nature, and his results are dazzling.
In southeastern Spain in the country's Manchuela region, the Bobal grape variety grows in sandy limestone soils. Known for its thick skin and rustic characteristics, Bobal is a lesser-known variety gaining international fame thanks to passionate winemakers like Juan Antonio Ponce.
Juan founded Bodegas y Viñedos Ponce at the tender age of 23, after working for five years as the right-hand man of Telmo Rodriguez of Cia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez. Juan's father owned some land in Manchuela and decided to partner with his son to help him start this exciting and unique winery.
Juan hand-harvests his grapes and ferments them with indigenous yeasts. The bunches of grapes are then chilled to 8°C and fermented whole-bunch, with the stems, in a type of fermentation known as “remango,” which was once popular in Rioja.
Juan's philosophy is to create wines that convey Manchuela's terroir and pay homage to the region's iconic Bobal grape. Translating Bobal's bold, rustic characteristics into beautiful wines is not simple or easy, but Juan has mastered his craft and delivers incredible product.
Bourgoin Cognac is a unique cognac product made with a true artisan winemaker's philosophy. The family estate is located in the beautiful medieval village of Tarsac in France's Saint Saturnin municipality in the Charente region.
The Bourgoin product is the result of a unique synthesis of four worlds: human, mineral, animal and vegetable. The team of talented men and women work tirelessly every day of the year - in sometimes unfavourable weather conditions - to bring the essence of the terroir to bottle.
The cognacs are non-filtered and have no added sugar, caramel or oak chips. The philosophy behind this is to deliver a true cognac taste with an artisanal, organic and small-batch approach.
We can thank Muguette, Maëlys, Nathalie, Mélanie, Alain, Frédéric, Jean-Paul, Stéphane, Jean-Christophe, François and Romain for their unwavering passion for the land. The Bourgoin family works hard to make sincere and honest cognacs that reflect key elements of the terroir.
In 1979, Carlos Esteva began reworking his grandfather's 17th century estate in the stony, rugged landscape of the Garraf Massif located along Spain's Mediterranean coast just south of Barcelona.
The land is rocky and inhospitable, yet is home to a wide range of unique microclimates Carlos has leveraged in order to plant over 28 grape varieties. With soils infused with decomposed dolomitic limestone with elements of ancient stones and fossils, the Can Rafols estate gets plenty of warmth and sunshine as well as afternoon winds that temper the heat and humidity of summer.
Grapes are harvested by hand and brought to a state-of-the-art processing facility where they are fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in a mixture of stainless steel, French oak and chestnut.
What makes Can Rafols dels Caus so unique is that the wines are only released to market when Carlos feels they are perfectly ready to drink - which often means additional aging after bottling.
It's an unconventional approach but trust us, these wines are definitely worth the wait.
In the sun-drenched DO of Jumilla, the land gets 300 days of sunshine and little-to-no rain. It’s an unlikely place for fantastic wines to come from, but the vintages produced by Casa Castillo continue to defy the odds.
José María Vicente is a third-generation owner and operator of the Casa Castillo winery. When his grandfather purchased the estate in 1941, there was an existing winery, cellar and a few scattered vineyards on the land, originally built by French settlers dating back to 1870.
José and his father began to replant the vineyards in 1985 and expanded them with the goal of making wine on the property. In 1991 they bottled their first commercial vintage. They chose the indigenous Monastrell grape t o be their primary variety, as it had adapted to thrive in the hot, dry conditions of Jumilla.
Celler Comunica is the work of the mercurial viticulturists Pep Aguilar and Patri Morillo.
Having worked as consultants in nearly every wine region on the Mediterranean coast, they’ve settled in an old farmhouse estate, known as Mas d’en Cosme, in the town of Falset on the border of Priorat and Montsant.
The estate comprises seven hectares of old Garnacha and Carignan vines, and a little chunk of Syrah, all planted on a soil of decomposed granitic sands shot with myriad types of slate.
Celler Comunica wines are almost the opposite of what’s become typical across the border in Priorat. Pep and Patri use no oak at all; they prize freshness and bright clean fruit over dry extract and high alcohol. The wines are immensely sluggable and thirst quenching, and provide a fascinating insight a terroir that’s too often hidden behind alcohol and oak.
In 1996, oenologist Ramon Parera and agronomist Jordi Anan discovered an abandoned estate, located 250 metres above sea level in the Penedés region of Catalonia. Affected by the Spanish Civil war, the Can Comas estate was made up of 60 hectares of unkempt Mediterranean forest and pasture surrounding a run-down medieval farmhouse.
They discovered a gem – an ancient cellar that had survived the dregs of war. The two painstakingly restored the cellar and the building, carefully planting new vineyards and pioneering a winemaking process Ramon and Jordi call “Conception Wine.”
