Cafe D’Art, Javea Port, Wine Tasting

CAFÉ D’ART, JAVEA PORT,

HOSTS INAUGURAL WINE TASTING

I’m pleased to say that there has been considerable interest in my new website by wine businesses anxious to promote their wines. One of the services I offer through www.colinharknessonwine.com is to present wine tastings in their own premises. It gives them a chance to showcase their shop/restaurant/café, their wares and of course to sell them too!

Everyone’s a winner – the clients who attend enjoy an entertaining and tasty evening; the bodegas that make the wines enjoy good PR and further sales; and the organising business can expect new clients who’ll hopefully be back as well as increased sales on the night and in the future.

So it was that Toni from Café D’Art, in one of the pedestrian caminos near the Tourist Office, called me and asked me to present some wines following a refurbishment and make-over of his premises. Toni also runs a wine distribution service making his prices all the keener.

The tasting was to take place at the first weekend of the Javea fiestas and when the World Cup Group Matches were in full flow – so how would this affect numbers? Well not at all actually as the place was full with some 40 clients perhaps anxious to avoid some football for a change and keen also to make a night of it by dining there afterwards. I wonder how many of the men there had calculated that the game that evening wasn’t so interesting and that this was a good chance to get back in the wife’s good books!

No matter the evening, the tasty aperitifs and of course the wines were enjoyed by all.

We were there to taste wines that are mostly under 5 Euros, all from the same winery and one well known for the easy drinking quality of its entry level wines as well as one or two of higher quality. This was another example of a place where inexpensive wines can be bought without heading to the local supermarket where it is unlikely that the wines will be as well looked after.

The first was, for me, the most charming of the evening – a very unusual blend of local favourite Moscatel with international traveller Sauvignon Blanc. Imagine the typical floral, raison and grape perfume of Moscatel blending with grassy and gooseberry laden Sauvignon, it’s a blend that works!

Moscatel is often thought of, in many respects quite rightly so, as a variety for super (and some not so good!) dessert wines. However it is not always thus! There are different clones of Moscatel and one such clone, Moscatel de Alejandria, is more suited to making wines in a drier style, an off-dry taste where there is a touch of residual sugar left in the wine that is noted on the first hit on the palate, but where in fact the wine finishes dry. Mix that with the greener style of Sauvignon and bingo, you have a super aperitif wine that will also match salads and light fish fishes.

Next was a rosado – I often like to include rosado wines in my tastings in an effort to gain further recognition for this underrated wine style. Rosado rocks, in my book and I’d like to see it appreciated more than it is. Spain is the world capital for rosado wines – so we are in the right place to experiment. I’m sure that even die-hard red wine drinkers will find a rosado that suits them here on the Iberian peninsular. They are, after all, made with black grapes and would in fact be red wines, were it not for the fact that the skin/juice contact is far shorter.

Bodegas Vinolopó from DO Alicante uses the favoured Monastrell grape variety for their rosado. It has typical raspberry notes on the nose but also with red cherries in there. It’s a rosado that is quite light in the mouth and yet manages to be bold in flavour. Good stuff!

When I met Toni for the first time he gave me an example of each wine to taste at home for my presentation notes – the young Monastrell, unoaked red was only available in Magnum size at the time, “Oh, all right then, if I must!”. This wine demonstrates the unadulterated joy of inexpensive young Monastrell – it’s full of fruit and very juice in the mouth. It hasn’t got a long finish, but its not meant to have. Enjoy it for what it is, pure fruit-driven fun!

The final wine was the only one that stepped over the 5 Euro mark, the monovarietal (single variety) Petit Verdot with a short ageing in oak. This variety will I think start to increase in plantings again in the Bordeaux region where 20-30 years ago it was being grubbed up. It’s late ripening in those days was an inconvenience the Bordelaise could do without. They had to have it fully ripened but to wait was a risk as there was always the possibility of a weather change. Now however with climate change there is sufficient sunshine to fully ripen Petit Verdot along with Cabernet Sauvignon et al.

 Of course here in Spain we’ve always enjoyed sufficient sunshine to ripen our grapes, the more so in the Alicante province. In fact here we have to be careful in that for me this variety can become flabby and lose its acidity if it is allowed too much sunshine. It seems that Vinalopó has the formula just about right – it was the most popular wine of the evening!

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