Viña Zorzal Malayeto Garnacha 2018
Brothers Xabi, Iñaki and Mikel Sanz created Viña Zorzal in 2007, taking advantage of their long history and tradition as a winemaking family in Correla, Navarra. Their family winery, Bodegas Correlana, had been run by their grandfather and father to great success in the region, and they became a reference point in the industry. But while the older generation had been more preoccupied with having a viable and commercial trade, the current one decided to take a holistic approach to agriculture, and make artisanal wines, focusing on single-parcels and single-vineyards, and on the terroir of Fitero, this subzone of the D.O. Navarra.
Their landscape differs from the much flatter areas of Navarra where Garnacha and Tempranillo are cropped in high volumes. Their vines grow on rocky and stony soils with variegated clays (heterogeneous), and limestone and composite soils. The fact that the clay-based soils are non-homogeneous makes them much more permeable and resistant to erosion than the soils of the Ebro Basin. They own 40 hectares, 25 of which planted with the traditional Garnacha of the land. The wild bush vines are old, many centenarian, and are farmed organically. The remaining land is planted with Graciano (which quickly made their fame), Tempranillo, and some Garnacha Blanca and Chardonnay.
The wines are made in a remodeled part of the family’s old winery, and the work in the cellar follows the work on the land, which they summarize here: “We practice low intervention, environmentally-friendly viticulture; we do not till the vineyards, and all processes are carried out manually; we use selected native plants for ground cover fertilizing with compost to improve the vine’s resistance to diseases. This philosophy is carried through to the winery, where our wines ferment spontaneously. We avoid racking, and don’t filter nor clarify. No additives are used, only a sufficient, moderate amount of sulphur.” Serve with cured meats and cheeses, stews, roasted vegetables, game and meat dishes.
Wine AdvocateThe really impressive and mineral 2018 Malayeto was produced with Garnacha from a single vineyard that produces wine of unusual elegance and minerality. This was the first plot they bottled separately, and this 2018 is the sixth vintage they have produced. It's a 2.9-hectare plot planted 40 years ago, on the same slope as Corral de los Altos but at a higher altitude and therefore with different soils, surprisingly deep but with lots of calcium carbonate and fine gravel. This fermented in a combination of stainless steel and concrete with indigenous yeasts and matured in a 4,000-liter oak foudre and nine used 500-liter oak barrels for nine months. This wine clearly transcends its price. It's serious but started quite shy and needed time to open up (it's extremely young and just bottled), but there is great purity and detail, and it's elegant and balanced, extremely harmonious. The palate is incredibly elegant, seamless, balanced, with very fine tannins, great integration of the oak and very good freshness, with citrus-like freshness (think blood orange skin). Most of the time, this is my go-to wine in Zorzal's portfolio, a wine of great finesse in its finest vintage to date. 11,300 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2020.