Showing posts with label Garnacha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Garnacha. Show all posts

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Iberian Aces From Mary Pawle. One Spanish Tinto. One Portuguese Branco.

Iberian Aces From Mary Pawle. 

One Spanish Tinto. One Portuguese Branco. 

Bodegas Pinuaga Tinto, Vino de la Tierra Castilla 2019, 13%, €13.15, Mary Pawle.

Pinuaga Tinto Stockists include:
Taste, Castletownbere
Olive Branch, Clonakilty
Mortons of Galway
Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny

The Grainey, Scarriff

Colour of this Spanish red is a mid ruby. The aromas are full of red and darker fruit. Very promising and that promise is fulfilled on the palate. Vibrant, with  fruit galore, expressive with a touch of spice, good acidity to balance. Young, yet with character, the blend is very approachable, all the way through to the finish. Your lips will tell you the tannins are still a factor. Nice touch of smoothness though in the mouthfeel. Very quaffable and should have no problem pairing with the suggested salads, tapas, pintos and bbq (serve at 12 degrees). Good idea to have a few of these bottles in the cellar or in your usual cool dark spot! Highly Recommended. Very well priced too by the way.

This wine comes from a single vineyard of 5 Hectare of Grenache and 3 Ha of old, Tempranillo bush vines. The Tempranillo clone is called Cencibel and it produces smaller grapes with very soft and silky skin and has a much longer ripening period. Hand harvested in early September, the wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks.

In 1960, the first generation of Pinuaga winemakers established the winery in the village of Corral de Almaguer, province of Toledo.

Today, the second and third generation of the Pinuaga family, Valentin and Esther, maintain the old vines with much care and pride, following a minimal intervention philosophy, using natural and artisanal winemaking processes and recovering indigenous clones. The quality of the wines is driven by the characteristic of the soils, age of vines, grape variety and organic farming practices; all of these parameters are present in every wine, making them singular and unique.

Altitude is a key factor here, as it is in much of Spain. According to the World Atlas of Wine, “a good 90% of all Spanish vineyards lie at altitudes higher than any major French wine region” and this, especially in Castilla y Leon, helps maintain acidity enough to keep the wines relatively fresh. The altitude benefit means “growers can depend on cool nights to ‘fix’ colour and flavour in the grapes ripened during the torrid summer days”.  

Casa De Mouraz Encruzado Vinho Branco DãO (DOC) 2016, 13%, €21.00 Mary Pawle Wines

Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny

+ selected Restaurants  

Leading Portuguese winemaker Antonio Braga admits to falling in love with the  Encruzado grape variety, the noblest white variety of the Dão: “It grows in complexity as it ages, is great for oak ageing. It has a wonderful gastronomic ability to cut through fatty foods. It is an autumn wine, a fireplace wine. It may not be in fashion but it is a wonderful variety, wonderful to work with.”

In 1997, Casa de Mouraz became the first biodynamic winery in the Dao. Portuguese grapes aren't that well known individually in this country. Encruzado, the grape here, is “potentially the best white grape of the DAO” according to Grapes and Wine. Barrel fermentation and lees stirring help bring out the character. It is indigenous and regarded as the most important white grape in the region and this particular wine has had eight months on fine lees with batonage.

Colour ion this 2016 vintage is a mid-straw. Aromas of medium intensity recall white fruits and citrus, floral notes too, and I noticed a slight whiff of a Riesling-like diesel. Fresh fruit flavours (apricot, peach), excellent mouthfeel, acidity enough to nudge it towards crisp and a decent citrus-y finish too. Mineral and  floral, fresh and structured, it is quite harmonious and Highly Recommended.

Food pairings include: Oven baked fish (such as codfish, salmon or tuna). Also very good with white meat and some vegetarian dishes like pasta with pesto or cheese sauces. Aside from handling full flavoured fish dishes (also the Portuguese favourite bacalao), it is excellent on its own. very versatile indeed. Serve at a temperature of 11-12ºC

The first thing you’ll note is that the cork is covered with a wax. Just remove that with the blade on your corkscrew. It is fairly soft but be careful! Alternatively, warm the top by rubbing it with the palm of your hand. Then plunge in the corkscrew as usual and it should all come away. If you get it right, just a little disc of the wax will come  away with the cork. Video demo here. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Very Good Wines From The Badlands

Superb Wines From Spain's Badlands

Badlands? In Spain? You may well ask. The Bardenas Reales is a semi-desert natural region, or badlands, of some 42,000 hectares in southeast Navarre (Spain). The soils are made up of clay, chalk and sandstone and have been eroded by water and wind, creating surprising shapes, canyons, plateaus, tabular structures and isolated hills. Here there is extremely arid soil where the vines are grown organically. And this is where you’ll find Azul y Garanza.