The phoenix-like rejuvenation of Can Comas is reflected in the wines produced by Celler Pardas.
The vineyards are not irrigated or ploughed, minimizing erosion of the land and allowing for greater expression of the vintage. Fermentation is done with indigenous yeasts and the wines are not clarified. With clay-lime soils on petrocalcic rocks, Celler Pardas wines reflect the terroir’s salty, mineral-infused characteristics.
Ramon has fought to bring back grape varietals had had fallen out of favour with the Appalachians, such as Sumoll, Xarel.lo and Malvasia Sitges. As anyone who has tasted Celler Pardas wine knows, his efforts have most certainly paid off.
A man as eclectic as his wines, Ramon’s other passion is vinyl, with over 3000 records in his collection. Next time any fans from Canada visit Barcelona, a stop for some music and wine at Pardas is essential.
Comando G founders Daniel Landi and Fernando Garcia met studying oenology in Madrid. Bonding over their mutual love of wine, the two found themselves working in similar areas of Spain’s Sierra De Gredos mountain range; Danny at his family vineyard, Bodegas Jimenez-Landi and Fernando at Bodega Marañones.
They were drawn to the windswept and almost abandoned Sierra de Gredos terroir – high altitudes, freely draining soils, as well as a mild and relatively humid climate. Though not an easy terroir for winemaking, Daniel and Fernando wanted to explore to the mountainous terrain, determined to refine the area’s traditionally “workhorse” Garnacha grape into their own unique product.
They gained access to Gredos’ older vineyards by spending time consulting with and gaining the trust of older winemakers in the area, usually by drinking beer with them in local bars. Some of these winemakers were in their 80’s or 90’s, hoping to continue their legacy but without anyone to pass their vines on to.
Dani and Fernando love Toronto. During one fateful visit, they enjoyed beers at Burdock Brewery, wine at Pearl Morissette and belted out Karaoke at the Gladstone Hotel. Dani is an avid rock and roller, with fans including wine critics Luis Gutiérrez of Robert Parker.
Dani Landi is a native of this region dominted by the Sierra de Gredos.
Growing up in Mentrida in a family of vineyard owners and farmers, he knew he wanted to do more than grow bulk grapes and sell them to the local cooperative. Instead he envisioned making wines from his family’s vineyards.
For many years he was the winemaker at Bodegas Jimenez-Landi, a company he formed with his cousin. But in he left in 2012 to create his own eponymous label. In doing so he kept part of his family’s inheritance, as well as a few sites that he had purchased or leased himself. All of these sites are small isolated vineyards of Garnacha and Albillo perched high up in the Sierra de Gredos.
While they bear various D.O. designations, they are all sites with sandy weathered soils, high in elevation and meticulously and biodynamically farmed.
Along with the pioneers of the Priorat, as well as his partnership with Fernando Garcia in the Comando G project, Dani is redefining what was previously viewed as a workhorse variety, Garnacha, into something that can rival the elegance and finesse of Pinot in Burgundy or Syrah in Hermitage.
Wine Yourself! This is the literal translation of “Envínate,” a cheeky title four friends from four different regions of Spain chose for their winemaking collaborative.
Hailing from the Canary Islands, Galicia, Extremadura and Almansa, winemakers Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez met while studying oenology at The Miguel Hernández University of Elche. In 2005, after graduating, they formed a wine consultancy and later Envínate, with the goal of expressing the distinctive terroirs of Spain and its Atlantic coastline.
Each member of the Envínate collective brings his or her unique strengths to the group, coming together to create a product that transparently and beautifully reflects each oceanic terroir.
What makes Envínate special is its completely natural winemaking process, identical and consistent in each of Envínate’s four winemaking facilities. The team uses absolutely no chemicals in their process – all parcels are hand-picked, grapes are foot-trodden and wines are fermented exclusively with wild yeasts. Sulphur is only added to the wine prior to bottling, if necessary.
With a focus on the Atlantic regions of Galicia’s Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands, Envinate is responsible for making some of Spain’s most compelling and elegant vintages.
The Envínate gang are also some of the best break dancers in Iberia. Alfonso loves dancing and hopes to moonwalk on top of the CN Tower one day.
Fedellos loosely translates as "Brats", and Couto refers to the 12th century manor in Ribeira Sacra at the heart of the vineyards.
It's a young project, started in 2013 by Luis Taboada (whose family has owned the Couto manor for generations), and winemakers Curro Barreño and Jesús Olivares.
They lease 4 hectares of vineyards which are farmed organically and worked by hand - you couldn't do otherwise on these steep terraces! The vines are planted on terraces along the steep slopes of the rivers Sil and Bibei, with a myriad of grape varieties, altitudes, and expositions.
The wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts and whole bunches, at low temperatures to favour a gentle extraction of colour and phenolics. All the wines share an Atlantic freshness and a slatey minerality that make these wines unmistakably Galician.
