Wine Cuentista Newsletter – Edition 23 – November 2017

Maestrazgo Wine Club Newsletter – Edition 23 – November 2017

November: This is typically the last month of the harvest for most wine-makers and indeed, practically all the white grapes and most of the reds will have been picked, pressed and begun fermentation already, with the exception of some late-ripening varieties or those small pockets of grapes in particular micro-climates. The big task in November is making the wine; with winery space at a premium and stainless steel tanks, barrels and concrete eggs all full of fermenting wine that has to be monitored constantly in order to make sure the temperatures, nutrient levels and volatile components are all in check. It can be a pretty stressful place to be! Now the time in the vineyard is more or less over, biology takes a back-seat to chemistry as science and artistry vie for control of the process. If the harvest was good and a good crop of healthy grapes was brought in, the sky is the limit for a skilled wine-maker. If the yield was low and/or poor quality due to rots, fungi, weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances then the wine-maker will have a challenge on their hands to turn it into a good quality wine that can return the investment of the year.

Hello Wine Lovers! It’s been a long month for everyone in Barcelona, politically and socially, and I’m glad that Autumn seems to be finally rolling in with cooler weather and, hopefully, cooler heads! From a wine perspective it’s perfect drinking weather, with red wines drinking beautifully at room temperature and bigger white wines starting to appear on dinner tables around the country, perfect for the bolder fare of the colder months. Due to a convoluted schedule and a brilliant opportunity to start learning how to judge at wine competitions with the IWC, I’m afraid we can only present a single tasting this month. However, it’s a great one and a good opportunity to look at some high quality, contemporary wines from a country we haven’t looked at in a while… Spain! Entitled “The New Spain’ in tribute to the late John Radford, a Spanish wine expert who last wrote the complete book about Spanish wine under the same name, it’s not to be missed! As always, to contact me and book a spot, get in touch here.

Events: Maestrazgo Wine Club:

23rd November – The New Spain – 30 euros p/p

Articles: I probably spend too much of my time reading online articles about wine. However, as a result I can find and select a choice few to share – here are my three favourites from last month!

  1. ‘Whatever…it’s rosé’ by The Sediment Blog. Getting excited about rosé as a wine professional can be tricky as it’s so often a wishy-washy wine. Exciting on the nose and then utterly disappointing on the palate. Or a deeper, structured wine that makes you wonder… why didn’t I just get a glass of red instead? Whilst top quality rosé wines certainly do exist, I still enjoyed this little bit from the hilarious CJ and PK over at the Sediment Blog.

  1. ’10 Smart Rioja Buys’ by Amaya Cervera. One reason I’m excited about getting the WSET Diploma out of the way in January is that I can start focusing a lot more on Spanish wines again. Here, Amaya Cervera of Spanish Wine Lover creates a list of 10 different wines from DOC Rioja to sample. Split into three major parts and likely to start focusing on wines from individual villages and vineyards, Rioja is an exciting place to be at the moment. For all the attention lauded (rightly so) on the new wave wines from Galicia, there are quite a few wines in this list I wouldn’t mind getting hold of!

  1. ‘Lady-strangler News’ by Miquel Hudin. No, really. That’s the title. Miquel looks at a provocatively entitled grape variety native to DOQ Priorat and an exciting new discovery. The wine referenced is also one of the most delicious white wines from Priorat and should anyone be visiting, I heartily recommend a visit to Marc Ripoll Sans, as his 100% Carignan is also superb.

Wine of the Month: I’m constantly on the look-out for wines of real quality and value; you’ll find me mostly drinking in the 6-25 euro range.

Chave Seleccions ‘Offerus’ 2013 Every month this seems to get tougher and tougher, but this excellent St.Joseph stood out for its purity of fruit and sheer drinkability; a gem of a wine made from the least considered region in the Northern Rhone. The easterly facing vineyards get 1-2 hours less vital sunlight than their neighbours and as a result, most of the Syrah here struggles to ripen fully, particularly in cooler years. Louis J Chave, the iconic producer of Hermitage, recognises this and produces a crisp, pure wine with a gorgeous core of fruit and a clean herbal edge. Who says that negociant wines can’t be great? Certainly not the cheapest wine at 26 euros a bottle through but a genuinely delicious drink. It’d have to be to beat the competition this month!

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That’s it for this months newsletter. I hope you enjoyed it and please, if you have any suggestions or things you would like to see get in touch! Either respond to me here or email to I can’t wait to see you all soon for more wine, food and good company.

Fintan Kerr

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