AN EMPIRE IN THE MAKING
I always knew that Domecq was a very large wine business, but it wasn’t until I was invited recently to a La Vinoteca, Calpe, wine tasting that I realised the huge scale of the empire that is Domecq Bodegas!
You’ve heard of one of the best selling wine brands out of Australia, Jacobs Creek – well think again, this is actually owned by Domecq Bodegas. The fabulous Champagne Perrer-Jouët, including their iconic Grand Cuvée, Belle Epoque, is also a Domecq holding. La Rioja’s Campo Viejo is another.
France’s aniseed-flavoured aperitif Pernod and Ricard; Castillo de Diablo from Chile; Graffigna from Argentina; and Montana from New Zealand; plus a plethora of bodegas in several different Spanish DOs and VdlTs all feature in this global enterprise’s portfolio! It’s really quite amazing!
I was asked to assist in the presentation from Domecq’s friendly representative in this region, Francisco Javier Góme, translating Javier’s eloquent Spanish descriptions of the areas of production, the bodegas concerned and of course the four wines we tasted.
We tried firstly a white wine, which in fact was to be my favourite of the evening. I knew we couldn’t go wrong when, before we tasted, Javier explained that this wine is made from the indigenous Verdejo variety, with just a touch of Sauvignon Blanc – a winning combination for sure!
Auro 2010 is like a professional photograph of flavour, encompassing all that’s good in the super wine making zone of Rueda. There are fine mountain herbs in the foreground amongst waving grasses moved by the gentle breeze. Wild asparagus mixes with green vegetal notes, particularly Italian peppers, amid pear and kiwi fruit – all brought into sharp focus by a fresh acidic lift of Sauvignon gooseberry.
Castillo de Javier 100% Garnacha Rosado from DO Navarra was the second wine. Rice dishes are so popular in Spain of course and, depending on the ingredients, they are happy to be accompanied by several different styles of wine. However you’ll very often see Rosado as the Spaniards’ choice – this is because of the remarkable influence of the Saffron. This wine doesn’t have great deal on the nose, some of the expected raspberry fruit with some pleasing floral notes. But on the palate it opens up into a lovely dry, inexpensive prettily pink wine.
CV De Campo Viejo is a new wine from the famous Campo Viejo stable. It’s designed for use only in the restaurant trade and for sale just in wine shops, not supermarkets. Indeed Cecilia, from La Vinoteca is the exclusive stockist of Domecq Bodegas wines in the Calpe area.
Selected from several different parcelas in the Laguardia area the
Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano grapes are fermented separately at a relatively cool temperature in order to preserve the fruit character. The wine is blended and aged in only French oak for 12 months with a further year in bottle. It was first released in January 2011 and we were amongst the first to taste this new wine.
A little tannic at first, it’s best enjoyed with food. As the wine warms to the ambient temperature it gives off some more of its dark fruit and cinnamon aromas and develops further in the mouth finishing with plum, black cherry and vanilla.
Finally Quinta de Tarsus is a classy wine in the making. Still a touch green with sturdy tannin and a sprightly acidity there is nevertheless sufficient fruit from the 100% Tinta del Pais (aka Tempranillo) grapes. It’s had 12 months in American and French oak, a third of which was new. Violet purple colours abound when poured and again this wine is good with meaty food.
BODEGAS AROA, DO NAVARRA
ODDS-ON PRIZE WINNER AT IMMINENT
ORGANIC WINE FAIR, PAMPLONA APRIL 2011
It’s halfway through March as I write about what will, I’m sure, happen in a few weeks time. If only I was able to predict lottery numbers with the same certainty that I now forecast that Bodegas Aroa will come away with prizes and medals from the forthcoming Organic Wine Fair in nearby Pamplona!
In truth it’s not too difficult to make such a confident prophecy, having tasted the wines of this thoroughly modern looking winery whose roots are firmly entrenched in historic, traditional soil-friendly methods. And this is definitely not because of a paucity of quality organic wines in Spain!
My trusty laptop has recorded several Cork Talk articles I’ve written about the rise and rise of ecological wine over the years. This pleasing progress continues unabated and Bodegas Aroa is clearly in the vanguard of developments in this field, literally!
The following wines are good wines, not just good organic wines. They are designed to reflect that which is contained in the grapes used and in the soils in which the plants’ roots search for nourishment. Furthermore their viticulture is intended to benefit the soil and indeed the whole local eco-system, of which the land is of course an integral part.
We are talking here of the philosophy of sustainable viticulture. This is by no means a new innovative theory. It’s an understanding taught from generation to generation by those who have worked the land for hundreds of years, but which has sadly, tragically even, been pushed into the background during the greed-inspired 20th Century.
Mutiko is their youngest red wine. Made from 70% Tempranillo and 30% Merlot, it has a surprising rich, roundness considering its youth. There are dark damson fruits on the nose and palate, plus a faint whiff of mountain herbs and subtle mineral notes, with a touch of damp earth too. A very good relatively full, joven wine.
Jauna 2006 has Cabernet as the majority shareholder with Tempranillo and Merlot also on the Board. It’s inky-black with mature tannin, black cherry, blackcurrant and the bodega’s characteristic autumn leaves, minty mineral notes with abundant rich fruit. There’s a dark chocolate finish and a good length. This wine has three to five years to shed its still youthful, fruit-inspired vibrancy and mature in depth and flavour.
Larossa is their very pretty rosado wine which comes in elegant 50cl bottles. It’s unusual to note minerality on a rosado wine but that’s the first whiff, before rich, almost syrupy raspberry and strawberry, take its place.
This sweeter sensation is carried onto the palate where the 1·9 grams of residual sugar and high alcohol level make for a wine that is going to delight those with a sweeter tooth!
Gorena 2004, 70% Cabernet 30% Tempranillo, has a hunger-inspiring smoked-bacon nose as the cork is pulled with blackcurrant cassis coming through strongly along with typical earthy mineral notes. There is a slight medicinal flavour with integrated oak and a touch of tannin making it a wine that is best enjoyed with food.
Deierri 2006 is vermillion coloured with a full fruity nose with mineral and meaty notes, following its 4-6 months in American oak. It has a good mouthfeel with mature tannin, some fresh acidity and a good finish.
I feel some awards coming on!