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Tag: Spain

Wine of the Week

Great white Godello

Verónica Ortega has been featured on this blog several times. Here is a bit of background.

Tormenta is a new wine beginning with the 2021 vintage, that has taken over from the fabulous Cal from the same municipality. I tasted this wine in a wine club tonight where my topic was The New Spain, illustrated by ten wines.

We are in the Bierzo area. 0.8 hectares of godello grapes are grown organically in a paraje called Garbanzal in the village San Juan de la Mata, north in the appellation. The vineyard is more than 25 years old on and sits on clay and calcareous soils, at 650 meters altitude. The grapes were harvested manually, destemmed and experienced a night’s cold maceration. The fermentation was spontaneous from native yeasts. It was completed after thirteen months in barrels and amphorae.

Tormenta 2021 (Verónica Ortega)

Light yellow colour. Floral scent with yellow apples, peaches and a hint of sultanas. Delicate in the mouth, dancing between dryness and softness, tasty with a lively acidity, and a marked minerality. It tends towards some sharpness, but this is just held back. A great wine

Price: High

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Wine of the Week

Alternative Ribera

Pablo and Andrea of Magna Vides offer an alternative to the many oaky and heavy reds of Ribera del Duero. At their estate in La Aguilera (Burgos) they work eco-friendly in every possible way. This wine is made from garnacha grapes from 90 year old vines on sandy loam soils. They are fermented with stems and with local yeasts. It’s aged 12 months in used French barrels.

Alma de Cántaro Garnacha Tinta 2020 (Magna Vides)

Dark cherry red. Fresh aroma of raspberry, wild strawberries, plums and herbs. Clear and focused garnacha fruit on the palate, it’s juicy with timid tannins, and a fresh and lively fruit. It’s carefully extracted and with no disturbing wood influence.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Volcanic from Cráter

In 1998, a group of friends started this project in a splendid landscape on the northern slope of the island of Tenerife, between Tacoronte and El Sauzal. They were united in their desire to make wines that freely express the unique terroir marked by the volcanic soil, the Atlantic climate and the native varieties.

The wine is made from listán blanco with a small amount of albillo, made separately. Barrels have not been used, but it aged for 3 months on lees.

Blanco de Cráter 2021 (Cráter)

Light straw coloured. Aroma of citrus (lime), yellow apple, hay, wax. Medium-bodied, creamy with good acidity and concentration, quite long with salt in the finish.

Price: Medium

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Articles

A different Ribera

Magna Vides is located in La Aguilera, Ribera del Duero. Pablo Arranz and Andrea Sanz there offer a Ribera with a difference, in a region full of oaky wines with mature fruit. Their winery lies amidst organic vineyards, and brings out fresh and terroir-driven wines.

Vera Vides 2020 (Magna Vides)

Made with grapes from vines that are more than 50 years old. 75% tinta del país (tempranillo), with garnacha, bobal, monastrell and the white albillo major. Careful maceration, grapes treated separately before blending and 10 months ageing in used French barrels. Filtered gently before bottling.

Deep red. Dark fruits (morello, blackberry), red fruits (raspberry), herbs. Good volume, fine tannins, a cool acidity. Fresh and balanced.

Magna Vides 2018 (Magna Vides)

Made with tinta del país and a part of albillo mayor. Unique century-old vineyards located at three different sites in La Aguilera. The wine matures for about 14 months mainly in used barrels. It is filtered very gently.

Deep red with blue hint. Fresh aroma of dark fruits (blackberry, blackcurrant), red fruits, herbs, coffee. Good volume and concentration, firm tannins, good acidity, long aftertaste. It’s in a way powerful, but very balanced. Can age, but is surprisingly accessible.

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Wine of the Week

Renvivas, a remarkable rufete

I spent 24 hours in Sierra de Salamanca, the smallest DO in Spain, and visited four of its fourteen producers. Viñas Serranas wasn’t originally on the program. But luckily I had a couple of hours break. And vinegrower Bosi Jiménez, who delivers grapes to Bodegas Cámbrico and showed me their winery, gave me Miquel Udina’s contacts. So the next day I arrived at their bodega (a former fruit cooperative) in the small village of Cepeda and tasted the whole range.

