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Barcelona Wine Tasting: Around the World with Cabernet Sauvignon

*This is the write-up for one of our bi-weekly tastings with Maestrazgo Wine Club; tastings organised for people living and working in Barcelona, Spain.

I can’t believe it’s taken me almost 3 years to do a wine tasting based around Cabernet Sauvignon. Not only is it the most widely planted quality black grape in the world, responsible for iconic wines across almost every climate its planted in, but I also drink a reasonable amount of it and always enjoy the different mutations and styles. The key to the commercial success of Cabernet Sauvignon is easy to understand. It not only maintains a strong, signature flavour profile almost regardless of where it’s grown but blends well with other varieties, has a strong affinity for oak, is resistant to rot, has a lovely deep colour, masses of tannins and yet can yield good fruit even at relatively high yields. Whether you’re a consumer or a grower, there’s a lot to love about this. It’s only real requirement is a warmish climate and poor, well drained soils as it’s a vigorous vine and would far prefer to grow shoots and leaves over quality grapes, given the choice.

For all that, it’s not the most historically important variety and only really came into focus in the 18th century, where it started to make its mark on the recently drained left-bank of Bordeaux. Thanks to the work of UC Davis in California, we now know that it descends from a crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, a happy accident of haphazardly planted vineyards in years past. Fast forward to present times and Cabernet Sauvignon is, along with Chardonnay, probably the most recognisable grape variety in the world. New World countries in particular have adopted plantings with enormous enthusiasm, with huge success as both varietal wines and as part of ‘Bordeaux blends’. As most New World countries only require 75-85% of the wine to be made from the stated variety, this opens up a wealth of stylistic and economic choices, all whilst being able to proudly state ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ on the label.

Whilst stylistic differences are becoming smaller between the Old and the New world countries, I’d argue that Cabernet Sauvignon still showcases some of the more obvious ones. The most famous wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon in New World countries tend to come from warmer regions; Napa Valley, Barossa, Maipo etc. Bordeaux remains the heartland of Cabernet Sauvignon production in the Old World, and even the next best areas tend towards moderate climates, resulting in drastically different styles. Not only that but with the comparatively recent adoption of Cabernet Sauvignon in South Africa, Australia, USA, Australia, Chile and so on, it’s being vinified with modern consumers in mind. Softer acids, bigger flavours and riper tannins make for juicier, more accessible wines and the extended ripening of many of these regions means that Cabernet Sauvignon is often vinified 100% varietally. Compare this to the archetypal Bordeaux, where the climate is still (just about) on the cusp of being able to reliably ripen Cabernet Sauvignon most years, leading to a choice of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec as constant companions.

I love tastings like this. It’s an excellent opportunity to not only profile a single grape variety and understand its core strengths and weaknesses, but also to use it as a vehicle to see how climate, geography and wine-making choices can so significantly affect the style of a wine. Given the vast plantings of this grape across the world, narrowing it down was a difficult process. In the end we settled for 6 wines, from France, Italy, Argentina, USA, Australia and Chile (the latter a stand-in for a corked bottle from Spain).

Chateau Senejac 201455% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot from the Haut Medoc in Bordeaux. Malolactic conversion in barrel and aged for 12-14 months in 33% new French oak. 13.5% ABV

Naturally, we have to start with a Bordeaux wine; Cabernet Sauvignon is likely to have originated here, so unsurprisingly this has been the historical stomping ground for the grape. The moderate climates of the Atlantic-influenced region mean that Cabernet Sauvignon can rarely ripen reliably year after year; a nightmare for the vigneron, but ideal for quality. Chateau Senejac is to be found on the Haut-Medoc on the left bank of Bordeaux, where their free-draining gravelly soils are planted with a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Ideally I would loved to have found this wine from 2009 or 2010, but there really is a dearth of affordable, aged Bordeaux in Barcelona! Still, 2014 is a lighter vintage and so the wines should be approachable sooner, at least with a good decant. There’s a lovely freshness to the fruit on this wine, with blackcurrant and raspberries settling in with notes of graphite, muted green bell pepper, toast and a touch of tobacco. Fresh and naturally still a little grippy on the palate, but drinking surprisingly well! 89pts

Tenuta Guado al Tasso ‘Il Bruciato’ 2015Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah in unspecified quantities from Bolgheri, Tuscany. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak barrels for 7 months prior to bottling. 13.5% ABV.

