HACIENDA DEL CARCHE
WINE BY DESIGN
FROM DO JUMILLA
When I opened the case of wines from Hacienda del Carche it was the labels that immediately caught my attention. A quick result from the Marketing Department and the perfect ‘in’ for those exhibiting their wines all over the world.
Fact – labels sell wines! Fact – in the UK something like 70% of all wines sold are bought by women. Fact – the fairer sex are attracted by, well, attractive labels. Ergo if your label is well designed, if it stands out, if it’s pretty, the wine will sell. The wines will be selected from the shelves of the wine merchants and the supermarkets and the tills will ring with a happy ‘ker-ching’ – and that rhymes!
However, at the wine fairs of the world, whilst it’s still true that the label will attract even the wiliest, most cynical buyers, it’s what follows that will determine a sale. The wine in the bottle has to be at least as attractive as the label. Indeed, it’s this result that will also decide whether the ladies referred to above will buy a second bottle next time they are out shopping!
Well, Hacienda del Carche is also successful here, and it doesn’t surprise me!
I first met the elegant, charming and super-professional Natalia, Hacienda del Carche’s Export Director and winemaker, several years ago when she was in fact working for another bodega in DO Jumilla. I was as impressed with Natalia as I was with the wines we tasted on that scorching day – and when you consider that the flagship wine of the tasting retailed at about 150€ a bottle, you can understand just how impressive I mean!
Natalia didn’t need her passport to move from that bodega to take up a similar post in the new one – but she has certainly needed it since her arrival. Hacienda del Carche is an example (there are many in Spain) of how well a business can adapt to harsh, conditions – rather like the native Monastrell grape variety of DO Jumilla!
We all know how the recession in Spain affected business. Lots of companies went to the wall. However the wine sector didn’t suffer as badly as other industries, largely because they were proactive, rather than the opposite – reactive. Sadly, it is true to say that some of the family owned businesses were forced to sell out to larger concerns, usually, I pleased to say, retaining a certain autocracy.
However, others kept their head nicely above water by increasing their efforts in the global market, and indeed some, like Hacienda del Carche, started mid-recession! You have to speculate to accumulate, being the operative mantra. Export departments were given a larger slice of the budget – if sales are going to dry up on the domestic market let’s see what we can do internationally. And this meant renewed effort in developing further, established markets, often in Europe, as well as speculating in the more global arena.
Taus Blanco is a blend of the internationally famous and oh so popular Sauvignon Blanc and Spain’s own Macabeo. It’s a mix that works. Typical Sauvignon Blanc gooseberry, grassy, fennel aromas mingle with the green apple acidity of the Macabeo. The result is a super-clean, fresh dry white with enticing aromas and a fruit filled flavour.
Taus Rosado is a lovely colour – adding extra value to the label design! It’s made with the indigenous variety Monastrell whose dark plum notes come through to join some cherry flavour and raspberry aromas from the Syrah with which it is blended.
It’s pretty in the glass, but don’t be deceived, this is no frivolous rosé – it has presence on the palate and a mid-length flavour-filled finish. I tasted it (and then drank the rest!) with Paella, with which it really works well. I can see it being super too with Salmon and Trout, particularly but with any fish and shellfish dish.
Taus Joven has three varieties in the blend. Monastrell, as you would expect, and hope, is joined by Syrah again, as well as Garnacha Tintorera. Now, regular readers will remember that this is one of the very few black grape varieties in the world whose flesh has a pink tinge to it.
Almost all other black grapes are actually the same colour in the middle of the flesh as a green variety. So, expect a darkly coloured wine whenever Garnacha Tintorera (not to be confused with Garnacha) is included!
Bodegas in Spain have, and are, making an effort to re-enfranchise younger over eighteen aged drinkers who are currently preferring beers and spirits to the national drink, wine. This is a red that will help change mindsets. It’s full on fruit without a trace of harshness. The grapes for this wine were clearly harvested at the optimum time, when fully ripe. The advantage here is that the wine is rich, and well if it’s alcohol that youngsters are after, the 14% will also attract them.
There is a slight touch of black pepper spice coming from the Syrah along with dark cherries and Monastrell makes its usual black plum contribution. The Garnacha Tintorera gives the colour of course but there’s also a earthy connection with the vineyard. It will appeal to jovenes, younger drinkers, but don’t worry, it’s a proper wine. I really like it!
The Joven has an older brother – Taus Selección. Here the Garnacha Tintorera is replaced by the very international variety, cabernet Sauvignon. The 2013 vintage has also enjoyed 6 months in oak, making it a ‘roble’ or semi-crianza style wine and adding, of course some extra depth. A touch of earthy minerality, with blackberry fruit and a full, but elegant finish. It’s super drinking right now, with or without food, and it will last for another 2 years for sure.
Hacienda del Carche 2010 Cepas Viejas (old vines) is a flagship wine. It has been aged in French oak for 12 months. As with all their wines there is plenty of fruit here, but there’s an added dimension of complexity and depth. It’s a wine to be savoured – drunk with meaty foods, strong cheeses and great friends! You’ve heard of the ‘slow food’ movement – I nominate this wine for the ‘slow wine’ movement!
Infiltrado is a Vino d’Autor, a wine conjured up out of the winemaker’s soul. It hasn’t been filtered (hence the name) so there may be a deposit though this should be kept in the cleverly designed bottle when poured correctly. It is the manifestation of a fruit driven wine. It’s full, rich and frankly, far too easy to drink!
Finally, talking about wine bottles, the design of the ice-wine Monastrell dessert wine bottle is a work of art. It takes over 3 kilos of grapes which are late harvested and then frozen to make this wine. It’s remarkable in colour and long-lasting flavour a wine for desserts, yeas, but also for cheese. Sweet, but with that essential acidic lift to keep it fresh as well as unctuous!
And there’s more! My usual Christmas article recommending various Wine Accessories and Wine Related Products will include the following! Watch this space!
Contact Colin: firstname.lastname@example.org and through www.colinharknessonwine.com (here you can also subscribe to his newsletters and much more – gratis, of course!) as well as Twitter @colinonwine