Bosi and Miquel are two of the four partners in this interesting project. Like in all the bodegas here the ingenious rufete is the dominant grape, a really promising variety. They also work with rufete blanco (no relation) and other local grapes. They own 12 hectares, small plots high up on terraces and always in goblet (called en vaso in Spain).

Renvivas can be regarded their top wine. It’s based on rufete sourced from a less than half a hectare plot in Miranda del Castañar, planted in 1930 on a steep hillside. But it also contains a small percentage of rufete blanco. The soil is varied with presence of both granite and the area’s special type of hard slate called corneana.

The wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts and partly whole clusters in stainless steel, then aged in barrels of old French oak. Low-sulphur, unfined and unfiltered.

Renvivas 2019 (Viñas Serranas)

Cherry red. Bright aroma of red fruits (cherry, raspberry), herbs, stone fruit. But it also has another layer of autumn leaves and smoke. Medium-bodied, textured palate with very fine tannins, great freshness and a long finish. It’s full of flavour, and yet so light and delicate.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Tasty white Toro

I say Toro, because wine lovers will know where it is. The wine is given the more generic designation Castilla y León though, but the label gives the exact address and also shows the coordinates.

we are in the southern village of El Pego, where Álvar de Dios Hernández took over his grandfather’s century-old vineyards in 2008.

Vagüera comes from a single vineyard in El Maderal further north. It sits 950 metres above sea level and surrounded by an extensive cork oak forest that shields the vines from the sun. It’s made from doña blanca grapes planted in the 1920s. They were direct-pressed, barrel-fermented and aged at least 12 months in the same barrels. The wine is neither filtered nor clarified.

Vagüera 2018 (Álvar de Dios)

Light yellow with green hints. Intense aroma with citrus (lime), green apples, white flowers. Tasty, with good volume and concentration, a refreshing acidity and good length. It’s direct, but it has also a deeper layer. No oakiness, except that it’s breathing well (from the microoxidation). Wonderful balance, and also ageing capacities.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

An albillo with personality

La Chanin was presented by the sommelier of La Gracia bar in Murcia as a super cool orange wine. And it sure was. Orange wines can lack interest if they just have some extra skin-contact and miss the acidity to match. This one had the underlying concentration and excelled in electricity and vividness.

Silvia and Kike Srados started their Cható Gañán project in 2014. It was born out of the need to take care of and restore the respect for the old garnacha and albillo vines of Cebreros, where the whole family lives. This is a way to honour all those farmers and peasants -gañanes- who have preserved the exceptional old vineyards that the bodega can now enjoy and work with.

The wine is made of albillo real grapes from a century-old vineyard, at about 780 meters of altitude, with granite soil and a large presence of quartz. It is completely destemmed and left with skins for approximately three weeks. Spontaneous fermentation starts with native yeasts. It is made in stainless steel and lees are stirred for five months. It is also aged for five months in French barrels of various uses. Natural stabilization was secured by the cold. The wine is not clarified or filtered. Just a minimal dose of added sulfur. Bottled, labeled and sealed by hand.

La Chanin 2020 (Cható Gañán)

Deep golden colour, almost amber. Mature apples, apricots, yeast, iodine and a touch of honey. Full on the palate, good concentration, slight tannin, and the acidity contributes to an electric, vivid sensation. A slight bitterness towards the end. It hints to an amontillado too, and surely has a great personality

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Back to Bullas

Here is a Bullas wine once introduced te me by La Gracia, a fabulous natural wine bar in the centre of Murcia. It does not bear the official seal though. I’ll investigate on that one day.

María José Fernández Llamas and Patri Morillo are its makers. It comes from monastrell and garnacha tintorera, with ages ranging between 8 and 50 years. The clusters are trodden with intact stems. Alcoholic fermentation is controlled below 25º. The soils consist of clay and calcareous clay textures, deep and rich.

Negrete 2021 (Negre-T Blue Wines)

Deep purple. Attractive and seductive aromas of mature fruits, herbs. Full and juicy in the mouth, with gentle tannins and a pleasant acidity. Easy fruit-driven drinking.

