The Wine: AEs-Te Garnatxa Primeur 2020
Mendall Es-Te Garnatxa Primeur is a red natural wine made from Grenache grapes farmed organically in Catalunya, Spain. Mendall Es-Te is made by pioneering natural winemaker Laureano Serres without any addition - native yeasts, unfiltered, unfined, no sulfites. Medium body fruit-forward wine.
The Producer: Mendall
Everyone seems to have a story about Laureano Serres and the stories tend to converge in a few places: his frenetic energy, his deep loyalty to friends and family, his extreme generosity, and his gargantuan appetite for wine. But Laureano’s affable manners conceal a profound influence on Spanish natural wine, making his revolutionary ideas seem ordinary, even provincial.
In the late 1990s, as winemakers all over Catalonia scrambled to obtain flattering reviews from critics who favored a generic international style, Laureano turned decidedly in the other direction, opening the path for a new generation of Catalan natural winemakers. From the beginning, Laureano was committed to working with organic grapes and wild fermentation, but it was only after 2004, when he “forgot” to use SO2, that the real period of experimentation began. In those early days he made friends with Thierry Puzelat and the late Marcel Lapierre, who introduced him to the world of natural winemakers in France. It didn’t take long for Laureano to learn the ropes.
By the late 2000s, he was experimenting with everything from carbonic maceration to fermentation in amphora, a necessary period of trial and error for what would come next. These days, Laureano has settled into a unique methodology of cellar work that is at once evolutionary and conservationist. On the one hand, certain parcels are vinified in the “traditional” manner as single-vineyard cuvees. Reds are macerated and whites are pressed directly with most elevage taking place in stainless steel.
On the other hand, an effort is made to develop new ideas with fruit grown in collaboration with neighbors, along with bits and pieces of the family vineyards. Here Laureano experiments with fermentation in assorted vessels such as amphorae and barrel, often assembles different cuvees, and tests out new ideas about elevage. One recent innovation, for instance, has been to bottle both white and red garnacha with residual sugar under crown cap, encouraging fermentation to finish in bottle as a natural preservative. (source: Josh Eubank)
The Region: Catalunya