To round off our now diminished Old World selection, we head towards Tuscany. Cabernet Sauvignon based wines rose to fame in Tuscany with the enormous success of Sassicaia, the first ‘Super-Tuscan’ and producers around the country were quick to follow, including Antinori, the owner-operators of Tenuta Guado al Tasso. Bolgheri, and the Maremma coast in general, is at a lower elevation to the inland areas of Tuscany, and so is more likely to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals reliably. However, the choice of geography, soil type and aspect make for some very variable wines within the region.

Choice of vineyard is hard to specify here, as Antinori have access to grapes from over 1000 hectares of owned land! Still, the result is quite convincing. Deeply coloured and restrained on the nose, with some classic blackcurrant, black cherry and earthy aromas. There’s oak influence here but it’s not strong, more helping to maintain the dusty, old-fashioned style of the wine. Fresh and firm on the palate, with a surprising amount of flavour intensity and a long, slightly drying finish. This is a pretty convincing Bordeaux imitation! 89Pts.

Veramonte ‘Primus’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo Valley, Chile. Fermented in stainless steel and aged for 12 months in 20% new French oak. 14% ABV.

So, onto our fill-in bottle, hailing from the Maipo Valley in Chile. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted variety in Chile by some distance and is a big part of the countries commercial success. The warm, Mediterranean climate of the Central Valley is ideal for ripening Cabernet Sauvignon and with little disease pressure to speak of, yields can be high and of good quality. Veramonte are a large producer who specialise in a broad variety of styles, with some excellent Pinot Noir in Casablanca, yet their forte remains their Bordeaux blends. The warmer, drier region of Maipo south of Santiago is particularly celebrated for their full, luscious Cabernet Sauvignon and it’s here that Veramonte produce their 100% Cabernet Sauvignon bottling.

Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is often quite full-throttle stuff, and this wine is very much so! Practically leaping out of the glass, this is the sort of wine you’d love to get in a blind tasting. Strong notes of cassis, ripe black berries, menthol, dark chocolate and sweet oak influences; not particularly subtle but quite attractive (to me, at least!). This powerful nature extends to the palate with lots of ripe tannins integrating well with the pronounced fruit flavours, supported by refreshing acidity. The oak sticks out a little here and it’s very much a ‘crowd pleasing’ sort of style, but it’s a clear and obvious example of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon and should leave no-one indifferent. 88Pts.

Andeluna Pasionado ‘Cuatro Cepas’ 201341% Malbec, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot from Gualtallary Valley, Mendoza. The wine is aged for 18 months in new French (85%) and American (15%) oak before bottling. 15% ABV.

Across to the other side of the Andes now, to Argentina, and specifically to see how Cabernet Sauvignon integrates itself when it isn’t the majority in a blend. Cabernet Sauvignon is the 3rd most planted red grape in Argentina, after the mighty Malbec and the often-forgotten Bonarda. Due to the high temperatures in much of Mendoza, Cabernet Sauvignon has a tendency towards over-ripeness and jammy flavours, so the best examples (like most varieties here) come from the high-altitude plantings, in this case from the Uco Valley. Andeluna is a good example of the sort of foreign investment that has typified many of the new estates in Argentina; initially opened by a wealthy North American hiring an expert team, including at one time, Michel Rolland. A ’boutique’ winery, I believe is the preferred phrase!

The wine itself is dark and brooding; no surprise considering Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon make up almost 70% of the blend! There’s a lovely mix of aromas here, with the ripe, red fruit of the Malbec mingling nicely with the rich, blackcurrant of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Graphite, cloves, toast and green bell pepper give this more than a nod to Bordeaux, supported on the palate by firm, slightly dry tannins and solid structure. There’s plenty of fruit, well integrated oak and a strong flavour intensity, with no unpleasant warmth despite the mighty 15% ABV. A lovely bottle of wine. 91Pts.

Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 201190% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot from various sub-regions within Margaret River (30% estate-grown fruit; you’ve got to love the Australians for being so specific!). 14 months maturation in 40% new French oak as varietals, then blended and aged for a further 2 months in older barrels. 14% ABV.

