Wine Cuentista Newsletter – Edition 24 – December 2017
December: The harvest is well and truly over! The grapes have been picked and the main focus will now be in the winery itself, as wines finish fermentation at different periods, destined for different styles of storage and ageing before being included in any final blends. In the vineyard, this is an excellent opportunity to prepare for the next year, with some growers choosing to clean up any unwanted weeds that have been growing throughout the harvest, wash the hard wood of the vines with a copper-based fungicide and cultivate the soil to allow the winter rains to soak in deeply. In cooler climates, a lot of growers now start ‘buttage’, that is the ploughing of soil close to the base of the vines to protect them against the cold winter weather. General maintenance work may start, but nearly all efforts will be focused towards the newly fermented wine and perhaps even an opportunity to take a break every now and again; certainly deserved after the strenuous efforts of the harvest!
Hello Wine Lovers! Here we are, in that most festive time of the year and gearing up for what is hopefully a stress-free and wonderful holiday for everyone. I’ll be working and studying all through the month, but we’ve still got enough time for at least one more tasting before we say goodbye to 2017 completely. As it’s the last tasting of the year, it feels like a good opportunity to revisit ‘Fintan’s Fridge’ and pull out some special bottles. I suspect spots will disappear quite quickly so for anyone I don’t see over the coming month, happy holidays and I look forward to catching up over a glass in the new year!
Events: Maestrazgo Wine Club:
14th December – Fintan’s Fridge– 40 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. ‘Where Burgundy meets New Zealand’ by Elaine Chukan Brown. The term ‘Burgundian’ is thrown around a lot in the wine world, far too often in my own opinion, and is a constant reminder of just how well thought of Burgundy is in the industry. However, I was delighted to discover that a region as Pinot-obsessed as Burgundy actually had a strong connection, even more so when I discovered it was one of my favourite wine regions in the world; Central Otago. Burgundy isn’t a place renowned for opening its doors and sharing its knowledge, so this came as a truly pleasant surprise and I suspect both regions will gain a lot from the association! https://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/where-burgundy-meets-new-zealand
2. ‘WWC’ 5 by Pierazzo da Faltre. As there’s not been a huge amount of stand-out wine-writing this November, a throw-back to one of my favourite articles from 2016! One of the most charming pieces of writing I’ve read for a long time. A wine-writing competition was launched by Jancis Robinson MW and some of the resulting pieces are now being published on her website, including this gem. A rambling, delicate piece about the simplicity of wine, local food and wine culture in an almost Hemingway-esque style. If you read anything, read this. http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/wwc-5-pierazzo-da-feltre
Wine of the Month: I’m constantly on the look-out for wines of real quality and value; here is my favourite wine of the month:
Algueira Pizarra 2014: Every month I find this decision becoming harder and harder; a sure sign that I’m spoilt when it comes to the amount of excellent wine that I get to try! Beating out a superb Syrah from A.Clape and some top contenders from the rest of Spain comes this pure, wonderful Mencia from one of Ribeira Sacra’s top producers; Algueira.
Adega Algueira is a top quality estate ran by Fernando and Ana, two of the grass-root growers who’ve since decided to go it alone and with spectacular results. A mere 11ha of land makes up their estate, focusing primarily on Mencia and Godello, with small bottlings of Merenzao, Caino and Souson to boot. Their ‘Pizarra’ bottling is their flagship wine, coming from the Carballocovo vineyard with vines over 80 years old. Whole bunch fermentation, vinified in large oak and then aged in 600l barrels for 11-14 months, this is serious stuff.
It’s also right up there with the best wines from Ribeira Sacra. A medium ruby colour and wow, what a nose! Bright, red cherries, violets, wild herbs, black pepper and smoked meat – this is a beautiful middle-ground between Burgundy and the Northern Rhone. Fresh and bright on the palate with real tension to the wine and a long finish; superb. Already complex and will drink beautifully over the next 5 years. Ribeira Sacra really is going from strength to strength!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org I can’t wait to see you all soon for more wine, food and good company.