LA GRAN CATA CHEZ NOUS
PART TWO – THE REDS!
If you were able to read last week’s article you’ll already know about La Gran Cata Chez Nous (yes, I know, a sort of language fusion thing, but it works, I think?!). The article is still available at www.costa-news.com click Cork Talk, so I won’t spend too many words describing it here.
Put simply, it’s a rather exclusive wine tasting with some of the best wines in Spain paired with gourmet tapas, held at our home. It’s a lot of hard work, but worth it we hope – and judging by the comments that continue to come in (www.colinharknessonwine.com click Client Comments) it seems that our thoughts are borne out! Thank you, to those who have kindly commented!
This week it’s the turn of the reds. It is still true to say that Spain is considered, first and foremost, a red wine country. More Spanish red wine is sold than any other style (with the possible exception of Cava, whose stocks will even now be increasing dramatically in time for the phenomenal sales before and during the Christmas period).
The red wine contingent included wines from: DO Montsant; DO Ribera del Duero; and Vino de la Tierra de Castille y Leon. I think we all agreed that it was practically impossible to choose one that was above all others – it truly was a formidable group of Spanish reds offering a multitude of aromas and flavours, considerable complexity and depth, as well as unabridged hedonistic pleasure!
Auditori 2013 from Acústic Celler, DO Montsant is one of the flagship wines of this young D.O. Perhaps readers will remember that, some years ago, if buying wines from DO Tarragonna, one always looked first for those from the sub-zone Falset.
Bordering the hallowed lands of DOCa Priorat (home to Spain’s equal most expensive wine) the soils of Falset have similar characteristics, in which the indigenous grape variety Garnacha thrives. So much so, that the burghers of Falset sub-zone decided to apply for full D.O. status, which was granted not long ago. They left D.O. Tarragonna and haven’t looked back!
Auditori 2013 has been given 94 points out of 100 by one of the wine world’s most influential critics, Robert Parker – and this on the back of the highly praised 2011 vintage which was similarly lauded. Made with Granacha coming from old vineyards some of which were first planted four years before the 2nd World War when Spain was beginning to suffer its dreadful Civil War, the wine has a depth of flavour that only comes from venerable old vines.
The grapes are gently pressed in traditional old wooden presses before fermentation. Once the rich juice has morphed into wine it is placed in barricas which are stored in the old cement tanks underground, where it stays for 12 months. The dominant flavours and aromas are those t hat come from the grapes, as they should be, of course, but the judicial use of oak has paid dividends, adding integrated taste and fragrance, depth and complexity.
The overall sensation is of luxurious dark brambly fruit with some earthy notes and a super length. It’s a wine that will also age gracefully, providing real pleasure for years to come. Lovely wine!
The next wine we tasted was the VdlT wine, Mauro VS 2011 – a quite remarkable wine! The moment the cork was pulled (in fact it was me alone who had this initial pleasure as I’d opened all reds well before the tasting, though the same was noted by tasters later, when the wine was finally poured) the most alluring aromas assailed the nose, in the nicest possible way. There’s a deeply scented dark fruits confitura fragrance to this, a Guía Proensa 92 pointer, with a rrp of 53€!
Mauro VS is made with Tinto Fino, or Tinto del Pais, or the more famous name, Temporanillo. It’s made in the same sort of area, same sort of soils and climate as Ribera del Duero and it has that unmistakeable depth of rich fruit flavour, so typical of wines from this part of Spain.
The wine has also enjoyed (and I use the word advisedly) over 30 months in oak, but it’s the fruit that bis to the fore. Here we must credit the winemaker, of course, who has added depth of flavour, complexity and a wonderful, rich unctuousness by the use of oak which he has not allowed to overtake the quintessential fruit delivery. A masterpiece!
You may find richly flavour dark red fruits, loganberry for example, with some picota cherries as well as an earthy character with more than a hint of bay leaf, which in fact complemented perfectly the beef in wine tapa with which it was served. A superb wine!
Our final wine of this year’s event was from D.O. Ribera del Duero, Aalto PS 2011, crafted by Bodegas y Viñedos Aalto. I can assure that it’s not only the double ‘A’ at the start of the name of this bodega that ensures it’s at the top of the D.O. Ribera del Duero listing. It’s clearly the quality of the wine as well!
Proensa give this wine 98 points, as does Robert Parker, and I certainly wouldn’t take issue with this! Aalto PS is a glorious, quite exceptional wine whose rich, voluptuous ripe fruits flavour is also steeped in elegance. There was an almost tangible gasp when the wine was poured as its aromas rose like a genie from the lamp enveloping us all in its spell.
Yes, I know, I may seem to be a little too theatrical here – but try it and you’ll see what I mean!
In July, when I contacted the company asking for this wine to present at this annual event I was most impressed with the reply I received. They would be happy to support the event, but for the time being were unwilling to release the wine for transport at a time when we were all suffering from the wild temperatures of that, the hottest July I can remember. I would receive the wines, but not until things had cooled down sufficiently – they wanted to ensure that their wine was served in its absolute Sunday Best!
It worked – September had cooled and the wine was a real hit! Priced at about 70€ a bottle, it’s clearly, to most of us anyway, a ‘special occasion’ wine. But what an occasion!
2011was a year that was extremely favourable to the vines – the right amount of pre-growing season rain, extensive sunshine hours but without the acidity-sapping, oven like heat during the day, and almost the perfect, far cooler night temperatures that help vines so much.
It’s full of concentrated black fruit on the nose and the palate with a forest undergrowth foundation, helped, but certainly not overwhelmed, by its 22 months in barrel, which adds complexity and depth to the mix. A superb wine to drink with a splendid dinner as well as on its own when you have time to ponder the question – just how good is life?!
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