On Top Terroir we ask a different wine expert who his or her favorite wine producers currently are. In this installment, we hear from Rubén Sanz Ramiro, head sommelier at Veritas in New York City which boasts a 75,000-plus bottle wine cellar.
Producer: Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
Location: Turckheim, Alsace, France
Why? Vineyard manager Olivier Humbrecht works biodynamically, and the attention he pays to his work is extraordinary and it's reflected in the wine. The wines from this domaine always have extra concentration but these have a mineral, acid vibrancy that is remarkable. They are some the best varietal examples of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris. They also challenge themselves by working on vineyards that nobody wanted to work on because the land is very difficult, and the labor is high and very and time consuming — but they are looking for quality and they proved it to themselves by making really fantastic wines. The products are true expressions of the terroir — all the work is done in the vineyard and in the cellar, they let the wines "do" themselves. They are just superb, I don't think anyone in Alsace does what they do as well.
Producer: Domaine Pierre Overnoy
Location: Arbois, Jura, France
Why? I think in the natural wine movement happening with many producers and growers right now — no sulfites, working naturally and organically in the vineyard — he is a true inspiration by virtue of the extraordinary quality of the wines. Working with Chardonnay, Ploussard, and Savagnin grapes, the wines are some of the most expressive in the region of Jura. They possess an incredible ability to age, which is impressive because this area is very difficult when you're not using sulfur. But he has demonstrated to everyone that it is possible to do, making him a person to follow and to really look to and admire.
Producer: Finca Torremilanos
Location: Ribera del Duero, Spain
Why? The Cyclo is the project of one of the most promising figures in the region, Ricardo Peñalba. He has managed to convert his family's estate into an organic winery, and with this wine he has selected the oldest parcels of the estate, all 80-plus years old. He, for me, represents the new generation taking over and going back to a vineyard philosophy that celebrates natural methods of farming. He is preserving the old way of pruning the vineyards, keeping the old vines the way they were planted 80 years ago. He is creating a wine that speaks about, uniquely and exclusively, the energy of the soil and working with what nature has to give.
He also has a unique way of fermenting, using egg-shaped concrete vats that allow for a more natural process because it requires less steering by the hand of man. It's remarkable and something no one else there does. He's very brave, and embraces a new way of thinking in Spain that is needed — being very mindful of the natural elements that are around the vine.