The wines of Escoda Sanahuja, Spain
A natural, biodynamic producer from the Conca de Barbera region


Escoda Sanahuja was formed in 1997 by Joan Ramón Escoda and Carmen Sanahuja, in the Conca de Barberà region of Spain. Organic from the start, they switched to biodynamic viticulture in 2003. They also make their wines as naturally as possible, with virtually nothing added – interestingly, their labels display the levels of total sulfur dioxide (SO2), demonstrating that very little has been added save that which is formed naturally during fermentation.  Since 2007 the wines have been made with no added SO2 at all.

Altogether Escoda Sanahuja have just 10 hectares cultivated, but this is not all vineyard. In line with biodynamic philosophy, mixed farming is practiced, with olives, almonds, vegetables and livestock as well as vines. The vineyards are not clean cultivated: vegetation is left between the rows in order to encourage a soil rich in humus and microbes, which helps maintain soil moisture in this dry climate.

These are highly individual wines, with a distinct personality. That’s a really good thing. But how much of this personality comes from the vineyard, and how much from the decision to use very little or no SO2? It’s hard to say. My guess is that the very dry nature of the tannins is in part a result of the interaction of oxygen with the phenolics (tannins and anthocyanins) in the wine, unchecked by the presence of free SO2. Some will find the tannic structure just a little too dry; others will really appreciate the way that this counters the sweet fruit.

Escoda Sanahuja are members of PVN (the Spanish association of natural wine producers)


Escoda Sanahuja La Llopetera 2007 Conca de Barberà
13.5% alcohol. 8 mg/litre total SO2. Varietal Pinot Noir from a vineyard at 600 metres. Beautifully packaged with a nice capsule. Savoury, earthy, spicy nose is quite firm with a hint of pepper. You get different aspects of this each time you smell it, but the savoury spiciness persists. The palate is fresh and savoury with a firm, grippy character and nice lemony acidity. Quite dry, with firm tannins under the cherry and plum fruit. Not as sweet as you’d expect some Spanish reds to be: a distinctly food-friendly style. It’s not oxidized, but the tannins have taken quite an angular grip on the palate. Quite unlike anything else I’ve had from Spain. 92/100  

Escoda Sanahuja Les Paradettes 2006 Conca de Barberà
14% alcohol. 14 mg/litre total SO2. A blend of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Sumoll Tinto. Wonderfully complex, distinctive, spicy, earthy nose with some evolved character. The palate has a grippy, spicy, earthy structure. Quite evolved in one sense, but still with some nice ripe berry and cherry fruit. A distinctive, food-friendly wine for current drinking. 90/100

Escoda Sanahuja Coll del Sabater 2006 Conca de Barberà
14% alcohol. 15 mg/litre total SO2. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Taut, spicy and dense with a nice, earthy, spicy, savoury character. Lovely focused dark cherry and plum fruit with grippy structure. Structurally, this is almost Bordeaux like, and it’s nicely savoury. Nice balance between the fruit and the savoury, slightly earthy character, but it’s perhaps just a little too dry? 91/100

UK agent is Indigo Wines -

See also:

A visit to Rioja

Wines tasted 11/10  
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