First Published Costa News Group, March 2012

WINES FROM THE FLYING SCOTSMAN

PART TWO

Last week’s article (please see www.costa-news. Com click Cork Talk) introduced Norrel Robertson MW whose experience in both the retail wine trade as well as the sharp of the wine industry, wine-making, puts him in an ideal and largely unique   position in Spain. Here you’ll learn about his super wines, mostly red using ancient Garnacha vines but also a white using a favourite variety of mine, Viognier, which which I’ll start.

Look out for the distinctive wine labels of wines from El Escoces Volante – the hand  -drawn palm about to crush a bunch of old-vine Viognier grapes makes it stand out from the crowd for a start, but more importantly the wine within the the attractive Burgundy shaped-bottle puts it apart form others made with this super-aromatic variety.

Viognier, which traditionally has lived happily along the slopes of the Rhone Valley making such beautiful wines as Condrieu and the wonderful, but stratospherically-priced Chateau Grillet, here has the benefit of longer hours of Spanish sunshine plus  the soils and micro-climate of some of DO Calatayud’s highest vineyards.

It’s clearly a winning combination as El Puño Viognier has diplays many of the characteristics on subtle French Viognier wines – soft, stoned fruit and white flower taste and fragrance; as well as a touch of New World Viogner including bigger fruit (peach, mango and apricot) on both the nose and the palate. I’m a big fan of this wine and would like to taste future vintages as the vines develop over time. I’d love to taste this wine with the Indonesian food to be showcased in my ethnic cuisine wine tastings coming up in May (see the Events page www.colinharknessonwine.com).

I guess it’s the Garnacha-based wines that have helped the Flying Scorsman carve a niche and a name for himself as they do help to convince consumers of the attributes of the venerable variety. Grown in vineyards up to a 1000+ meters in altitude where the long hang-time and considerable difference between day and night time temperatures Garnacha really comes into its own.

The screw-topped La Multa Old Vine Garnacha 2009, is exactly what Norrel says on the label, a little gem! Rich and supple this concentrated, dark berried is attractively perfumed, tempted one to taste, and rewarding the taster with deep flavours of blackberry and spice.

El Puño Garnacha was the wine that wowed presenters, Noelle and Bob, on Bay Radio’s on-air Sunday Brunch programme some months ago. Displaying the subtlety of French Grenache, judicially oaked, with juicy Spanish sunshine-inspired deep and dark fruit this wine is a fine Garnacha example. Herby mineral notes and a long finish, it’s as elegant as a fine French maiden but with machismo strength of flavour.

Manga del Brujo is again a subtle, elegant and yet big wine – testimony to the wine-maker’s craft – with rich, dark fruit of the forest flavours and a beguiling perfume. Give it time to breathe in glass or better still, decant the wine and enjoy it’s development. Look good on the table and tastes wonderful with meaty dishes.

Dos Dedos del Frente unfiltered red wine doesn’t just owe it’s cheeky name to Norrel’s time in New Zealand, I think, but also the blend of white and black grape varieties – Viognier and Syrah. I’ve tasted several blends like this from New Zealand where the Viognier makes such a significant contribution to the perfume of the wine as well as adding a lightness to the spicy, black pepper and olive, rich dark berried flavour of Syrah, which grows so well here in Spain. Integrated oak adds to the party and makes for a super-flavoured red wine.

My advice is – don’t miss the train, The Flying Scotsman’s wines are a treat!

PS I’m presenting a series of Ethnic Cuisine/Wine Matches evenings In Moraira in May in the selected restaurants: Happy Garden (Chinese); Bajul (Indonesian); and Himalaya (Nepalese/Indian). Four or five for the restaurants’ specialities will be tasted with a different wine for each dish, from their list, not their house wines. It’s a super opportunity to try different tastes and different wine marriages – each evening will only cost 15€ – 18€ (depending on the restaurant).

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