Tasting one of Goyo García’s wines is like taking a delightful trip back in a winemaking time machine. Goyo is a descendant of one of the most well-respected winemaking families in the Ribera de Duero region, and the talented genes have definitely been passed on.
With vines that are a minimum of 80 years old, Goyo farms three small plots of his own in the Ribera de Duero, each at different altitudes and on different types of soil. Each vineyard is interplanted with both red and white grapes, which he later co-ferments using natural methods, as winemakers did in the older days of Ribera de Duero winemaking.
All of his wines are de-stemmed, fermented exclusively with wild yeast, and nothing is added during elevagé (including SO2). The wines are raised in old French barrels at an underground, century-old cueva located in Gumiel del Mercado.
This method has become somewhat of a trend for more contemporary winemakers. For Goyo, it has been his tried and true way of doing things since he began making wine back in the 80’s. He uses these traditional winemaking methods in order to express a flavour profile that reflects the overall vineyard rather than the individual grape varietal.
The D’Anguera family has been on the same property with the same vineyard since 1820. Needless to say, they are experts of their craft. With seven generations of winemaking in the family, the father of current owners Joan and Josep was a maverick of winemaking and the first to plant the Syrah grape in the area.
Following their father’s untimely death in the late 90’s, Joan and Josep made a significant shift with the help of their mother Merce. Moving away from the Monsant style commercialized with heavy extraction and alcohol they were inspired to make more delicate, feminine, floral wines that still have tremendous weight and power. They looked at their terroir and saw that they had more similarities to the Côtes du Rhône area in France.
After a visit to Château Rayas and the support of Cuvée 3000 owner Joan Valencia (one of the most influential wine distributors in Spain) they set out in earnest.
Joan and Josep began pulling the Syrah vines out and grafting Grenache, transforming and personalizing their winemaking style and methods. Using biodynamic farming practices, crushing by foot and only partially de-stemming vines, Joan D’Anguerra wines were quickly certified by the Demeter Biodynamic® Processing Standard.
Cosecha founders had a chance to crush some of the grapes along with Joan and Josep, ensuring a little bit of Cosecha in each and every bottle. The wines are a fresh, contemporary iteration of Priorat wine and a new spin on the Montsant DO’s flavour profile.
Long Wines is a Madrid-based Spanish wine producing and exporting company made up of a team of passionate winemakers and marketers dedicated to creating, designing and sharing the very best Spanish wines at affordable prices.
Long Wines are made in Spain's most well-established winemaking regions such as Rioja, Priorat, Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Toro.
Long Wines founder William Long began his love affair with Spain after winning a WSET scholarship to tour the country at the beginning of his career. After working for UK-based Spanish wine importers, he joined Spain's United Wineries as International Director.
In 2006, after completing an Advanced Management degree at Wharton, William created his own Long Wines, applying his knowledge of New World winemaking and international marketing to Spanish wines.
Jesus Olivares and Curro Bareño grew up just outside of Spain's iconic Ribeira Sacra winemaking region, where the scenery is breathtaking and the wines are jaw dropping.
The two studied oenology together, later working with Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia of Comando G in the Sierra de Gredos region. There, they learned that the most rewarding things in life are neither easy not simple to achieve. Feeling inspired and motivated by their time with the Comando G boys, Jesus and Curro returned to Galicia and founded Fedellos do Couto.
Despite founding a successful winery together in Galicia, their homeland was calling to them. And so, Jesus and Curro began retracing their steps along the river Bibei, which forms the Eastern edge of the Ribeira Sacra back to their homeland.
There they found vineyards scattered in places where other crops would not survive. Vineyards that had not been tended to for years, with mixed varieties scattered side by side. Most winemakers would not consider these vines suitable for fine wine, but Jesus and Curro were able to see the diamonds in the rough.
Thus came the birth of the Macizo Oursensan vineyard, which spans along 6 hectares of vines scattered among the villages that form the watershed of the Bibei – Viana do Bolo, Fornelos de Filloás, Santa Marina de Froixais, Grixoa, Buxán and Punxeiro.
Macizo Oursensan vineyards share some commonalities - high elevation plots, indigenous varieties and sandy, granitic soils. The vines are worked sustainably and by hand, as they have been for generations.
Meritxell Palleja has winemaking in her genes. She followed in the footsteps of her winemaker father Lluis Palleja, who studied oenology in the coastal Catalonial town of Tarragona just south of Barcelona.
She gained experience working in the cellars of Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy and Pine Ridge Winery in California's Napa Valley. She then spent 18 years working with Alvaro Palacios in Spain's Priorat region, where she continues to make wine today under her namesake winery after launching the label in 2000.