Price: Low

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Articles and Wine bars and restaurants

More from Murcia

Back in Murcia for Christmas celebrations, I never miss an opportunity to visit La Gracia natural wine bar near the cathedral (and the bull ring). Sommelier Esperanza tells that they will organize a natural wine fair on the 21st of January, called #vinosinresaca (that means wine without hangover), where some 25 of the most prestigious microbodegas from all over the country will participate. I really appreciate and support the initiative, though I can’t participate this first time. You should if you are near.

This evening I chose a plain Italian focaccia to go with all three wines, that were excellent. I opened with an aperitif, the sparkler Malaherba 2019 from Finca Parera, Penedès. It’s a rich and tasty wine with lots of body based on the xarel.lo vermell (red) grape, with yellow fruits aroma with wax and iodine.

The invitation to the upcoming fair and the Duarte bobal

Next was Duarte 2022, a young bobal-tempranillo with fresh and dark berries and herbs, quite simple, but tasty. Good fruit throughout, and the tannins were quite firm and seemed young. Its maker Verónica Romero from Utiel-Requena, València is a comet in today’s natural wine sky. The wine is made with whole bunches in a variant of the carbonic maceration.

One of the more established natural wine producers in the Gredos mountains is Cható Gañán, where Kike Prados holds the reins. Navaciegos is a quite complex garnacha wine, purple coloured, aromas of red and dark fruits, also some dried herbs, and a layer of coffee. In the mouth it is full, quite dense and concentrated, with rounded tannins and good fruit. It’s made in Navahondilla, in a 0.35 hectares vineyard of 60 year old vines, at about 785 meters of altitude, with very degraded granite soil. A small part of the grapes are foottrodden and vatted with stems. The rest is destemmed. It was aged in French barrels of 500 liters at various ages.

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Articles

Mallorcan countdown

Looking forward to spend the new year weekend in Mallorca I have begun to count down with a few wines.

Ca’n Verdura is located in Binissalem, the most historic wine town in modern times, giving name to that DO in 1991. They grow mainly native varieties such as mantonegro, callet and moll.

Supernova 2022 (Ca’n Verdura)

This wine is made from the moll variety, from a vineyard planted in 1958 on clay, limestone and gravel. The farming is organic (though not certified), and it was fermented with ingenious yeasts in stainless steel and barrel.

Light yellow with a green hint. Yellow apples, melon, white flowers and a stony minerality. Medium full, lightly creamy lees character, adequate acidity, salty, and a green touch in the finish.

Negre 2021 (Ca’n Verdura)

This is some kind of entry-level, unpretentious red, made primarily from mantonegro (60%), complemented with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, monastrell and the local callet. The mantonegro is old-vine and the rest is from different vineyards of variable age and a diversity of soils (red clay, gravel, white clay).

Dark cherry. Red fruits (cherry), ink, herbs. Medium-bodied, fruity all the way, a touch menthol and coffee. Energetic and appealing.

Francesc Grimalt is a leading figure in the restoration of the callet grape variety. In 2006 he teamed up with musician Sergi Caballero and founded the 4 Kilos winery, based in Felanitx, not far from the city of Manacor. The name is an expression for 4 million pesetas, which was their initial investment to launch the company. They practice an environmentally-friendly agriculture with minimal intervention.

Motor Callet 2021 

One of the wines tried was Motor Callet. The vintage was the same as in a previous post. I include it in the picture, and you can read more of the company and the wine here.

The Island Syndicate 2019

While the MC is dominated by red fruits, this one is darker, in colour and fruit quality, a mix between dark and red fruits. It’s a callet 60%, and also mantonegro 30% and fogoneu 10%. With this, Francesc Grimalt wanted to make a wine that smelt “like his childhood”. The wine is made with natural yeasts he found from the now-defunct co-operative winery in Felanitx ‘Es Sindicat’.

Dark cherry colour. Aroma of dark and red fruits (blackberry, cranberry, redcurrant), Mediterranean herbs, plums. Medium-bodied, a good acidity, traces of almond, some coffee. The overall feeling is though the one of a light and appealing wine.

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