When I first met Nacho back in early 2021 while visiting El Bierzo, I knew he was a perfect fit for Nativo. There we were, in the heart of his vineyard, with him carefully pruning some very old vines. I was full of curiosity, and Nacho, very patiently, shared his knowledge, answering every question I had. At the end of a day of tasting and exploring his different vineyards, it was clear: Nacho has a deep appreciation and understanding of the unique terroir of Bierzo.

Nacho Leon

His winery, aptly named Demencia, represents a touch of the madness one needs to fully immerse oneself in winemaking. And immersed he certainly is, single-handedly taking care of his vines and creating some truly extraordinary wines. Despite Bierzo having a bounty of old vines and ambitious young winemakers, Nacho’s down-to-earth approach and commitment to honesty set him apart.

Nacho is a guardian of the earth, promoting healthy soils and breathing new life into old (sometimes abandoned) vineyards, abandoned when their owners grew too old for the task. His organic practices aren’t about gaining a certification, they’re his means to achieve the high-quality wines he strives for. His hands-on approach extends to the approximately 3.5 hectares of head-pruned old vines he oversees, specializing in Bierzo’s main varieties: Mencía for reds and Godello for whites.

Century old Godello

The soil in Bierzo is a wonder in its own right, characterized by sandy loam and a variety of clays. Combined with the age of the vines, ranging from 60 to 115 years, yields are small but the grapes they produce have an astounding concentration and complexity of flavour.

Head pruned old vineyard

In the cellar, Nacho adheres to a philosophy of minimal intervention. He uses oak sparingly to add depth and complexity, while ensuring the distinctive floral character of the Mencía grape remains front and centre.

Nacho’s barrel room, tasting room and office!

What’s fascinating about Nacho’s wines is the quality you find across the board. From entry-level to single vineyard, each one has unique attributes that distinguish it in the global wine scene. All his wines come from very old vines, and the reds undergo barrel ageing. Yet, despite the amount of work that goes into them, they’re incredibly well-priced.