Two Top Wines Just For You.
An Elegant Cool Jazz Rioja.
And A Flirty Bossa Nova Pét-Nat
€18.25 Organico, Bantry / Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny /Mortons of Galway / The Olive Branch, Clonakilty / The Dairy at Toon's
This Crianza Rioja has a dark cherry colour with a ruby rim. Aromas include red and black fruit notes and vanilla too. More dark fruits, especially plum on the palate, spices also in this rich wine. In the flavours, herbs, raspberries, plums and a little anise. Enough acidity to maintain balance. Rich and elegant with a lengthy, and spicy, aftertaste. A superb example of Rioja quality and Very Highly Recommended.
Importer Mary Pawle says: An exceptional blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, elegant with nicely concentrated cherry fruit and stylish vanilla oak. Smooth and easy drinking .
The label indicates that it is organic, has been aged in barrels 12 months. “From our oldest Garnacha and Tempranillo vineyards. Organically grown, harvest and selected by hand.”
Osoti by the way is a brand of Vinedos Ruiz Jimenez and you will see quite a few of his excellent wines on the Mary Pawle list.
This is not one of quiet wines. Osoti: “Robust wine of balanced acidity. It has enveloping, silky tannins, which together with the notes of smoked, dried fruits, vanilla and cinnamon, give us a … prolonged palate. Best pairings include, blue fish, red meat, various types of cheeses, snacks, etc. Also enjoyed alone or with good company. Made with 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha organic grapes.”
Wondering what a Crianza is? Well, it it one of the classifications that indicates the age of the wine in your bottle and you’ll see a stamp at the rear to confirm it. Reserva is another but you should note that Rioja takes these terms seriously, it is a guarantee, and you can rely on the system. In some countries, reserva is at the producers whim, with no supervisory system in place!
Generic: This category guarantees the origin and vintage of wine. They are usually wines in their first or second year, which keep their primary freshness and fruit. This category may also include other wines that do not fit into the categories of Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, if they have been subjected to an ageing process that is not certified by the Control Board.
Crianzas are wines which are at least in their third year, having spent a minimum of one year in oak barrels. For white wines, the minimum barrel ageing period is 6 months.
Reserva These are meticulously selected wines with a minimum ageing between oak barrels and the bottle of three years, of which at least one has to be in barrels, followed and complemented by a minimum 6 months’ ageing in the bottle. For white wines, the minimum ageing period is 2 years, with at least 6 months in barrels.
Grand Reserva These are wines of great vintages that have been painstakingly aged for a total of sixty months with at least two years in oak barrels and two years in the bottle. For white wines, the minimum ageing period is 4 years, with at least 6 months in barrels.
€16.75: Ardkeen Grocery , Waterford / The Olive Branch, Clonakilty / limited supply
Pet-Nat is short for pétillant naturel: an ancient natural wine making technique. It is traditionally cloudy, unfiltered, and often bottled with a crown cap. The wine is bottled before primary fermentation is finished, without the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars. Nature is left to do its job and develop the finished product without the intervention of a winemaker. Each bottle is unique and you can’t predict what it will turn out like. It’s produced in white, rosé and red, making it a versatile choice.
Mary Pawle imports this lovely, lightly sparkling Rosé from Baix Penedes in Catalunya. Made with Garnacha grapes that are from vines almost 50 years old. Hand harvested and natural yeast fermentation. Just 11% ABV.
Colour is a cloudy rosé. On pouring, you create a large white “head” but it won’t hang about. This is easy drinking, approachable and refreshing, with good depth and length. And of course, it has that pleasant sparkly tingle. Crunchy red fruit flavours (raspberry, strawberry) and just enough acidity to balance, make it harmonious all the way to the lip-smacking dry finish. A wine for sun and fun and good company. Highly Recommended. It is enjoyed mainly as an aperitif but should pair well with seafood, also salads (both savoury and fruit).
- By the way, you will notice some sediment in the bottle. This, and the cloudiness, is a natural part of the process. If you wish, gently turn the bottle upside down and the sediment will dissolve. Just be careful when opening the cap, as the inversion could lead to a rush to the top! There won’t be any big bang but you could get wet! If you’d prefer not to drink the sediment, then just pour carefully and leave it in the bottom of the bottle.
Is it a copycat version of champagne? Not so. It is the other way around if anything, as Pét-Nat has been around longer. Pét-Nat is bottled while still undergoing its first round of fermentation. The French call this process “methode ancestral” and you may see that on some labels.
You may see “bottle fermented,” or the Italian “col fondo,” (more or less a pét-nat Prosecco). The crown cap and that little bit of sediment are other clues!
The method is pretty widespread across the wine world. Most are fun and good with food, especially lighter dishes. Uncomplicated, authentic and quite diverse, Pét-Nat puts the sparkle on your dinner table or even picnic spread. It is bubbles without the hefty price tag.