Delight (Delit), defined:

A CAUSE, OR SOURCE, OF GREAT PLEASURE!

Quite a claim for a wine, don’t you think? Well, I’ll get on to Delit, from Bodegas Finca Collado, DO Alicante, a little later. I’m first going to talk about their white wine, Finca Collado Chardonnay/Moscatel – which certainly gave me great pleasure!

In DO Alicante there is a plethora of wines made with the Moscatel grape variety. Think white Alicante, think Moscatel. These days, most are successful, gone (more or less) are the days when Moscatel wine meant unbearably sweet white wine. Clone selection; market demand; new, young winemakers coming on-board; ethnic cuisine pairings; and some impressive pioneering work from one or two older generation wine-makers who took the risk – have all played their part.

There are still Moscatel dessert wines, horses for courses, which are excellent, and in my view these should remain in the DO Alicante general portfolio. However, these days most Moscatel wines in this area are in a far, far drier style, endearing them to Asian cuisine, Moroccan dishes and others, as well as making them lovely aperitif drinks on warm and hot Spring and Summer days and nights.

Moscatel is listed in the ‘Aromatic Varieties’ category – and the aroma is very easy to spot – it’s one of the very few grape varieties that actually smells of grapes, or perhaps raisins would be the better description. At a blind tasting it’s a breeze, stands out a mile, giving the taster some confidence to continue!

But not this one!

It’s true that Finca Collado’s Moscatel is only 35% of the blend, but that would normally be easily enough to get the taster on the correct scent, even bearing in mind that the 65% Chardonnay was fermented, and shortly aged, in oak! The secret, as Samuel, son of the founder, told me, is the early harvesting of said Moscatel. The theory being that it’s in the last weeks of the growing season that these raisin/grape aromas really start to develop, so, if picked early we retain fresh acidity, and have a slightly less typical aroma.

I thought this wine exceptional, and will certainly be looking for more, this summer and beyond! It’s super summer drinking, fresh and refreshing, yes, but that’s not all – it’s rounded, but fresh, has elegance, depth and body too. When tasting it I kept thinking that it reminded me of another variety, a French grape, but it took me a while to remember. There’s a melon fruit note to this wine, redolent of the lovely wines of southern France, made with Marsanne and Roussanne, along with faint citrus and mango notes, with a super floral bouquet too.

And the delightful red? Well, Delit, from Bodegas Finca Collado, is a wine of its time. Monastrell is the variety used – one of my favourite grape varieties, so it definitely started on the front foot for me. It’s only just been released, after two years in the bodega where the grapes, hand harvested from 70 yrs old vines in 2016, went through fermentation and subsequent aging in 300 litre French oak barricas, slightly larger than usual 250 litres, meaning a touch less oak influence.

This wine is a monovarietal, making use of old vines grown in the area around the bodega’s location, the Salinas Valley, close to the Salinas lake, and rising into the foothills of the Sierra Salinas mountains, by growers who, before, were content to simply sell to the local co-operative. An agreement was reached where the grapes would be guaranteed to be bought by Finca Collado, provided that vineyard management could be exclusively carried out by the Collado winemakers and staff. The arrangement worked well, though Finca Collado was also thinking of the future, looking in fact for total control – i.e. the owning of these venerable old vineyards. Another agreement was reached, and the vineyards duly acquired.

The bodega now has a good selection of international and national/local varieties, making wines for sale in Spain, but also with a view to creating and expanding international markets. I’m certain they’ll do well.

Delit is a wine that makes you reach again for the bottle after you’ve finished the first glass. It has some dark fruits, plum and damson, as we would expect from this variety, with some Picota cherries too, plus, simultaneously, elegance and power on the palate. There’s also a pleasant, if light, tough of mountain herbs on the nose – bay and thyme.

Finca Collado (www.facebook.com/fincacollado/) is a young bodega on which we should keep a watchful eye! For example, I hear, from Samuel, that there will, quite soon, be a rather special red wine, released only in Magnum, destined to become a flagship of the winery; along with a white, a little later, made with old vine, lees-aged Malvasía. You can guarantee I’ll be looking to get my hands on a bottle each of these!

‘Delightful’ wines!

Contact Colin: colin@colinharknessonwine.com; www.colinharknessonwine.com; Twitter @colinonwine; Facebook Colin Harkness; Youtube: Colin Harkness On Wine

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