Delight (Delit), defined:


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 ( 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:;; Twitter @colinonwine; Facebook Colin Harkness; Youtube: Colin Harkness On Wine

Summer Break!

Many thanks for consulting my Events Page – in truth I’ve been rather lax in keeping this up to date, my apologies! However, I have made it part of my focus for the future!

So, after my summer break, I will be keeping this page up to date, advising of the various wine related events with which I’m involved.

I do hope you will be able to join us at such events  when we restart in September.

Have a great summer!

Black Chardonnay? Orange Wine? How Can This Be?


Bodegas Pigar, whose co-founder (recently, and with his father), Juan Piqueras, International Wine & Spirits Competition Gold Medal winning wine-maker (when working for another winery) crafts a Spanish Chardonnay, that I believe will become a benchmark for its style. He also makes a super Orange Wine – and yes, you are starting to hear more about this newly revived, but ancient (that’s 8,000 yrs!) method of making wine!

Let’s start with the Chardonnay. (Incidentally, I used to know a dog called Chardonnay, a beautiful Golden Retriever, named presumably after an Aussie Chardy, because of the colour! However, she perhaps might have been named after a Black Retriever – you’ll understand why soon!).

Juan’s Pigar Chardonnay 2017 isn’t in the style of such a richly coloured Aussie Chardonnay; nor is it like an opulent, oak first Californian one of a few decades ago. It isn’t a steely Chablis, or an elegant Burgundy. It makes its own mark – and all the better for it. However, its creation does owe something to an old style Burgundy!

Juan’s Chardonnay vines are but ten years old and grown in dry soil, yes, but it’s quite fertile too, which in some ways is the antithesis of modern fine wine making. The nutrients in the soil provoke lots of bunches, which is what Juan requires for this wine, as lots of bunches mean that the grapes remain very small and, crucially, ripen slowly. This, in turn, means that they maintain the exact level of acidity that he requires.

Now for the Burgundy bit: Black Chardonnay (presumably translated from the French?), is the name given to an old (perhaps 80yrs) method of wine-making, from Chardonnay’s natural home! The juice from the grapes is subjected to the oxygen that’s in the air, turning it almost black! However, soon the phenols that are in the must (juice), because of the crushing (note, crushing, not gentle pressing), start to feed on the oxygen, magically eradicating it and returning the chardonnay juice to its natural colour, before fermentation, using wild yeasts! Fascinating* – and completely new to me!

For extra texture, as well as a contribution to the flavour of the wine, this Chardonnay is left with its lees for six months, with stirring, resulting in a slight, very pleasing creaminess. However there is also the fresh, and refreshing acidity, which keeps the wine fully alive.

The result is an astonishingly good, Spanish Chardonnay!

Juan has also just marketed his Orange or Amber wine. Orange wines are made from white wine grape varieties, but with extended skin contact – as in red wine making. This long skin contact gives the wine an amber, or orange colour – but a lot more too! I’ve tasted several Orange Wines recently and I have to say, I’m a fan – though they are dividing commentators.

I actually think that they will eventually be accepted by most wine people, and ultimately most consumers as well. I hear, for example, that it’s common in Canada for Orange Wines to feature on restaurant wine lists, up there with whites, reds, rosés et al. Conservative minded Spain (wine-wise, that is, given the recent change in Prime Minister!) will take some convincing – but I’m predicting that it will happen!

If you’d like to try this ‘new’ style of wine, Pigar Orange Wine is available now. The generally accepted idea is that such wines do better when they are made from aromatic varieties – Moscatel is such a variety, of course, and prevalent in the Costa Blanca. It is used in Juan’s Orange Wine, but at only 10% it’s contribution has to be less than that of the other shareholder, Tardana, also known as Planta Nova.

This variety is rare, used mostly just in Utiel-Requena. Along with the Moscatel, it was kept in contact with the skins for 25 days and fermented in tinajas, earthenware amphorae, where it was aged for four months. I love it!

But how to describe it! It has a certain nutty aroma, there’s a sense of it being a little like a spirit in its mouthfeel and flavour and smell, with faint touches of very dry cider (the English type, served cloudy – though the wine is clear) and perhaps bruised apples and pears. Astounding – you have to try it!

Bodegas Pigar is a work in progress. Juan has established himself and his wines in the market place – however, he is not satisfied with just that. He’s just produced a Sparkling Wine, made with the very old and DO Utiel-Requena de-listed variety, Royal, by the Ancestral Method, which precedes the Champagne Method, now known as the Traditional Method. You can contact Juan Piqueras here

Private Villa Wine Tastings/Pairings = Something Different!

Hi Colin,
Many thanks for the professional, interesting, relaxed and fun wine tasting/food pairing you gave last week, the guests were overjoyed with the evening and the feedback has been excellent. It was an absolute pleasure working with you, I look forward to many more.
Best Wishes