Azul y Garanza is a triumvirate of María Barrena, Dani Sánchez and Fernando Barrena, the former two concerned with growing and winemaking, the latter, María's brother, taking up the business end. The bodega is located in the northern desert of Bardenas Reales, in Navarre. Clay soils and big temperature differences between day and night make it a good place to grow grapes, especially since the terrain makes the vines work for their water.
The trio condense their varied interests to four, which they say are the most important to them: Love, Music, Wine and Revolution. Their love of the land leads to their organic approach in the vineyards. The music pushes them through the day, whether it’s from their digital collection or the throat of a nightingale. Their wines express their own selves, and the revolution is figurative. "Don’t be scared, we’re not going to take the Bastille," the website offers. It’s more a reference to concrete tanks and biodiversity. They say, "In a world of stainless steel and chemical products, this is a revolution."
I sampled the 2014 Azul y Garanza Viura in Los Angeles at Moruno, the brainchild of Mozza alums, David Rosoff and Chris Feldmeier, presents southern Spanish cuisine in the former Short Order space, and I wish them well there. I feel they may be a little pricey for the Farmers Market crowd, but I hope they succeed for purely a selfish reason. I want to go back and enjoy more meals there. The Esqueixada is a beautiful salt cod salad similar to ceviche, The fried Bhatura bread is crisp and spicy and the delicious chicken and cilantro sandwich also comes as a skewer. So does the lamb.
The Rueda wine is golden-green, smells fresh with a nice savory, vegetal side to the fruit, tastes of citrus and pear and has great acidity to make it a perfect match for a ceviche-type dish. At 12.5% abv, it’s easy to drink and it is 100% Viura, a grape that gets a bad rap for being a little less than interesting. It’s usually teamed with Verdejo, but it stands alone here. The concrete tank fermentation gives a nice, full mouthfeel. It was the only Spanish white on the list at Moruno, and it holds up its end well. $8 by the glass.
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