Margaret River is one of the two top quality zones in Australia for Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Coonawarra in Southern Australia. Mitigated by the warm, Indian Ocean and with plenty of free draining, gravelly soils, these are ideal conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon to thrive in, retaining far more varietal character and finesse than their bulkier cousins from McLaren Vale and Barossa. Xanadu is a producer celebrating it’s 40th year in Margaret River and since being acquired by the Rathbone Group in 2005, has further improved its quality with some adjustments to yields, oak regimes and tannin management.

This is very much my sort of Cabernet Sauvignon; a wine with one foot in both camps, and all the better for it. Ripe, dusty black fruits, eucalyptus, toast, vanilla, violets and leather; the joys of catching wines at their mid-point in development. Then on the palate, a high level of soft tannins, refreshing acidity and incredibly well balanced levels of alcohol and extract. There’s restraint on the fruit here, with plenty of interest and some tertiary flavours of leather and earth peeking through, yet the primary, juicy flavours still carry through to a long finish. An impressive wine that’s starting to really hit its stride! 92Pts.

Turley Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013100% Cabernet Sauvignon, grown organically (easier said than done in the US) from Napa Valley. Very little information other than this available, but certainly some oak aging! 15% ABV

California and Cabernet Sauvignon are inextricably linked. Since the success of Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1976 ‘Judgement of Paris’, Cabernet Sauvignon has been the grape, accounting for a remarkable amount of the most expensive and sought after wines from the area, as well as being the most expensive grape to buy at harvest at any quality level. The warm, Mediterranean climate is ideal for the production of silky, soft wines with huge, ripe tannins and incredibly pronounced flavours. Styles do vary, with many producers seeking cooler climates into the more mountainous areas, yet it has become a benchmark style nonetheless, often with extended hang-times creating a very noticeable, dried fruit character. Turley Vineyards are a top quality, family producer, created in 1993 when Larry Turley sold half his stake in Frog’s Leap winery. They source grapes from across California, with a strong focus on old vine Zinfandel.

The vines used for their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, as the name suggests, are their own; planted in 1989. The result is a deep, brooding and very Californian style of Cabernet Sauvignon. Cassis and very ripe, slightly dried black cherries, crushed mint, licorice, chocolate and sweet oak spices make for a captivating nose, but the best is yet to come. Full bodied, silky and mouth-coating on the palate, yet with no excess heat and lots of freshness; this is very, very moreish despite its size. Compared to some Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve tried in the past, this is very well balanced and approachable. The best wine of the tasting, although I think the Xanadu runs it close! 93Pts.

Wine of the Night: Xanadu Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011! (4/10 votes)

Wine Review: Mesquida Mora ‘Sincronia’ 2016

Bodega Mesquida Mora ‘Sincronia’ 2016

*tasting note at the bottom

**Part of the ‘Spanish Value Experiment

So, time to kick off the ‘Spanish value experiment’. As I’m storing the wines on the floor of my already crowded ‘study’, they’re being picked at complete random like some sort of arcade game for alcoholics. First up is a brightly labelled blend, Sincronia 2016, from Mallorca which since 2007 has had it’s own ‘vino de la tierra’ status, presumably an appellation for anyone who wants to branch out and use different varieties and methods to those approved for DO Binissalem and DO Pla I Llevant. Most of the world knows Mallorca as a beautiful, tranquil holiday destination with a strong connection to neighbouring Catalunya, and as a gastronomic paradise for seafood lovers; wine production is comparatively in the shadows. Truth be told, outside of celebrated wineries such as 4 Kilos, Anima Negra and Miquel Gelabert, I am quite ignorant myself so a very good choice to start with!

Bodega Mesquida is a winery whose products I’ve certainly seen before (the labels really are very bright), but can’t remember ever having had the opportunity to taste them. Like many smaller land owners in Spain, their family has been growing grapes and making some level of wine for about as long as anyone can remember, but until very recently it was humbly made stuff, mostly designed to quench the thirst of local farmers during the warm, Mediterranean summers. Then, an often encountered story; a younger generation took over and started to change direction. Barbara and Jaume, the 4th generation of the Mesquida family, have been running the estate since 2004 aiming to improve both the quality and their environmental footprint, with over 6 years of biodynamic viticulture under their belts. There’s an encouraging amount of indigenous grape varieties in their portfolio (Callet, Mantonegro, Premsal etc), which even when blended with international grapes seem to take the dominant role.

