Goyo Garcia Viadero The Wild Soul Of Ribera del Duero

Goyo Garcia Viadero

The Wild Soul Of Ribera del Duero

Goyo Garcia Viadero and wife Diana Semova Georgieva are making some of Spain's most revered natural wines by expressing the extreme climate of Ribera del Duero with  finesse instead of power. Illustration by Jonathan Kemp

Goyo Garcia Viadero is of the earliest generation of natural winemakers. As natural wine continues to grow in popularity it makes me respect some of the pioneers of the movement even more. They had few peers, a lot of resistance to their methods, and little critical support. These were people so captivated by their first brushes with raw, unadulterated wines that they changed the course of their careers and lives to pursue this new direction. Goyo Garcia Viadero, unlike natural winemakers in fringe appellations, embarked on his adventure in a region known around the world for big, powerful (and often very expensive), red wines — for instance, Vega Sicilia. This makes his journey and wines all the more intriguing.

Goyo was apparently enthralled by the wines of Jura legend Pierre Overnoy, so he began making natural wines in his home of Ribera del Duero in 2003. To this day, he uses zero sulfur and makes wines that feature individual vineyard parcels, some interplanted with white grapes, a very old local practice. Along with his wife Diana Semova Georgieva, they are showcasing the lush depth of Ribera del Duero but with an entrancing, delicious freshness. If you already know about Goyo Garcia, then you know how stupidly satisfying these wines are.

While his reds were initially the main attraction, the skin-contact whites are now becoming the most difficult to access. His orange Malvasia is now tightly allocated. We can only offer one bottle per person, first come-first serve, and I highly recommend grabbing one if possible. They are some of the most compelling orange wines around. The Blanco, made from Malvasia and Albillo, is not far behind and shares many of the same high points as the Malvasia, so don't hesitate to pick one of those up if the Malvasia is sold out.

Spanish wine has been seeing an exciting new wave of winemakers with names like Partida Creus and Envinate at the forefront of not just Spanish wine but natural wine: full stop. While they are showcasing regions that were long under-appreciated, Goyo Garcia is meanwhile allowing us to see the well-established Ribera del Duero region in a whole new light. The climactic extremes of Ribera del Duero — snow in the winter, and temperatures over 100 degrees for much of the summer — can make some deeply impressive wines, as the ripening season is markedly longer than in Bordeaux, for instance. Robert Parker was a big fan of the big reds Ribera del Duero could offer. So when many people encounter Ribera del Duero, it's the proverbial "gobs of fruit" and new oak approach.

Yet the Goyo Garcia approach sacrifices none of the sumptuous pleasure of Ribera del Duero. By getting out of the way and not doubling-down on power, the fruit from their gnarly, bush-trained vines speak more clearly. The wines are not shy. In fact, because they are so plush and giving, they can be an easier point of entry into natural wine. Despite zero added sulfur, they aren't too funky and barnyard-y, either. The wines manage a brilliant balance between edgy rawness and heady ripeness. Some wines hit you more in the intellectual center of the brain, some more in the heart, some more in the gut. Goyo and Diana's wines are for the soul — and they are wines that can be shared by everyone.


Jonathan Kemp


Image of Goyo Garcia Georgieva
Goyo Garcia Georgieva "Clarete" Ribera del Duero 2020


50 year-old bush-trained Tempranillo vines, de-stemmed and foot-trod in traditional wooden troughs, 5-6 days of maceration. 10 months in old French oak, no sulfur added. "Clarete" is a term for a lighter field-blend. (Keep in mind this is the home of some big reds, so it's not that light). Super-fresh and lively, with fruit punch, apple juice, and cranberry cocktail notes, along with a nutmeg raisin chutney quality that gives it savory complexity. Dangerously easy to drink, it has a raw sizzle of rustic attitude and a big, welcoming heart.

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Goyo Garcia "Finca Los Quemados" Ribera del Duero 2018


From the same 50 year-old bush vines as the "Clarete," this wine instead sees the more typical maceration of 3 months in steel tank, followed by one year in used French oak. Really juicy but lifted and slightly gamey. A crazy mix of elements, with a snappy tension, grippy tannin, and lots of vanilla and blackberry. Sumptuous, a little wild, and very delicious.

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Image of Goyo Garcia Georgieva Ribera del Duero Blanco 2020
Goyo Garcia Georgieva Ribera del Duero Blanco 2020


A blend of 80% Albillo and 20% Malvasia. The Malvasia vines are 100 years-old and at 900m of elevation. 25 days on the skins with a long, slow fermentation that is Goyo Garcia's signature. There is an electric energy to this, which is a great complement to the fine layer of detailed tannins. Earthy and rich, with apricot, cinnamon, and vibrant acidity.

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Image of Goyo Garcia Georgieva Malvasia 2020 [1 btl per customer]
Goyo Garcia Georgieva Malvasia 2020 [1 btl per customer]


This is the same 100 year-old Malvasia vines planted at 900m found in the Blanco, but here the Malvasia is the whole focus. Same method as the Blanco, 25 days on the skins, destemmed. This is more floral and lifted, with less zap and less tannin than the Blanco, but more ethereal balance. What it loses in structure and edge it makes up for with a bit more depth and beauty. Both the Malvasia and the Blanco are some of the most heady, engaging skin-contact wines that I've come across recently. Highly recommended.

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