Azul y Garanza  “Naturaleze Salvaje” Navarra (DO) 2017, 13%, €21.85 Mary Pawle

The Intro: a limited edition, single vineyard, organic, low intervention, unfiltered red wine made from 100% Garnacha in the northern Spanish province of Navarra. “Naturally wild”.

The Lowdown: Mid to dark ruby. Red fruit, berry and cherry, in the attractive aromas, strongly fruity on the palate and a touch of sweet spice.  A fresh and sufficient acidity ensures harmony through to the satisfying dry finish. 

The Conclusion: Another well-made wine from the enterprising outfit that is Azul y Garanza, a terrific example of the Garnacha, and Very Highly Recommended.

The Background: The Garnacha vines have an average age of 40 years and grow at an altitude of 550 meters. They add: "The wine spends 6 months in amphora and 6 months in used 300 L barrels. Fertilizer: No Treatments: Sulphur (minimum dose). Eminently drinkable especially with lighter meat dishes, rich seafood, warm salads."

Tip for opening the bottle: the cork is sealed with wax. Don’t worry. Get out your waiter’s helper type corkscrew. Many easy-pull type corkscrews just can’t handle the wax. Simply angle your corkscrew into the top of the wax. Next, slowly twist the auger in, as you gradually bring your corkscrew to an upright position. Proceed as normal and the circle of wax on top will come away with the cork. This is fine at home but openings in a restaurant may require a little more finesse!

Desierto de Azul y Garanza Navarra (DO) 2007, 14%, €39.00 Mary Pawle

“Desierto is an exclusive wine made solely by the grapes from our Desierto (desert) vineyard.”

The purity of the nearby desert gives the vineyard an advantageous pathway to produce this bio wine without too much trouble. Perhaps the biggest human intervention is its 15 months in French oak.

Intense cherry colour with some lightening on the rim. Aromas are of ripe dark fruit, some savoury notes, and also smoky notes. Flavours deep and long-lasting, amazing concentration, fleshy, with a persistent finish. A singular wine from a pretty unique location and Very Highly Recommended.

There was a little bit of sediment in the 2007! Didn’t note that though when I enjoyed the 2012 a few months earlier. But no bother in any case.

Monday, January 20, 2020

A Superb Set of Organic Wines from Bodegas y Vinedos Pinuaga

A Superb Set of Wines from Bodegas y Vinedos Pinuaga 
In 1960, the first generation of Pinuaga winemakers established the winery in the village of Corral de Almaguer, province of Toledo.  They planted special old clones of Tempranillo  called Cencibel with smaller grains, silky skin and longer ripening cycles.

Today, the second and third generation of the Pinuaga family, Valentin and Esther, maintain the old vines with much care and pride, following a minimal intervention philosophy, using natural and artisanal winemaking processes and recovering indigenous clones.The quality of the wines is driven by the characteristic of the soils, age of vines, grape variety and organic farming practices; all of these parameters are present in every wine, making them singular and unique.

Altitude is a key factor here, as it is in much of Spain. According to the World Atlas of Wine, “a good 90% of all Spanish vineyards lie at altitudes higher than any major French wine region” and this, especially in Castilla y Leon, helps maintain acidity enough to keep the wines relatively fresh. The altitude benefit means “growers can depend on cool nights to ‘fix’ colour and flavour in the grapes ripened during the torrid summer days”.  

The Pinuaga vineyard area is really windy. The winemakers appreciate its benefits: “The vineyards are well aerated so it's a very healthy terroir. There is a lot of changes between the day and night temperatures too, which are very good for the ripening of the fruits.”

Pinuaga is situated close to the city of Toledo in central Spain, this is a huge wine making region with more land under vine than the whole of Australia. The wines are now being imported to Ireland by Mary Pawle and, as is consistently the case with Mary, are keenly priced.

