Alfredo Arribas / Vins Nus
Alfredo Arribas has already had one successful career as an architect with experimental buildings dotting the globe. But at the end of the 1990’s, his work led him to establish deeper roots in the city of his birth, Barcelona. The Priorat region is 80 miles to the southwest of Barcelona and Arribas was naturally drawn to it as a wine lover. He purchased an estate, Clos del Portal, and began producing cult-worthy estate wines under the name Portal Del Priorat. The wines are inspired and the labels are playful. However, Arribas was looking for fruit to lighten and boost the acidity and lift the profile of his “Tros de Clos” wine, so he explored vineyards reaching further out of Priorat and into cooler, northwestern Montsant.
The vineyards Arribas found in Montsant inspired him to extend his vineyard holdings and produce two additional family of wines under the banner of Vins Nus (Eng. “naked wines”). The inStabiles series of wines are, according to Arribas, free wines: individual releases ordered in a series by number and each receives its own subtitle. The wine itself is an opportunity for Arribas to free himself to experiment only within the confines of vintage and the origin of the fruit that include Morera, Torroja, and higher vineyards in Lloar. He sees each inStabile release as an exercise in assemblage, selecting from an array of unique methods and vessels available in his cellar. The unifying principle is navigating the wine trail itself by selecting wines that, when combined, evoke subtlety and weightlessness through craftwork.
In the Laab cellar, fermentations are spontaneous and preserve whole clusters employing either carbonic macerations or short traditional macerations so as not to over-extract tannins. Three milligrams of sulfur are added before bottling to stabilize the wines and ensure quality after transport. Almost no oak is used in fermentation or élevage, instead a small amount of the wine stays in small stainless while the majority of wine is fermented and aged in cement eggs or clay amphorae of varied sizes and shapes.