Tasting Note

Mantonegro, Callet, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in decreasing proportions. Biodynamically farmed and aged for 4 months in French oak. 14% ABV.

Blends of many varieties, whilst offering the wine-maker many different options, do run the risk of muddling and tasting generic, particularly at lower price points. I’m happy to say that isn’t the case here!

A lovely bright, ruby colour and full of interest on the nose. Ripe black cherries, red berries, damson and licorice are prominent with a gentle suggestion of oak ageing and soft floral notes; very Mediterranean, and even more so on the palate where the juicy, plump, violet-tinged fruit takes over completely. Refreshing and balanced. No real fireworks but at this price point you wouldn’t expect there to be, yet I would very happily order a glass of this anytime. 89Pts.

Purchased from Vinissimus for €9.95

A Spanish Wine ‘Value for Money’ Experiment

After a few years of organising wine tastings and meeting people from across the world who have an interest in Spanish wine, there remains a constant theme to how people view wines produced here: they’re good value for money. This isn’t always a view the Spanish wine industry is thrilled about, but one that it finds hard to shake. Is it true, though? I had a think about it and realised that I can’t actually be sure. This is partly due to my decision to drink as broadly as possible, but also due to the fact I rarely drink wines that would be considered “Good value” by your average consumer. Simply put, as I’ve been trying to wrap my head (and lips) around the framework for a global industry within a few years, it’s meant that pretty much all my income has gone towards that goal. Benchmark wines often carry hefty price tags, although there’s certainly been a bit of irresponsible cherry-picking along the way, and normally only expensive wines make it to the shores of Barcelona from distant lands. For example, you can get a decently made bottle of New Zealand Pinot Noir in the UK for a little above £10; good luck in Barcelona for less than €20-25.

Well, as fate would have it I’m now in an excellent position to investigate this further. Namely:

I appear to have ran out of money.

I no longer have to prepare for international tasting exams (famous last words)

I’ve always wanted to explore the idea (perceived wisdoms should be tested where-ever possible)

Well, it’s not like I’m going to suddenly stop drinking, is it?

So with that in mind, I winced at the remaining funds in my bank account and started to plot how to go about it. It might sound obvious at first, but there are a few issues to be taken into account. First and most importantly, where is the line drawn for ‘good value’? This has been discussed a few times and ultimately, it depends on your own finances. In my local bodega, I can remember more than a few times when potential customers have left in a huff because there’s no bottled wine for less than €4 available. On the other end, I’ve seen people goggling at €100+ wines in Monvinic that are ‘good value’ because they’re less than ½ the going market rate. Like most things in life, it’s all relative. The next decisions are mainly based around red/white/styles/quantity etc. This is a lot easier as, despite the relatively affordable wines I’d be looking at, there’s still only so many I can afford and so they balance out quite naturally against the budget.

The one criteria that I hadn’t previously considered was variety. Given we’re talking about value here, are we talking about value amongst the better known appellations of Spain, or as a general rule? When it comes to vinous powerhouses like Rioja, there are wines available at every price point and in a variety of styles. Would the same be true of someone popping into their local bodega in a small village in Andalucia? Given that my own Spanish drinking experience tends to hover around the same 10-15 appellations, it also seemed like a good opportunity to stretch my own taste buds and become better acquainted with wine from Ucles, Arribes, Menorca and Pla I Llevant. After a lot of thinking under the influence of an ill-advised 11pm coffee, I came up with the following list of rules for the experiment:

No bottle can have a retail value of more than €10 (I pulled the number out of the air. It’s arbitrary but feels about right)

Each wine must be red (easier to compare within a single style)

Each wine must come from a different region, ideally from a new (at least to me) producer or at least a wine within a portfolio I know, that I haven’t yet tried.