Bodegas Pinuaga are very clear in their motives for using organic methods and they explain it well here - you may have to use the translate button! You'll notice they use cork in all their bottles. Why? "The use of cork helps maintain cork oak trees, which amongst many other things retain Co2. We have just received our first certificate with the details on our contribution in tons of retention of Co2." Their use of cork stoppers in the 12 months ended 31st December 2018 yielded a certified saving of 14.17 tonnes of Co2.

Bodegas Pinuaga Tinto (Tempranillo) “Nature” Vino de la Tierra de Castilla 2016, 13.5%, €16.60, Mary Pawle.

Dark red, more or less burgundy, is the colour. Red berries feature in aromas, blackcurrant and plum also in the mix. Much the same vibrant fruit features on the palate, some spice too, well-integrated tannins. Smooth and easy-drinking but with quite a noticeable backbone to it, right through to the lingering finish. One of the best Tempranillos I’ve come across and so Very Highly Recommended.

The fruit is hand-harvested by night, aged in stainless steel for almost a year and then “a slight oak ageing in used barriques for 3 months”. The producers are very happy with this organic wine: “It is a very versatile wine that you can pair or simply drink on its own." It is indeed, very quaffable and suggested pairings are:  Rice, pasta and all sorts of tapas. Casseroles also suggested.

Bodegas Pinuaga Bianco, Vino de la Tierra Castilla 2018, 12.5%, €13.20 Mary Pawle

This is produced from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes that are hand harvested mid August, fermented in small steel tanks and kept on lees for a minimum of 2 months. 

Light gold, hint of green. Apples, gooseberries, leaf notes, in the aromas. More towards citrus on the palate, something of a tingle as well. Good nettle-y acidity though. And a long dry finish, fruit and a little spice there to the end. It’s easy drinking and the producers suggest this crisp and lively wine as a suitable companion for salads, pastas or tapas or, because it is so refreshing, excellent too to drink on its own. Very Highly Recommended.

Sauvignon Blanc is known as a cool climate grape (the Loire and Marlborough for example) and the Toledo terroir that Pinuaga farms has a couple of things going for it in that regard. First the altitude is close to 800 meters above sea-level and, second, the area is quite windy. 

In addition, there is quite a difference between the day and night temperatures, very good for the ripening of the fruits. Decanter indicates that a large diurnal range can help grapes to ripen in a more balanced way. “Warmer daytime temperatures help to foster sugar development, but cool nights can help to preserve aromas, freshness and acidity.” 

Read more from Decanter here

Bodegas Pinuaga Tinto, Vino de la Tierra Castilla 2018, 13%, €13.20, 

This lively young wine is a blend of Garnacha & Tempranillo (Cencibel) grapes, from a single vineyard of 5Ha of Grenache and  3 Ha of old Tempranillo bush vines. Hand harvested in early September. The wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks.

Mid to dark ruby, bright. Fresh and fruity on the nose, nothing too intense. Young and expressive, crisp and lively plus a decent finish as well. Your lips will tell you the tannins are still a factor. Nice touch of smoothness though in the mouthfeel. Very approachable and should have no problem pairing with the suggested salads, tapas, pintos and bbq (serve at 12 degrees). Good idea to have a few of these in the cellar or in your usual cool dark spot! Highly Recommended.

Bodegas Pinuaga Tinto “La Senda” Vino de la Tierra de Castilla  2017, 13.5%, €14.80 

Mid to dark ruby. A Burgundy nose is suggested but a warm and fairly intense one. There’s the rich dark fruit of the Merlot, the red fruit flavours of the Tempranillo, a touch of spice and acidity too and the whole reaches a delightful harmony from the sip to well after the swallow.  This unoaked blend has an impressive depth of flavour, a wine with back-bone, yet is an easy-drinking style, a casual wine on its own or with casual food such as Tapas, pizzas and pastas.  The suggested serving temperature is 16 degrees and the pairing suggestion that grabbed my attention was grilled rosemary scented lamb chops. Very Highly Recommended.

It is organic and the blend,aged over lees during 5 – 6 months in small stainless steel tanks”, is 80% Merlot and 20% Tempranillo. No surprise that Merlot makes an appearance here as Bordeaux had a long history and influence in the north of Spain. Pinuaga is a Basque surname that means 'place in the pines’. La Senda means a path. Looks like a pair of sandals on the label!

