Wines Made Under Flor


Thinking about it now, all those years later, I find it quite unbelievable that I didn’t study Science at school! I’m the first to admit that, despite my Mum being a pharmacist and my brother doing well at Science and Maths at the Grammar School, across the fields from us Sec Mod types, I was, at best a slow learner, science wise, at worst, and probably more accurately, pretty useless.

But to just give up on me, as well as the other half dozen or so, and create a nonsense subject called ‘Rural Science’, beggars belief, these days! The more so, when in fact, Rural Science, meant watering the school plants more than anything else! I’m laughing as I write – but, honestly, it’s a disgrace!

So, I know that, had I ever embarked upon the arduous course to become a Master of Wine (MW, of which there are fewer than 400 in the world), it would have been the science aspect that would have held me back – sin duda! That’s not to say, I should point out immediately, that I consider that I have all the other attributes necessary to achieve such status, but it’s for sure that I’d have failed, even if the rather apt ‘Rural Science’ had actually been a course worth following!

So I had to turn recently to two of my friends and colleagues for their advice about making the eponymous, wine under flor. Andrew Halliwell (@ADHalliwell) is an award winning winemaker, consulting for wineries here in Spain; Fintan Kerr (@Wine_Cuentista), also based in Spain, is a nascent Master of Wine, currently well on his way to achieving that hallowed title. Both are mines of information, to whom I unashamedly turn when the need arises! Thank you both!

Flor is a film of yeast that can form on the surface of a wine that’s fermenting. If you’ve ever been on a tour of a Sherry House it’s likely that you’ve seen it in a demo barrel whose ends are glass rather than wood. In fact this is probably the most famous use of flor, when it is involved in the making of Sherry.

However, it has also traditionally been employed in the production of Vin Jaune, French wine made close to the Swiss border and Tokaji, prized dessert wine from Hungary. as well as some other areas of wine production. Occasionally, right now, one hears of wines made using this method – for example, Pepe Mendoza Casa Agricola is experimenting (read on!).

Whilst eating sugars in the liquid (wine in progress), Flor protects it from oxygen, which would turn it into vinegar. Containers are not filled to the brim, allowing the flor to form. Usually the base wine is high in alcohol  with a low ph (quite high acidity). Tinajas are an ideal receptacle for making wine using this method, so it’s no surprise that Pepe Mendoza used them to make the wine I recently tried, as it is these earthenware pots that he uses to make his excellent Orange wine, Pureza.

Indeed, there are aromas and flavours in his Merseguera variety, Vino Flor, similar to those found in some Orange/Amber wines – which, in an instant endeared the wine to me, for sure! But, Pepe’s unnamed wine (it’s an experimental wine, which I for one hope will become part of his portfolio of wines made at the new bodega in Llíber/Jalón, Alicante – the subject of a recent Cork Talk and archived here click Articles) has a lot more going on!

My wife, the lovely was ecstatic about this wine, picking up immediately the Vin Jaune notes and declaring that we really must taste it again sometime, paired with cubed Compté Fruité, which is traditional in the home of Vin Jaune! Well, why not?

I also found an aroma, and to an extent, the taste, of ‘en rama’ sherry, the subject of another Cork Talk (‘), again, this is a very endearing characteristic!

There are some lemony citrus notes, with a brief, but reoccurring ripe apple aroma and it’s got plenty of presence on the palate, with an engagingly long finish. As you can see the experimental ‘label’ on this experimental wine has rubbed off a little and there’s no sign of an abv figure, but, judging by its mouth-feel I think the wine is quite high in alcohol, perhaps 14ª – though I don’t know, of course.

All in all, this wine is close to being sensational! Loved it!

Facebook Colin Harkness  Twitter @colinonwine

In Support of Local Wines!

Due to the fact that I am blessed to have groups here from Sweden with Milagro that want to try the Spanish wines, and are lucky to know the best teacher in Spanish wines, Colin Harkness. I have tasted a lot of them and I am amazed that there is so few restaurants that keep the local wines on the list. Think the restaurants here in Javea should promote more of the fantastic wines in the region, and there is a lot of them. Take for example Enrique Mendoza WineryPepe Mendoza Casa Agrícola or Juan PiquerasBodega Mustiguillo – DOP El Terrerazo as some of the bunch. There are so many just a step outside our walls…. Have you for example tasted the “orange wine”” WOW!!! It will be BIG!! Elisabeth Holmstöm

Top Spanish Wine Cork Talk Influencers 2018!


