In a recent Cork Talk I mentioned that, when presenting wine tastings, I always like to include wines from some of the less famous areas of production, including, from lone-wolf, rebel producers who don’t subscribe to officialdom at all.
If, like me, you enjoy this laissez-faire approach and agree that it’s right and proper to let the limelight fall on those who usually find themselves in the shadow of the big boys, then, again like myself, you’ll be interested in
a relatively new wine distribution business, Vinistas. (www.vinistas.com)
Their hashtag slogan, Easywine, is pertinent in two ways: they make the job of sourcing such wines easy, and, if the wines I’ve tasted are anything to go by, they are all easy drinking, too! However, I should point out that these wines are not just vibrant, pleasant fun – there’s genuine quality and depth here. The sort of quality that should really make the big boys look to their laurels, lest they start to lose some market share!
Vinistas is the creation of Ruth de Andres, wine maker, who, along with her sister Ana, also run the De Andres Sisters wine making project, with Ana as the Project manager. Four of the six wines I received from Vinistas came from the De Andres Sisters winery (www.deandressisters.com/en/ where you can buy online), so it’s clear that Vinistas is a useful marketing tool for the sisters. However, tghere’s a lot more to it!
Ruth and Ana are passionate about the wines they include in their list. As a well known winemaker, Ruth has many colleagues, contacts and friends in the wine industry into whose hard-drives of stored knowledge she is invited to delve. She’ll hear about a bodega or even a single wine being made in a certain, less than fashionable area – and she’s on it! She, and the team are constantly on the look-out for the unusual, for wines that reflect not only the grape varieties used but also the soils in which the vines grow, the micro-climates, in short, the terroir.
Alegro Verdejo was the first of their wines that I tasted, in fact one from the Sisters’ own portfolio. Verdejo, now such a household name in Spain, and abroad, is a variety to which we can always confidently turn. Certain Sauvignon Blanc characteristics make the variety instantly accessible, then, when looking a little more closely the taster can discover some greater depth than is often found the perhaps one-dimensional Sauvignon. Good wine attractive label.
For my own tastes I preferred the other white I was sent. Made with the not so common (in Spain), nor that well known, Treixadura, Lagar do Brais, from Adegas (the Galician name for bodega) Francisco Fernandez, the wine has the instant attraction of such a fruit-laced perfume. But it’s not just about the aroma!
Easy drinking, yes, but some depth to the wine as well – Vinistas isn’t particularly looking for complexity, but in this wine there’s more than meets the nose and the palate. Citrus notes with a little mango on the palate and nose, plus a tantalizing touch of papaya.
Alegra Tinto, another from the De Andres stable, is made with Spain’s most famous variety, Tempranillo – and called by that name too, instead of Tinto del Pais, traditional in DO Ribera del Duero, from whence this wine hales, and one of the many aliases of Tempranillo. It’s a young wine, and proud of it, rounded on the palate with some tinned strawberry aromas as well as a touch of earthiness. Can be enjoyed simply as a red wine to drink with friends, but will also pair with BBQ good, meat pastas and grilled meats.
It doesn’t surprise me that the sisters also showcase a Garnacha – it’s currently a bit of a buzz-variety here in Spain, having been rescued from the also-ran bin by some dedicated winemakers in the Sierra de Gredos area. Plus, when treated well and not allowed to over crop and over ripen it makes lovely wines! Bululu is a VdlT Castilla y Leon wine (once again proving that DO status is by no means the be all and end all. Fermentation takes place in old cement deposits and uses only natural yeasts of the vineyards.
Talking of buzz-varieties, I loved the Mencia based DO Bierzo red wine whose lovely purple colour indicates its youth. The thinking behind this wine, Madai Origen Mencia, is that it is made (interestingly by two brothers!) in order to reflect this uniquely flavoured grape variety. There’s no wood involved – on the nose you’ll pick out some cherries and other lightly coloured red fruits a little granite-like minerality. There’s a lovely floral presence too. Probably my favourite wine of the tasting.
Oh Sister Superior, a Tempranillo wine with a little Garnacha added is made in the Rioja area, but it isn’t a DO Rioja wine. The sisters want the wine to speak for itself, without the help (perhaps hinderance?) of DOCa written on the label. It speaks well, too. Quite full on the palate initially, it softens a little bringing in an element of elegance. Six months in oak give it a little more weight than the reds above, a good length too.
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