Bodegas Pinuaga Tinto “Colección” Vino de la Tierra de Castilla  2016, 14.5%, €21.00 Mary Pawle

"This is a very special wine for us as it is the first wine we made at Pinuaga and hence why we call it Colección; Many of our customers recognize the label as the original Pinuaga wine. Grape Variety: 100% Tempranillo (Indigenous clone of Cencibel)."

Mid ruby’s the colour of this deep and intense organic wine. Aromas, red fruits to the fore, are a little on the shy side. It comes into its own on the palate, full of rich red fruit flavours, a touch of spice, smooth and rounded, tannins well integrated. Rich concentrated and elegant, it is certainly rather special and is Very Highly Recommended.

It is 100% Tempranillo from a single plot, aged for approximately 9 months in oak and that contributes to its overall character. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Gallina de Piel. Best of Design and Wine!

Gallina de Piel

The first thing that caught my attention when I got these two bottles were the labels and their amazing designs. Then again, I shouldn’t be too surprised because some of the best label designs I’ve seen in recent years have come from Catalonia.

Gallina de Piel is an exciting winemaking project from the former head-sommelier at El Bulli. David Seijas worked at Catalonia’s famous three-Michelin-starred restaurant for 11 years until it closed in 2011.

Along with Ferran Centelles (another El Bulli alumnus), this highly acclaimed Spanish duo’s aim is to create versatile wines from Spain’s gastronomic northern regions: Catalonia, Aragon and Galicia. They work with local growers, selecting the best vineyards and indigenous grape varieties.

The vineyards are located in the Penedès denomination at an altitude of between 750 and 1,000 metres above sea level on deep clay soil with pebbles on the surface. The vines are aged between 35 to 80 years old and trained on the double Guyot system.
Lithograph for the Mimetic label

Gallina de Piel Mimetic Calatayud (DO) 2018, 14.5%, €20.99
Baggot Street Wines; Blackrock Cellar; McHugh’s Off Licence - Kilbarrack Rd; McHugh’s Off Licence - Malahide Road; Drink Store Ltd; Bradley's, North Main St., Cork;

This first one, the first of the two that I tasted, certainly lives up to its billing. It’s a bright juicy Garnacha (98%) with an engaging freshness. Colour is a mid to a dark ruby. Dark fruits with a touch of herb (marjoram), feature in the aromas. First thing I noticed on the palate is the balance, no extremes in this graph, and that perfect harmony continues between the delicious fruit flavour and acidity. A touch of spice adds interest through to the lengthy finish. Elegant and fresh, this is Very Highly Recommended.

Vinification: Fermentation took place in concrete tanks using natural yeasts for three weeks. The wine then underwent full malolactic fermentation and spent six months ageing on fine lees in concrete tanks with periodic bâtonnage.

Gallina de Piel, `Ikigall` Penedès (DO) 2018, 11.5%, €20.99

Blackrock Cellar; Baggot Street Wines; McHugh’s Off Licence - Kilbarrack Rd; Bradley's, North Main St., Cork

Mid straw is the colour. Fragrant for sure, floral and citrus (lime). Immediately you note that tingly feel at the tip of your tongue, a feel that soon spreads, right through to crisp finish. Citrus flavours are subtly influential in this fresh and rather elegant white. Highly Recommended.

Xarel-lo is a light-skinned grape from Catalonia, northeastern Spain, and is one of the region's most widely planted varieties. It is perhaps best known for its role in sparkling Cava. The other grapes included here are Malvasia (10%) and Muscat of Alexandria (5%).

The 2018 vintage didn’t enjoy ideal weather but it all came good towards the end. The grapes underwent cold maceration for five hours before fermentation took place in stainless-steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 15°C. The wine then spent four months ageing on fine lees before filtration and bottling.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

High Quality Reds from High Altitudes

Alfredo Maestro “El Marciano”, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon, 2017, 15%, €19.65

Dark ruby colour. Aromas of dark fruit, cherry prominent. Spicy dark fruit on the palate, fresh powerful acidity, medium to full bodied, deep and generous, a harmonious example of the grape right through to the long dry finish. Very Highly Recommended.

