By Thirst Wine Merchants
Keep your day job, make wine, and work towards self-sustainability: this is the realistic philosophy of Fabio Bartolomei, who moved around vineyards and bodegas for a few years the way newcomers to New York tend to do before finding their habitus. As with our town, if you stick it out, you can find your way.
In 2006, the year we opened our store, Fabio (whose day gig is working in Madrid as a translator) landed on a vineyard in Carabana some kilometers south of Madrid with old-vine Tempranillo and Airen with an abandoned cow shed nearby that he converted into a winery. Fabio and his partner, Juan Narbona, graduated to a "real" winery by 2010 and purchased another vineyard with ancient vines of an obscure native grape called Malvar. They're looking now to move the winery into a concrete building from the 60s that's twenty minutes away, which will naturally buffer the cellar from heat and cold better than other structures. Their terroir is fantastic--hot, arid, without rain from the flowering season to the harvest, with Burgundian limestone soil underlying the Tempranillo and Airen plots, and more red clay for the colorful Malvars (out of which they make two different, pulpy and delicious orange wines).
While anti-natural wine haters are busy trying to call natural winemakers fanatics (usually imbued with Islamophobic references such as Mr. Chapoutier uses here), we see the work of young vignerons like Fabio as following a simple formula: do nothing unnecessary in the vineyard or the cellar and let the wines guide their own evolution. If you have well-managed vineyards without chemical junk all over them, clean equipment, and a good sense of timing, you end up with poetically rich, subtle as hell, boisterously flavorful and idiosyncratically personal wines such as these of Vinos Ambiz.
I'd describe them to you further, but the fact is that we want more for ourselves as much as we want to share them with you too. These are a clarion call for natural wine that will dissolve detractors' "but but!" with a glass in a heartbeat.
Click here to order some.
Emilia, Michael & the Thirst Team
Thirst Wine Merchants