Where possible, opt for indigenous grape varieties over international

2 hours later, and I’ve ordered what is perhaps the most sensible wine order I’ve ever placed; at least in terms of cost per bottle if not in terms of quantity. 24 bottles of Spanish red wine, from 24 different regions and producers, each under €10 a bottle; €7.90 a bottle on average. They’ll all be drank over the coming 2 months, and I’ll post a detailed tasting note per wine as I go. Who knows if I’ll actually end up with a semblance of an answer to whether Spain really does offer good QPR at lower price points. It’ll be a valuable experience either way, I’m more likely to be able to pay my rent and it’s a great excuse to re-explore some of the ‘lesser’ wines of the country, as well as digging into regions to which I rarely, if ever, venture. Stay tuned for more, and for anyone who’s curious as to exactly what I’ll be drinking, the wines are below:

Wine Region (DO, VdlT, etc) Price (€)
Alquez 2015 Calatayud 9,20
Finca La Estacada 12 Meses 2015 Ucles 6,90
Parotet Vermell 2016 Valencia 6,90
Benito Santos Joven 2015 Monterrei 8,20
Torremayor 2014 Extremadura 8,45
Calderona Crianza 2010 Cigales 7,95
Abadengo Roble 2014 Arribes 7,30
Merluzo Tinto 2016 Menorca 9,50
Botijo Rojo Garnacha 2015 Valdejalon 9,40
Gordo 2014 Yecla 9,50
Blau Marí 2016 Tarragona 6,30
Can Rich Yviça 2016 Ibiza 7,80
El Aprendiz 2014 Tierra de Leon 8,95
Guelbenzu Vierlas 2015 Ribera del Queiles 5,70
Sincronia Negre 2016 Mallorca 9,95
Son Caló Negre 2016 Pla I Llevant 7,15
Tres al Cuadrado 2014 Vino de Espana 7,95
Finca Antigua Crianza Único 2012 La Mancha 7,15
Bajondillo 2016 Mentrida 7,50
Gaba Do Xil Mencía 2015 Valdeorras 8,35
Abadal Franc 2016 Pla de Bages 7,80
Dos Marías Roble 2015 Binissalem-Mallorca 7,25
Quadis Crianza 2014 Cadiz 7,60
Clos Lojen 2016 Manchuela 6,90

Wine Review: Bodega Torres ‘Fransola’ 2014

Bodega Torres ‘Fransola’ 2014

*tasting note at the bottom

Tasting and reviewing a wine from Bodega Torres is an interesting practice in 2018. Despite being highly acclaimed within the industry, ‘Brand of the Year 2017‘ no less, they’re the biggest producer of quality wine in Spain and ‘big is bad’ is still a fashionable opinion to have. In fact, I remember sitting down to a dinner last year in Pla and having the sommelier wax lyrical about a wine made from ‘forgotten, indigenous Catalan grape varieties’ that a local producer was doing his utmost to reclaim. I asked if this was in anyway related to the ongoing project that Bodega Torres first put into motion in the 1980’s, doing the same but on a much larger scale and at great cost to themselves. I suspect he didn’t actually know, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t quietly enjoy his grimace and how his response suddenly had a edge to it; “No, nothing like Torres”. I think, along with rejecting the incredibly oxidised wine he’d gone to some length to explain, I may have inadvertently ruined his night.

Bodega Torres were created in 1870 and remain one of the worlds largest, family ran wineries. They’re founding members of the Primum Familiae Vini and have whilst based in Vilafranca del Penedes, also have sizeable estates in other parts of Spain, Chile and California. They produce a huge range of products, including a great deal of Spanish Brandy, and their success in volume is down to the huge quantities of well made, generic products that unfortunately also come to taint consumer perception of the brand; success at the bottom makes success at the top very difficult. Their investment into research and development over the years has yielded results that benefit Spanish oenology as a whole, whether it be the aforementioned vine nurseries, pioneering controlled fermentations, barrique ageing or being strong proponents of organic viticulture since 1975.

What a lot of people don’t realise about Torres is that there’s also a premium range of wines created from single estates around Catalunya. Mas la Plana is still the best Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve had the pleasure of trying, and Grans Muralles is a direct result of the work put into recovering indigenous varieties. I haven’t gotten around to trying them all yet, largely due to the high cost of many of them, but I found myself with a bottle of Fransola (they were giving them out at a shop… in exchange for money…) and an afternoon to dig into it.

Tasting Note

90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Parellada from the ‘Fransola’ estate, a high altitude vineyard within DO Penedes. Fermented 50% in stainless steel and 50% in a mixture of French and American oak, before 8 months barrel ageing. 27,000 bottles produced. 14% ABV. 