I've seen it referred to as a glowing Garnacha. And why not? Le Caveau tells us winegrower Alfred Maestro’s mantra is:  “Wine made with only grapes, well-kept vineyards, and healthy land.” 

From the  beginning (he started making his own wine in 1998), he farmed organically.  But, in the cellar, he followed the book, followed the herd, until he began to question himself. No additives in the field so why not follow the same guidelines in the winery? And so he began. On his own path, a path that has led to this beautiful expertly crafted wine and others (he makes no less than 11 cuvées).

By the way, the fruit for this one (a great wine with roast pork) comes from 70 year-old Garnacha vines grown on decomposed granite soils at a staggering 1,150 m. elevation in the upcoming region of Gredos mountain range.  

Domaine Bousquet Grande Reserve Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) 2014, 13.5%, €24.35 Mary Pawle

A violet robe for this organic wine. Strong aromas of ripe red and darker fruits. Fruity and spicy on the palate with rounded tannins. Excellent concentration of pure fruit. Its time in oak (it has been aged in French oak for 12 months) has helped leave it velvety smooth and the finish is long and satisfying. Quite exquisite overall and Very Highly Recommended. 

Now what to match with it? The barbecue would be a good place to start. The label suggests grilled red meats, cheeses as well as chocolate based desserts. Some of you may well notice chocolate notes in the wine itself.

A 1990 vacation in Argentina was all it took. For third-generation winemaker Jean Bousquet, it was love at first sight. The object of the Frenchman’s desire: the Gualtallary Valley, a scenic, remote, arid terrain high in the Tupungato district of the Uco Valley in Argentina’s Mendoza region, close to the border with Chile. 

Here, where the condors fly and not a vine in sight, Bousquet discovered his dream terroir, an ideal location in which to nurture organically-grown wines. From that virgin territory, nothing planted, no water above ground, no electricity, the French wine-making family’s venture is now recognised as the source of some of Mendoza’s finest wines. The vineyard is located in the foothills of the Andes and is an incredible 1200 metres above sea level. Here the thermal amplitude contributes to fully ripened grapes with excellent acidity.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Four of the Best from O’Brien’s Summer Promotion

Four of the Best from O’Brien’s Summer Promotion
 -22nd July to 1st September-
The O’Brien’s Summer Promotion began this week and runs until 1st September. Over 100 wines are on offer, with discounts ranging from 6% to 42%. I think I've been lucky with the examples I've picked (below),  all red as it turned out.

But there is so much more in the promotion. Anyone for rosé? Why not try L'Ostal Caze from the many on offer. Whites to consider include the Château-Fuissé Saint-Veran  and the outstanding Robert Weil Riesling trocken. Having a little get-together out-the-back? There are two Rizzardi proseccos reduced and no shortage of cava or champagne either. Enjoy the summer! Responsibly, of course. Regular price in brackets.

Vaglio "Chango" Red Blend 2015 Argentina, 14.5%, 15.95 (18.95)

An expressive and pleasant wine according to the man who produced it: José Lovaglio Balbo, from Mendoza. Vaglio is a new micro-winery located in Tupungato created by José. He produces four single vineyard wines that all focus on micro-climates and minimal winemaking. José is a young winemaker at the well known Dominio del Plata and the son of renowned winemaker Susana Balbo. Each of his wines represent a unique terroir as well as different stages of his life. 

The fruit comes from different vineyards, the Malbec (65%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) are from Altamira and the Tannat (20%) is from Cafayate. It has spent 11 months in oak (2nd/3rd use barrels).

Colour is close to a dark ruby. Bruised red fruit on the nose, a touch of orange peel too, slightest hints of vanilla emerge also. Palate is soft, full of that red fruit flavour, then the long-lasting finish, with tannins that are not yet quite smooth. A really well-made wine from Mendoza, an amazing amalgam of the grapes and the terroir conducted by the young wine-maker. He does ask for your feedback on the bottle! Very Highly Recommended. Chapeau, José. @joselovaglio

Tandem, at the foot of the Camino de Santiago in the Yerri Valley, is a cool micro-climate where they practice sustainable farming and minimal intervention. Built north-facing and partially underground to use a gravity system, they have the finest natural conditions to age the wines.

