2011VolvoretaNoSulphur2011 Vino Volvoreta, Probus, No Sulphur, Vin Natural, Toro DO, Spain.
Maria Alfonso Hernandez, one of Spain’s youngest female winemakers, is another rising star in the organic/natural wine scene and her wines from Toro are beautiful and intriguing, made from old vine Tinta de Toro, which is Tempranillo. She makes three wines for export, all elegant and beautifully crafted, but it is the Amphora (terracotta/clay vats) raised, no sulphur Vin Natural that stands out for it’s sheer transparency, stunning intensity and seductive qualities, it is delicate and one of the prettiest Tempranillo wines I’ve ever had, with Burgundy like finesse and has lots of unique personality. Maria, like Marcel Lapierre before her thinks there is more purity in the non sulphur version and I will agree it is different and exotic, and this cuvee which reminds me of Elisabetta Fordori’s Amphora raised Trentino Dolomiti reds is really a wonderfully textured wine with silky tannins, chalky mineral essence and bright/fresh red fruits with a gorgeous floral bouquet. Maria joins a growing group of stylish natural/organic winemakers the world over to be a new generation of influential vignerons, she joins Alfredo Maestro, Arianna Occhipinti, Fabian Jouves, Foradori, Lapierre, Philippe Pacalet, Julien Labet and even Tierry Allemand who is now doing a non sulphur version of his famous Cornas Syrah. While the term Natural Wine or Vin Natural, makes a few eyes roll and has caused quite a fight between traditional/conservative and new age wine lovers, between Somms and Wine Critics, causing more than a few customers to get confused on the subject of organic wine, there is no doubt there are some marvelous examples available, and these are not hippie/dippy wines that turn brown and taste like horrid/funky dirty socks. In California, Ojai Vineyards in releasing two versions of certain wines with and without sulphur with good results as well. Careful cellaring is required on low and no sulphur wines and they need to be safe guarded against heat, but these new generation of ancient style wines are very interesting and charming, especially this one from Maria Alfonso’s Vino Volvoreta. Alfonso explained at a recent Bon Vivant Imports trade tasing in San Francisco that her label Volvoreta means butterfly in local dialect and she started her wines in 2004, and that she has done no sulphur versions since the beginning and that her wines have remained true and flavorful, retaining integrity and color while having no percentage of sulphur detectable. The 2011 Vino Volvoreta Propus No Sulphur cuvee is as mentioned exotic with intense floral tones, a deep nose of mixed flowers, lilac, violets and rose petals included with loads of plum, cherry and black raspberry fruit along with dusty stones, mineral, red spices, anise, lavender oil, red peach and tangy currant. This is a clean wine, grown on her bio-diverse, 100% organic, high elevation estate with rocky soils in the hills of the Toro region in upper middle Spain, shows only a faint and attractive loamy/truffle note in the background, it’s main core is pure fruit with a lift of savory elements in a medium weight, with a deft lightness and low alcohol, Alfonso’s talent and passion are on full display here, this is glorious and thought provoking wine of sublime charm, drink from 2014 to 2018. Be sure to check out her normal cuvees too, low oak with only a touch of sulphur they are almost equally delicious and are exceptional values in hand crafted wines.
($45 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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