A Very Likeable Rogue in his Sunday best
Matsu “El Picaro” Tinta de Toro (DO) 2017, 14.5%, €16.95 Bradley’s
This “series” of wine, Matsu de Domingo”, recalls the spirit of the old Spanish Sunday: rest, church in your Sunday best, special dishes and the best wine opened. Check the website here for more details on this and others in the series.
Tinta de Toro is, as you probably know, Tempranillo, and the Matsu vines in the Toro region are cultivated using organic techniques. Like the man on the label, this El Picaro has youth on its side, even if the fruit comes from 90 year old vines. The other wines show progressively older faces - worth a look on their website.
And that youth is illustrated in the deep ruby colour. There are intense dark berry aromas. On the palate, fruit flavours are the prominent feature as this fresh wine makes his merry way to a very pleasant finish indeed. Very Highly Recommended. I told you this is a engaging rogue! Even if some frown when there is a giggle, with El Picaro at its source, in the back of the chapel.
“The freshly ironed new shirt, the shiny shoes and the special hat. The best stews and the best wine. Tomorrow they will go back to work, but today is a day to rest and celebrate. Today is Sunday.” Enjoy!
Gerard Bertrand Banyuls Traditionnel (AP) 2013, 16%, €23.95 (got it on sale 19.16) O’Brien’s
Grenache, mostly from ancient bushes and often harvested only when they have reached the dried wrinkly stage (like raisins), is the main grape in this naturally sweet wine (vin doux naturel or VDN for short). The fruit is grown in Mediterranean cooled French vineyards around Banyuls-sur-Mer, close to the Spanish border.
While the traditional vinification process is underway and when the alcohol reaches 8 or 9 per cent, fermentation is halted by light fortification with a spirit. That full-stop leaves some sugar in the wine.
Banyuls is often compared to Port but is a gorgeous dessert wine in its own right, tasting drier than it actually is - no cloying syrupy stuff here.
In the Rhone area of Rasteau they make a similar red dessert wine that also goes well with blue cheese (among other things, including chocolate). The World Atlas of Wine says straight out that Banyuls is France’s finest VDN.
Our Gerard Bertrand has a garnet colour; the aromas are of small red and darker fruit. On the palate it is full and well-balanced, fresh, elegant, yet with power and persistence. Very Highly Recommended.
They recommend pairing it with desserts of fruit, with créme brulée, with foie gras and also as an aperitif. I tried it with a mature Cashel Blue and it was quite a treat.