Owner José María Fraile was in Cork last year and told us  the vineyard is quite close to Pamplona and on the northern edge of the Navarra wine region. “We like freshness and elegance and luckily we’re in the coolest part of the appellation. It is super green where we are, a big contrast with the desert in the south. The Atlantic influence, the cool summer nights and picking late in the season is good for the grapes and we get that natural acidity.” We would soon see how that acidity helped with the food pairings at 12 Tables.

Inmune (Spanish for immune) was one of the wines on the night, a 100% Garnacha paired with Gubbeen Chorizo, Ardsallagh Feta, Olive Tapenade, Romesco, Physalis and Avocado Oil. “Immune, to failure, to critics!”, joked José. “This is a powerful expression of the Garnacha (the vines are 70 years old and more); great depth and structure, a stunning wine that fills the palate.”

“We aimed to make a powerful, deep and concentrated wine, with nice weight and tannins in which the purity of the fruit garnacha would shine.” Reckon Tandem got it spot-on. Very Highly Recommended.

Leyda, 12 km from the Pacific is an ideal spot for viticulture. The maritime influenced cool conditions makes it an extraordinary area for the development of Pinot Noir. Vineyards are all on slopes, planted on the least fertile soils and they are managed in order to keep low yields. 

Light to mid ruby is the colour. Summer berries combine for an intense aroma.  Rich rounded palate of ripe red fruit (cherries prominent), a lively acidity, smooth tannins and a long and pleasing finish. An excellent Pinot Noir, Very Highly Recommended. Good value too, even at the original price.

Leyda, founded in 1997, are best known for their Pinot Noir (notably Lot 21), Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah (according to Wines of South America). This wine was aged in French oak barrels for ten months and pairs well with cold meats/pâtés, Duck, Pheasant/Pigeon, Pork Belly, Slow roast Pork loin.

Words of wine wisdom from the Contessa (below) encourage us to drink with emotion rather than a data sheet, passion rather than intellect.

Mid to dark ruby is the colour of this light Munus from the Lake Garda area. Aromas are intensely fruity, a hint of spice there too. Flavours are quite concentrated, acidity is excellent, hints of that sweet spice too, and a good finish to boot. 

All that acidity means it's meant for food. I’m thinking: Bring on the lamb! The producer says: “Superb with pork and poultry dishes and lighter game such as partridge and quail. Also porcini mushroom risotto.” Another note from the vineyard recommends it to be served (16° C or 60° F) with pork roast, spicy dishes or casseroles. Quite versatile apparently!

A wine that belies its youth.  Very Highly Recommended.

Lots of history behind Rizzardi and Munus which is produced mainly from Corvina, Merlot and Ancellotta grapes from their vineyards. 

Created to celebrate the Contessa Loredan Rizzardi, a descendant of the Loredan Doges of Venice and she has been quoted as saying that this is her favourite wine, adding You have a perfect marriage of grapes when one grape is not prevailing over another. ….But I drink with passion, and without brains. 

The label bears the word Munus - a gift - which was engraved on the silver coins given by the Doge on special occasions. It is part aged in large oak barrels. Serve at 16-18 degrees. Estate grown and bottled.

You may be wondering about the Ancellotta grape. Wine-searcher: Ancellotta is a dark-colored grape variety that originated in Italy. It is most often used as a blending component in sparkling red Lambrusco wines, but varietal examples can be found in BrazilArgentina and Switzerland.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

In Spanish Wine Week: A Couple of Compelling Spanish Reds

A Couple of Compelling Spanish Reds

The first thing you’ll notice about this wine is that Garnacha is displayed prominently on the front label. This is to distinguish it from the more usual Tempranillo. El Coto has six or seven vineyards in Rioja and these grapes come from their Los Almendros vineyard.

They say that Garnacha was, for years, “a disparaged variety due to its complex viniculture, but prepared and aged in barrels matched to its delicate and complex character, it results in very pleasant wines, with a lot of fruit and a good body, very much in line with the demands of the consumer of today.”

I certainly liked it very much. It has a mid-ruby colour with a lovely sheen. Pretty intense red fruit aromas, hints of vanilla. Juicy and fruity (cherry and more), fresh with balsamic notes, good acidity, fine tannins in a long finish. A vibrant harmonious wine, easy-drinking and Very Highly Recommended.