Making a wine using an aromatic grape variety and any amount of new oak is always a tricky proposition, as even a small miscalculation on the length of ageing or toasting level can easily overwhelm and obscure the delicate aromas of the grape. In America, oaked Sauvignon Blanc is known as ‘Fume Blanc’ and is a standard style for the better wines of Pessac-Leognan and Graves in Bordeaux. Still, I’ve experienced far more difficult wines than vinous victories, so I opened the bottle with some trepidation.

A lovely lemon colour with the green reflections that is often typical of young Sauvignon Blanc. Then on the nose; wow. Hugely aromatic, with a bit of a power struggle going on between the fruit and the oak, with the fruit just edging it ; ripe lime, peach, pear and the herbaceous, crushed-nettle character of Sauvignon Blanc layered over toast, smoke and a touch of vanilla. This falls into balance a few minutes after opening and unlike many of these wines, I found myself coming back to smell it again and again. Rich and fresh on the palate, with the same lovely, unusual combination of zesty citrus fruit, herbs and toasted wood. Whilst lacking the elegance and finesse of some of the best white Bordeaux’s, this is very convincing and frankly, a delicious bottle of wine that has the richness to stand up to more substantial foods, and the acidity to remain refreshing and moreish. I’ll be getting another! 91Pts.

Purchased from Bodega Maestrazgo for 22 euros.

Wine Review: Les Clos Perdus ‘Prioundo’ 2013

Les Clos Perdus ‘Prioundo’ 2013

Corbieres

*tasting note at the bottom

I’ve never really been that excited about the wines from the south of France. It’s not that there isn’t good wine here, far from it, it’s just that Catalunya has remarkably similar soils, climates, grape varieties and well… wine, as a result. I imagine if I lived in Beaune, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay would loose a little allure as well. Still, thanks to slightly laxer appellation laws, as well as much lower land costs, a good few international wine-makers have been tempted to set up here. Domaine Treloar and Domaine of the Bee are two of the better producers I’ve had the pleasure of trying, but I suspect that dotted in amongst the inevitable co-operatives are more gems waiting to be discovered.

Case in point; Paul Old from Australia and Hugo Stewart and their 15 year old project; Les Clos Perdus. Inspired by a trip to the Languedoc in 2002, they purchased a small 1.5 hectare plot of land in Corbieres and started to make wine. Neither Paul or Hugo are old hands at wine-making, so it was very much a learning-as-you-go process and yet 15 years later, their project has expanded to 20 hectares across 5 very different climates in Corbieres, all either organically or biodynamically cultivated and each made into a separate wine. This approach strikes a cord with me; there’s something quite lovely about the innocence of ‘just having a go’ and making it work. I also like that, whilst very much a minimal intervention style project, there’s no silly marketing or obnoxious labels. Just good, well made wines with a clear sense of place and importantly, well priced!

A friend told me to try these 6 months ago and I wish I had. Well, better late than never and I decided to get my Les Clos Perdus experience underway with a Grenache dominated blend by the name of ‘Prioundo’.

Tasting Note

80% Grenache and 20% Cinsault from a single plot of 1.5 hectares, 150m above sea level. 20% whole-bunch in the fermentation, spontaneously fermented in stainless steel and left to sit on its lees for 9 months. Bottled without fining and only light filtering, only 4,800 bottles produced. 14.5% ABV.

Unoaked Grenache, when done correctly, can be such a lovely wine. Whilst the current fashion for this style seems to be focused around Madrid and the Sierra Grados mountains in Spain, this is a considerably better wine than most I’ve tried from Spain (Some notable exceptions from DO Montsant)

Light ruby in colour with a lovely, fruity and mineral nose. Sour cherries and red currants, earth, orange peel and dried herbs; so Mediterranean and so Grenache! The same bright, tangy flavours carry through to the palate, complete with slightly firm tannins and a surprising amount of freshness, considering the high alcohol level. No sign of any unnecessary heat, however, and the finish is long and dry. Considering the tiny production of this wine, the minimal intervention, labour intensive style of production and quality, the price is incredibly appealing. A delicious wine of which I will buy at least another couple to share with friends! 91Pts.

Purchased from Magatzem Escola for €13

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