PAYING HOMMAGE TO BODEGAS MARCO REAL
Regular readers may feel that they’ve seen this title recently in Cork Talk. Well, it’s similar but not the same, though there is a clear link. I wrote in July about Homenaje wines, which are produced by Bodegas Marco Real in DO Navarra, and briefly mentioned that, in fact, this bodega makes a large range of wines including some real stars in Argentina.
The company was started by NH Hotels founder Antonio Catalan in the 1980s. With other investors coming on board they started to expand their influence and their portfolio of wines. Homenaje was one of the original wines made by the company and continues to sell well. Today, though, I’m going to be discussing their Marco Real Pequeñas Producciónes Range along with the Marco Real Crianza and Reserva wines – an award winning group of wines that I have enjoyed very much.
I’m quite often known to bang on about Spanish Syrah – for me it’s a variety that does so well under the Spanish sunshine. Navarra, of course, is in the north of the country and its vineyards are at an altitude but even so it has a far better chance of ripening perfectly here than in its native France. Therefore Spanish Syrah has all the spicy notes typical of French Syrah but with an added juicy fruit element making it a wine to drink with and without food.
As the name of the range, Pequeñas Producciónes, suggests there is a small number of kilos harvested from the vineyards. Only those which pass muster are selected. There’s a long maceration period where colour, flavour and tannins are naturally extracted and when fermented the wine is placed for five months in French Oak – perhaps to make it feel at home!
The result is a black pepper spiced, blackberry and slight blackcurrant mouthful with some autumn leaves notes on the nose. Lovely.
Tempranillo is of course known as the noble variety of Spain and of course a mainstay grape of nearby Rioja. However Tempranillo is just as comfortable growing in the vineyards of DO Navarra, where it has been happily making good wines for as long as those in Rioja – as this Marco Real, DO Navarra, wine proves.
The grapes are harvested and treated largely as above and again the wine ages for some five months in oak. Dark fruit abounds (the whole range is fruit driven) but this time you’ll find a pleasing note of liquorice as well as a slight cinnamon and vanilla from the oak.
The Pequeñas Producciónes Garnacha is the final wine in this range – and it’s a super fruity wine! Look for some very dark cherries, a touch of floral violets on the nose, slight earthiness and some restrained power in there too. It has some complexity and it seems to combine easy drinking with a slightly deeper note that will endear it to meaty foods and some mature Manchego!
Marco Real 2009 Crianza Colección Privada is made with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Graciano and it’s a super medium+ weighted wine with depth of flavour and a good mature tannic grip that might have been a little overpowering in its youth but which has now mellowed. Fruit filled, the wine is lovely with roast dinners as well as meaty casseroles.
Its dark brambly fruits are underpinned with an earthy aroma and there’s some spice from the new French barrels in which it has spent just over a year. Totally harmonious, all the individual flavour and aroma notes are integrated and the drinker simply sits back and enjoys.
The Reserva de Familia 2007, featured in the well respected Guía Proensa Los Mejores Vinos de España, is made with hand picked 40 year old Tempranillo, Cabernet, Merlot and Graciano vines. It’s fermented on French Oak foudres and then spends another thirty six months in new French barricas, which may seem like a lot of oak, but it’s totally integrated adding depth and complexity.
There is plenty of fruit in this full bodied wine – blackcurrant and mature red berries and you’ll notice some bitter coffee and vanilla notes too. Drinking perfectly now, it’s an elegant and yet powerful wine, which I’ll certainly seek out again!
PS please see the ad on this page for a super wine and sherry orientated Short Break in March 2014 – there are only a few places left!
Contact Colin: firstname.lastname@example.org and www.colinharknessonwine.com and you can now follow Colin on Twitter @colinonwine – and keep right up to date with what’s hot and what’s not in Spanish wine!