4 MONOS VITICULTORES
“A Gang of Four” Pioneers - The New Spain
The great outdoors inspires all, which is why it comes as no surprise that life’s adventures arise while enjoying it. That is how it has happened when Cuatro Monos, or the “Four Monkeys” met while embarking on adventure in the Gredos Mountains outside Madrid. The four friends, while hiking, realized their shared love for wine. The mountainous location of this introduction proved vital to the identity of the winery that followed suite.
The four friends comprise of husband and wife—Javier and Laura García, David Velsasco, and David Moreno. Each member contributes something unique to the winery, creating a balance in their teamwork. It is evident with each bottle the connection in their collaboration, and the connection tied to the mountains where their idea was first conceived. At the front of each wine label, you’ll see four monkeys sitting side by side on a suspended tree branch; it's easy to sense the playfulness and adventure in their winemaking spirit.
4 Monos are at the forefront of The New Spain, a renaissance of younger winemakers stirring the Spanish wine pot; the punks of the wine world. Many of these unconventional producers, like 4 Monos, are making use of soil types, vinifying vineyards separately, and moving away from the restrictions of the DO—the Denominación de Origen. Many have gone the extent to reawaken ancient varieties, finding them growing in the wild or even replanting. Every region in Spain makes wine, and every region has the capacity to create great wine.
Vinos de Madrid DO—the wine growing area of Madrid—historically went the route of quantity over quality, making one-dimensional wines with Garnacha, Tempranillo and high alcohol. Bringing attention to the wine of Madrid is all the more difficult when the world prefers the wines of Priorat and Ribera, quenching the western world’s thirst for oak and fruit. The truth is no one else is making wine as value-driven and exciting as Spain is. 4 Monos continues to mend these mentalities one glass at a time with responsible farming and creating wine with balance.
With the backstory of Madrid in place, let’s turn our attention to the Sierra de Gredos, or the Gredos mountain range, where 4 Monos was founded. The wines are born of old bush vines growing in granite, sand, and schist soils at high elevation. This is a painter’s paradise of color and perfume where the vines mingle with chestnut, olive, evergreen, and almond trees. The diversity of this microclimate is astounding, where Alpine meets Mediterranean.
With each bottle comes a reference to a geographical area that they’ve encountered in their hiking explorations. A perfect starting point at outrageous value are the regional wines—the GR 10 Tinto and Blanco. GR 10 is a famous walking path linking a route from Lisbon to Valencia; its path crosses through a couple of the 4 Monos vineyards. “GR 10” reiterates the aspect of a regional wine, covering vineyards from more than one area. The other bottles are named for local features, like the site’s local village, a geographical point of interest, or the vineyard name itself. “Aguja del Fraile”, or friar’s needle, is named for the rugged peaks near the vineyards. Everything about the mountains has integrated itself into the product of the wines.
4 Monos are defenders of organic farming—they produce white and red, regional and village, young and ancient vines with consistent expression of the Gredos terroir. White wines are made from Albillo, Viura, and Moscatel. Reds are made from classic grapes of Madrid—Garnacha, Cariñena, and bits of Syrah. Many of the vines are accessed by foot or by horse only, encouraging their low intervention methods.
They remind us of the greats out of France from Burgundy, Beaujolais, and Rhone Valley, but with value to the core. In the cellar, things turn simpler. Whole cluster fermentation (stems, grapes, and all) is standard for the reds with gentle, long macerations on the skins. Neutral French oak is used for both white and reds, but as a finishing touch only. Wines are all bottled with just a whisper of sulfur, with the exception of “SSF,” with no added sulfur. The outcome of the wines are intense aromatics, balance, and freshness with the telltale granitic backbone. When blind tasting Garnacha from the Gredos area, you’ll be convinced you’re drinking Burgundy Pinot Noir. The texture of these will blow you away, with softness, roundness and no harsh bitterness.
The story of 4 Monos brings to light the importance of the natural winemaking movement in Spain. With little effort, you’ll enjoy a product of the collaboration of four friends with a vision. Natural winemaking is here to stay, so all we can do is take in its honesty. We are so happy to share these special bottles with you.
- by Brittany Marsh - the CRU
4 MONOS, "AGUJA DEL FRAILE" CADALSO TINTO 2016: The wine is sourced from four high elevation plots averaging 800 meters in altitude and 70 year old vines. Its blend is mostly Grenache with a small amount of Carignan. The wine undergoes a typical 4 Monos treatment of whole cluster fermentation, then ages in Austrian and French oak for 14-15 months.
4 MONOS, VINOS DE MADRID "CAR" 2016: This is a unique bottling coming from the great cru of “Arroyo del Tortolas” located in the Vinos de Madrid growing area. It features 30 year old Carignan vines. This wine is whole cluster fermented and then aged in 300 liter barrels for 14 months.
4 MONOS, "SSF" 2016: Planted in the village of Cadalso de Los Vidrios in the growing region of Madrid. The grapes are whole cluster fermented cold, giving this alpine style wine aromatics and liveliness. It is then aged in just a single used 300 liter barrel for 12 months.
4 MONOS, "CIEN LANZAS" 2016: The blend is old vine Grenache with small amounts of Carignan and Grenache Blanc. This is a well-made village wine from high elevation vineyards. The wine undergoes a typical 4 Monos treatment of whole cluster fermentation and then ages in neutral oak for one year.
4 MONOS, VINOS DE LA SIERRA DE GREDOS "GR 10" BLANCO 2018: This is a village level wine with the vineyards sourced from both Cadalso de los Vidrios and San Martín de Valdeiglesias. The wine ages in steel and used barrels. Varieties used in the blend are Albillo, Macabeo, Chelva, and Moscatel making for a very fresh mountain styled wine with intense aromatics.
4 MONOS, VINOS DE MADRID "GR 10" TINTO 2018: The grapes are half whole cluster and half destemmed (different from their other wines which are all whole cluster fermented). The wine is then aged in neutral barrels of various sizes for nine months before release.