In Priorat, some of the world's best Garnacha grapes are grown and the Carignan quality is incomparable. Meritxell produces her wine using a biodynamic approach - resulting in complex, nuanced wines with beautiful mineral notes and wonderful flavour.
Coming from the closest thing to a winemaking royal family in the area of Rioja, Rafael Palacios took a major step out of his comfort zone creating his namesake vintage. Instead of trying to compete with his brother Alvaro on the family land, he left the Palacios terroir in La Rioja and ventured out to a different, much more arduous region.
Rafael began recovering old vineyards in the Valdeorras DO in Galicia, near the border with Portugal, working with the nearly extinct Godello grape varietal.
At extremely high altitudes, many of the vines Rafael worked with were over 100 years old. Using a hands-off approach, Rafael leveraged organic farming and hand harvesting methods to create some seriously striking wines. With his expertise and talent, he has been able to give Godello a renaissance of sorts in restaurants around the world.
He set his own vision and found his individual identity as a winemaker, creating some of the finest white wines in Spain and the globe. His vintages reflect the mineral-rich terroir, as well as the mountainous region at which the grapes are grown.
Rafa is one of the true statesmen of wine in Spain and one of the smoothest. On our first bodega visit after lunch, he very elegantly talked his way out of a speeding ticket with the local coppers. Nice work Rafa!
Brothers Ernest and Ricard named their winery Rimarts as an homage to their late father Ricard Martínez de Simón, a pioneer of handcrafted Cava wine from 1987.
Working in the town of San Sadurni, Ernest and Ricard have maintained the traditional winemaking methods of their father to produce some of the most exciting Cavas of the DO. To make their signature product, they plant Macaque, Chardonnay, Parellada and Xarel.lo.
Their philosophy values quality over quantity, with under 80,000 bottles produced each year, all aged for a minimum of 15 months. Ernest and Ricard use highly artisanal and organic winemaking methods, disgorging each bottle by hand with the help of their mother. The three of them work on the conveyor belt together, producing each bottle with love and care. You have to see hand disgorgement to believe how laborious and difficult it really is. You need a keen eye, and a thick thumb!
While they maintain tradition in their winemaking, Ernest and Ricard have managed to make Rimarts an exciting and contemporary brand, using eye-catching label designs innovative practices. Visitors are also welcome to tour the Rimarts winery, making for an exciting travel destination.
Fourth-generation winemaker Josep Serra grew up in Ribera del Ebre between the DO’s of Montsant and Terra Alta in the South of Spain. He bought two beautiful vineyards in the 90’s which had Garnacha Fina, Garnacha Negre and Cariñena vines planted in 1940, launching his own personal winemaking project, Serra Barcelo in 2009. Josep works with Garnacha Tinto in Montsant, while he also produces Garnacha Blanca and Tinto wines in the neighbouring DO Terra Alta.
Josep is known for his soft-touch approach to making wines, working with the utmost respect for nature and the environment he grows his grapes in. There is a thorough selection process at picking and a second manual selection in the bodega, after which the grapes are gently de-stemmed by hand.
On the stunning Mediterranean coast of Spain just south of Terragona is where you will find the Vinyes del Terrer estate. Made up of nine plots just 20 metres above sea level, what makes this winery so unique is the lumaquela sediment infused into the terroir.
Lumaquela is a limestone-based sediment formed over millions of years made of fossilized seashells and calcareous cement. Lumaquela provides rich nutrients to the soil and conveys a deep minerality to Vinyes del Terrer wines.
The mild Mediterranean climate and marine terroir combine to make gorgeous wines. Vinyes del Terrer vintages elegantly reflect the mineral character of the land, and provide an intensely fruity bouquet due to the careful ripening of their grapes.
In the past few years, the star attraction of international wine tasting events has been Armenia’s iconic Zorah Wines. With high marks from wine publications and several mentions on “top wine” lists, Zorah Wines continues to surprise and delight wine lovers around the world.
Members of Armenia’s vast and far-reaching diasporic population, Zorik and Yeraz Gharibian founded Zorah Wines in 1999. As Italian citizens, the couple was unfamiliar with their ancestral homeland before starting Zorah in 1999 (the first vintage was 2010.) They were also newcomers to the wine industry, as Zorik hails from the fashion business in Italy.
However, both Zorik and Yeraz knew of Armenia’s winemaking history stretching back 6,000 years. Along with Georgia, Armenia lays claim to being the birthplace of wine. While the Armenian wine industry was not able to flourish during the Soviet era, with this project, Zorah Wines is breathing new life into the country’s winemaking heritage.
Zorik is focused on producing top quality wines with integrity, wines that reflect the unique qualities and attributes of Armenia’s best grapes and the heritage of the country.
Zorah Wines is located in the Armenian highlands (Rind) and in the shadow of Mount Ararat (over the Turkish border.) They currently produce three wines: one white and two reds.