Spotlight On Our Producers: Selections De La Viña
Álvaro de la Viña | Owner | Brooklyn, New York
How Did You Get Into Wine?
I come from a background in agriculture. My father started a company that imported citrus fruit, primarily clementine oranges, from Spain to the U.S. I was born in Seville and am very Spanish culturally, so I wanted to work with Spanish products. My wife, Ana, and I noticed a lot of natural wines being made in Spain, especially in the south, that weren’t represented in the U.S. So I ricocheted out of produce to start Selections de la Vina in 2013, with a couple pallets of wine from five Spanish producers. Now, we’ve grown to offer a portfolio of over 300 wines and 50 producers from Spain and Portugal, recently maturing into South America, like Chile, Peru, and Argentina.
Why Are You Bringing Natural Wine To The Forefront?
My father’s slogan was “good agricultural practices,” and that’s the ethos of what we look for in producers today. We represent farmers who are limiting intervention, in many cases farming organically or biodynamically and without chemicals of any kind. All of our wines are fermented with native yeast. They express the regions they come from — in them, we find a good piece of terroir.
Tell Us How You Are Different From Other Spanish Portfolios.
The Spanish identity changed over the past couple decades, and we became known for wines that are over-ripened and over-oaked. Through Selections de la Vina, we want to show the world a different side of Spain — wines that are a product of thoughtful and respectful farming that are elegant and easy to drink. We look for high drinkability without comprising complexity.
Why Do Your Wines Deserve Another Look?
America tends to be Francophile. What Spain is capable of producing in food and wine is just as good or even better. And there’s a value component: Because Spain hasn’t marketed as well in the past, products of a similar quality are half the price.
What Are Your Favorites?
My favorite region is Catalunya. Penedés, to the south, is Cava country. There, you’ll find old farmers who owned vineyards and sold grapes to big Cava producers. But, after feeling exploited, they’ve started making their own wines. Partida Creus is my favorite producer; they’re an Italian couple who started a movement in the area by recovering Catalan varieties that were abandoned. They gave native grapes varieties the value they deserved and have become iconic producers in the world of Spanish natural wine.
We Hear You Also Sell "Tin Fish?"
Tin fish is canned fish! Abel Alvarez is the chef of a small and highly-seasonal restaurant in Asturia on Playa de Vega. In canning, he saw an opportunity to employ his staff year round. The fish is cooked over an open fire and conserved in 100% EVOO, so the smoky flavor is preserved. You’re getting a culinary experience in a can, and there’s nothing like it on the market.