THE WINE WRITER’S HOLY GRAIL
A quick scan through Wikipedia tells the researcher that the origins of this mystical phrase (that’s ‘Holy Grail’, not ‘Wine Writer’ – though the way ‘I go off on one’ sometimes . . .) are open to considerable conjecture. Also, the phrase has oft been used to signify several different things and is now firmly embedded in the English language.
Its modern use, essentially is to refer to something that is sacred (usually in the non-religious sense), something extremely valuable (not necessarily in monetary terms) something to be searched for, albeit perhaps ultimately unobtainable.
In wine terms, for me at least, the (or, thankfully, a) Holy Grail is indicated by that time-stopping moment when tasting a new, unique, exemplary wine. The rare occasions when all the senses are forced (in the nicest possible way) to concentrate on the wine in the glass, cutting out all extraneous noise etc. It’s rare, but it does happen.
Such was the case when I tasted the best Spanish Riesling I’ve tried, made, almost unbelievably on the high plateau around the village of Mogente, in the Valencia Community! Lovers of German and French Riesling, must try this wine – simple as that! Plus, those who know of the variety but rarely taste it, or indeed, have never tasted it, well the same applies to you!
Now, let’s qualify the above statement, whilst not detracting from its validity. There isn’t a lot of Riesling made in Spain! In the northerly areas of France and Germany, Riesling’s natural habitat, the climate is considerably different to that of Spain – the more so to that of Valencia. In Alsace, for example, there is always a lingering, and worrying, doubt as to whether the grapes will ripen (though climate change is slowly making an impact here.)
In Spain of course, there is practically no doubt that there will be sufficient sunshine to mature the grapes fully, but the problem here is retaining the essential acidity and allowing, as far as is possible, a long maturation period. In Germany the Riesling harvest is usually in late October and even into November.
Studies have shown that a “long, slow ripening period” (Jancis Robinson, the Oxford Companion to Wine) allows Riesling to perform as it should, i.e. to take on the terroir whilst at the same time retaining the aroma and taste profile of the natural grape. So quite how the Clos Cor Ví winemaker achieve this in the Mogente area, is his/her very successful secret!
I guess we don’t need to know, let’s just enjoy the wine. Firstly, you have to marvel at the off-the-wall design of the label! A boy sitting on a homemade swing, whose ropes are vines, whilst the boy’s head is in fact a faceless grape, is one of the designs in the folder that accompanied the sample I was sent. There are some, I know, who may think that this detracts a little from the seriousness of the wine, perhaps making the consumer think that the wine is more gimmick than grape!
Don’t be put off – I assure you, this and other medal winning wines in the portfolio are seriously good, and of course the slightly madcap label is instantly recognizable when you shop for subsequent bottles, as you surely will!
There’s an almost tangible minerality on the nose of this wine, which intermingles with fruit notes of lime a little lemon, perhaps lemon thyme as there is a faint herby note to the wine too. It’s racy, steely dry but also incorporates some floral notes, something between honeysuckle and jasmine.
Hold the wine on the palate before swallowing, feel it, experience it and enjoy a brief metaphorical interlude in the cold vineyards of Germany! Outstanding wine! (www.closcorvi.com)
Don’t forget The Fine Wine & Gourmet Dine Programme Total FM 91.8 & online www.totalfm.es – next show Sunday 11th Sept. 18:30 – 20:00 hrs, when my guest will be Gian, owner of the I-Sushi Franchise! We’ll be tasting Japanese cuisine and pairing the dishes with Spanish wines!