Any readers who have student grandchildren (great grandchildren?!) studying Social Science and the like, who are stuck re their PhD Thesis? Well, I may have the answer here – pass it on!
Forget the generations so often referred to in the media these days (why?!) – you know, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, the Millennials, Generation Z (your grandchildren will be in one of the latter two). Popular belief is that we are defined by our generation category (I’m a Boomer, btw [this modern text abbreviation designed to make me look a ‘cool, Boomer!]), but, and here’s the PhD Thesis bit – I wonder if we are actually defined by the TV programmes we watched as children?
Who remembers ‘Watch With Mother’ and the ‘Flowerpot Men’ – maturing(?) to ‘Blue Peter’, ‘My Favourite Martian’ and ‘Mr. Ed’? If you do, well you’re with me – Boomer through and through! However, if your go-to programme was ‘Tractor Ted’, well, you’re a lot younger – for a start, and likely to have a wholly different consumer profile.
It’s a gamble, but I reckon Nicola Thornton, co-founder of Spanish Palate, the Spain based wine producer and négociant/distributor, is in the Tractor Ted generation! What leads me unequivocally to this conclusion – well, firstly she’s miles younger than me, and secondly Spanish Palate have named one of their smaller portfolios of wine, Mí Tractor Azul, My Blue Tractor. Classic TV influence!
This of course, is all conjecture! So is my thought that Nicola and co are doing what so many other Spanish (and international) wine producers are doing – trying (and in this case, certainly succeeding) to engage with a younger generation of wine drinkers. These days youngsters who have reached the legal age to consume alcohol (that’s a strict 18 yrs here in Spain, with it being illegal to buy your 17 yrs old an alcoholic drink/share your wine in a restaurant, unlike in the UK), are able to enjoy such a wide diversity of drinks available to them. The result of this is that amongst the 18 – 25 yr olds wine consumption in recent years has been falling.
It’s a concern for producers, in fact a double whammy (this now old but still annoying phrase also identifies me firmly in the British Boomer!) – sales to this generation (Millennial/Gen Z, if you’re wondering!) have been decreasing, with the knock-on effect that it’s likely that when they reach middle age and older, they’ll buy less likely wine than those of us at that age now. It’s a worrying scenario that many, forward thinking wine producers are addressing right now. Spanish Palate (www.spanishpalate.es) is one such producer.
As yet there are but two Mí Tractor Azul wines in the portfolio (told you it was small!), but they certainly do what they set out to achieve and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were plans afoot to add to the range. The first I tasted was from Toro (you can see it here www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o6PlRrxL9I and listen to my thoughts about it).
It’s made, as you might expect, with the DO Toro favourite variety, Tinta de Toro, the local name for Tempranillo – the same variety, which has, with perhaps a century, and more, of growth here, developed some slightly different characteristics than Tempranillo from its original home, La Rioja.
Fruit First, and bags of it, is the mantra of this line of wines. However, that doesn’t mean grapes harvested from just young vines – Tractor Azul wines are made from vines that are a minimum of 40 years of age, grapes so mature that they are usually destined for Crianza and Reserva wines. Instead, the rich, gently pressed juice is fermented, and then bottled without any oak. You are therefore enjoying the purity of the intense fruit, with no other influence!
There are immediate black cherry notes on the nose, with some blackberry and a touch of its brambly undergrowth too. Although not aged in oak, the wine is easily rich enough to partner meaty dishes, though this isn’t at all necessary – enjoy it as a super fruit-charged vibrant wine, with your Generation Z grandchildren and their pals!
The other wine in the portfolio is Mí Tractor Azul Almansa. Readers may remember my recent article on the wines from Almansa (www.colinharknessonwine.com/articles/) – an impressive area of production, emerging from the shadows and this wine will help!
Grown for centuries in Almansa (and surrounding areas of production) Garnacha Tintorera (not to be confused, though it’s understandable, given the name, with Garnacha) is also known as Alicante Bouchet (again, confusing – we are talking Almansa here, not Alicante!). It’s quite a variety! One of the world’s very few grapes whose flesh is also coloured – in this case a pinky red, which, when macerated with the skins, gives very dark coloured reds, often of high alcohol.
Spontaneous fermentation using natural yeasts occurs in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, with bottling soon after – a total absence of oak. Therefore we enjoy primary fruit flavours and aromas of dark berries with some herbal notes too. It’s very fruit orientated, full, with fresh, lively acidity – a wine for the sofa, watching re-runs of your favourite children’s TV programmes, perhaps! Ah, nostalgia’s not what it used to be!
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