Soraya Angulo took us to church. Pretty sure she thinks we need religion. She is probably correct. And there is that weird, radiant, amazing light that surrounds her. You know those types, right? The church was in Santo Domingo de Silos and we had to drive there to hear the monks chant (amazing)! “Follow me”, she said. It is an hour drive, and while Soraya is an angel, she drives like a demon. We got there in half an hour. She got there in about 15 minutes and I’m pretty sure she was going slow so we could keep up.
Arlanza is just another D.O. in Spain of ancient vines, heirloom cultivars, extreme elevation, and incredibly poor soils, 're-discovered' by a new generation. Priorat, Bierzo, Mentrida, Gredos… if you know those regions - say 'hello' to Arlanza! Arlanza is in Burgos, just north of Ribera del Duero, but at a higher elevation and, with an exception or two, better wines! 2Twenty is the first Importer in America of estate bottle Arlanza a 23 producer D.O. since only 2008. Our favorite three producers are headlined by Alonso Angulo. There is not one other importer in America that would make Arlanza a priority, no one knows it and there isn't much now and not much potential for volume in the future. We are doing so out of love for Arlanza and Soraya's wines. The wines have a delineated mineral character underneath, like great Priorat, they translate the terroir perfectly, they sing with complexity, vibrant fruit, moderate alcohols, a deft use of oak and the visceral edge of power and precision that can only come from old vine, cool climate Tempranillo. It is so rare now to find an entire region of genuine and unique character. The best analogy for the Arlanza D.O. may be to Cornas of 20 years ago. If you are old enough to remember when Cornas was slightly unrefined and a little rough around the edges – but still brilliant and unspoiled. The visceral power and simultaneous balance, complexity and elegance are reminiscent of each other. If Arlanza is the Cornas of Spain, Soraya Angulo is the reincarnation of Noel Verset. The similarities in the wines are striking and of course, Soraya is working with a more noble grape!
2012 is the first vintage. Sanctus is her grandfather's 1000 meter elevation vineyard. Flor de Sanctus is the 'second wine' from a new 100% Tempranillo vineyard. Castrinto is declassified lots from both. The Rose (14 cases for the U.S.) is as dark as the Castrinto, but tastes like Rose. Mind Blown. That’s traditional and the way her grandfather made it, she tells us. Anais is a Solera wine begun the year her daughter Anais was born. The Vermuth remains a mystery, still being perfected in a top-secret laboratory, hidden deep within a hillside where you might find a James Bond villain, surrounded by dozens of expendable security guards. It was either there or in her kitchen at home, I can’t recall which. The wines have soul. Soraya is an angel and I probably need to go to church more often.