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Meeting Ana was one of those sliding door moments.
I was out for dinner in Barcelona with my great friend Ferran Centelles - who’s one of Spain’s most respected wine critics.
It was during Barcelona Wine Week, so the place was full of wine people. Ferran was constantly (and happily) interrupted by people saying hello.
However there was one person there that he made a beeline for - Ana Carazo. He told me this was one of Ribera del Duero’s most exciting winemakers, and we absolutely needed to meet.
We swapped cards and agreed to meet the next day at the fair. I loved her wines, but fairs are busy so I decided to call into her winery when I was over there a couple of weeks later.
And I’m so glad I did - here is a young, energetic and passionate winemaker, on a solo mission to make great wines from the unique old vineyards of Matanza de Soria.
Her wine is called La Loba - which means The Wolf. This was her grandmother’s nickname, and on the label you’ll see her sitting outside the door of her house in the village.
Ana showed me around several tiny vineyard plots around the village. They were all 100+ years old, on a variety of aspects and soils, and farmed organically.
The abundance of grass and wild plants in her plots was clear to see, compared to neighbouring plots which were torched by chemicals and completely bare.
Ana manages 90 to 100 of these tiny plots separately - and combines them to make her wine. It’s painstaking, nonsensical work… but inspiring, especially when you taste her wine.
The Wolf is coming soon to Ireland - look out!