Why, oh why do I annually set myself these difficult tasks? Christmas Day Wines, the Cork Talk Top Ten, Recommended Christmas Presents, Cork Talk Highlights – and more!

Well, on the one hand it’s enjoyable to review the year and use the 52 Cork Talks I’ve written as research for the above; nevertheless it’s also a veritable agony to include some, whilst leaving out others! Plus, there are many other Spanish Wine influencers, about whom I’ve read, but whose wines I’ve yet to taste and whose stories I’ve yet to write for Cork Talk. So, here I am again writing a list, of people, knowing that, because of space restrictions, I will have to omit some of the eponymous Movers and Shakers, who really should be included!

I make no apologies for mentioning once again here in Cork Talk, Pepe Mendoza, who took over the winemaking reigns of the family owned Bodegas Enrique Mendoza several years ago, whose HQ is, believe it or not, but a few of kilometres from Benidorm. When Pepe and other family members succeeded their father, Enrique, along , he continued with the wines that had established the winery as one of the best in Spain.

But, that wasn’t enough for the man who, in the space of just two years, was voted the best winemaker in Valencia and then the best young winemaker in Spain! Pepe added to the portfolio, including two further flagship wines, Estrecho and Las Quebradas, both of which have appeared in Cork Talk, and continue to do so in my cellar!

Well, he’s at it again, and that’s why he can certainly be called a Mover and Shaker in the Spanish Wine World! Casa Agricóla is Pepe’s personal project: where only Mediterranean organically grown grape varieties are used; where the limited production is sustainable; where there is total respect for the soils and environment; and where there is as little intervention as possible I don’t need to, as I’ve tasted his first three wines in this range, but I wish him the very best of luck in his new enterprise!

Regular readers will also have seen mention of Sarah Jane Evans MW more than once in Cork Talk. An award-winning wine writer, journalist and speaker at conferences worldwide, Sarah Jane qualified as an MW in 2006, and was presented with an award for the highest mark in the theory section of this exacting exam, and was subsequently appointed Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine!

With regard to her specialist subject, Spanish Wine, Sarah Jane Evans was made a member of the exceedingly prestigious Gran Orden de Caballeros de Vino in 2010, with a number of similarly impressive appointments to various Denominaciónes de Origen throughout Spain. Thus, she is already established as another major influencer, but that’s not all!

Her recently published book, The Wines of Northern Spain, has been given glowing reviews by expert and novice alike and with, we understand a sequel (perhaps to be titled The Wines of Southern Spain?) in the offing, there can be no doubt about her eligibility for this list!

Victor de la Serna is the person I go to first when I need some information about Spanish Wine. Described, accurately, by Wikipedia as a journalist and writer, Victor is in fact so much more! A winemaker himself (award winning and Parker+ high pointer, Finca Sandoval, DO Manchuela) he is co-founder of the prestigious Grandes Pagos de España.

It’s really helpful to have someone like Victor readily available, as he always is, to answer any questions I have about Spanish wines and the Spanish Wine Scene in general. Victor uses Twitter often and I always receive notifications when he has something to say. He is one of the best respected Spanish wine commentators, and as such, a Mover and Shaker!

I’ve been following Andrew Halliwell on Twitter ever since we were in contact about a wine project on which he was working in DO Terra Alta. Andrew is a consultant winemaker with fingers in (not literally!) a few bodega pies here in Spain. Having tasted the wines which he helped make with owner, Andy McLeod, at Celler Alimara it became instantly clear to me that here is a guy who knows how to make wine!

Andrew travels around Spain consulting, and learning too, I’m often in contact with him, he always has a view on whatever aspect of Spanish wines I’m considering for Cork Talk, and he’s thus a valuable influencer!

I also came to know and follow Fintan Kerr through comments he and I made via Twitter – it’s an excellent resource for me, and I like to think I make a contribution too! Fintan qualified with honours in the Wines and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) Diploma and is now on the long, arduous and very expensive road to Master of Wine status. I’m sure he’ll make it!

Fintan’s all round wine knowledge, experience and expertise is already excellent, but he keeps studying. Living in Barcelona he certainly contributes to the Spanish wine scene, as well as that of world wines! Facebook Colin Harkness Twitter @colinonwine