The character of the fresh fruit has been carefully respected during its 12 months in 225-litre American oak barrels (followed by six months in bottle). It comes to you silky and velvety with good intensity. Serve at 16 to 18 degrees. Perfect, they say, with white meat, certain fish (especially cod), veal and mild cheese.

Casa los Frailes Trilogia Valencia 2011, 14.5%, €19.00 Mary Pawle Wines, 

This compelling organic wine from the south east of Spain is a blend of Monastrell (70%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20) and Tempranillo (10) and aged for 12 months in Hungarian oak. 

It has a dark ruby colour and the legs are slow to clear. Rich powerful aromas with blackcurrant perhaps the more prominent. Super concentrated flavours of ripe fruits, fresh acidity and more than a touch of spice. This layered award winner finishes dry and long. Could be kept for a few years yet but it gives great pleasure right now and is Very Highly Recommended. 

Casa Los Frailes “was certified organic in 2000, being one of the very first ones in Spain. 15 years later, we are convinced that we do not only need to respect and sustain the land, but also transform it and make it a livelihood. As a result, we embrace biodynamic agriculture as an inspiration pattern and model.”

This is Spanish Wine Week in Ireland. Check here for details of the main events.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Trio of Excellent Reds from Mary Pawle Wines

A Trio of Excellent Reds 
from Mary Pawle Wines

According to Ana Fabiano in her 2012 book, The Wine Region of Rioja, you can expect good things from the winemakers of Rioja Baja. Their spirit is “based on enormous reverence for their land, respect for the heritage of their ancestors, and a commitment to carry it forward”. By the way, she mentions Luis Jiménez as one of the producers worth seeking out in the area and we have two of his below.

Ruiz Jiménez Paisajes Rioja (DOC) 2015, 14%, €17.70 Mary Pawle Wines

This organic Rioja is an “edition especial Garnacha 2015”, special because it is 100% Garnacha, not a drop of the customary Tempranillo. It is also rather special as “100% of the creative process is in our own hands.”

It is mid to deep ruby, bright and clear, legs reluctant to clear. Aromas of sweet red fruit, hints too of its season in the oak. Fruity and dry, elegant on the palate, this well balanced wine maintains its smooth power right through to the persistent finish, tannins still a factor. Beautifully reined-in power and Very Highly Recommended.

Pago de Valcaliente Rioja 2015, 14.5%, €26.30 Mary Pawle Wines

This organic wine has a cherry red colour. Fairly intense aromas of dark and red fruit fruits, and a hint of spice. Juicy, fruity and spicy, this young wine with its smooth tannins and balancing acidity is a tasty drop indeed and Highly Recommended.

The Valcaliente vineyard is in the Rioja Baja, one of the three areas of Rioja, and the producer is Luis Jiménez. This wine, a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, is aged in a concrete egg.

Domaine Bassac Syrah Côtes de Thongue (IGP) 2015, 13.5% €13.25 Mary Pawle Wines.

Produced by a young duo that started working here in the Languedoc in 2014, this Syrah is organic. It has a nice mid ruby colour and a moderately intense nose of blackcurrant. There is a fair concentration of fruit and spice in the palate. 

You’ll come across some much brasher Shiraz but this is a restrained and well-made Syrah, a rounded and a good warm wine and Highly Recommended. Importer Mary Pawle suggests trying it with Lamb Tagine. 

A young enough wine but do not hesitate to open an hour or two in advance and do also decant. Well worth the effort.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Excellent Spanish Organic Wine at SuperValu.

Flor de Anon Garnacha Campo de Borja (DO) 2015, 14.5%, €11.99 SuperValu

Red cherry is the attractive colour; quite light and could be mistaken in appearance for a Pinot Noir or Gamay. Nothing shy about the intense and complex mix of red and dark berries in the aromas (floral notes too). On the rounded palate it is engaging, the lingering concentrated fruit is well balanced by the acidity and the flavours fade hardly at all in the long soft finish. Easy drinking and Very Highly Recommended. Good value too, by the way.

So a quality organic from a  supermarket! Whatever next? It is not the first organic from Kevin O’Callaghan and his team at SuperValu but is one that has been highly anticipated. It is produced from the fruit of 20 year old vines and you are recommended to serve it between 14 and 16 degrees.

Campo de Borja doesn’t exact spring to mind if you are asked to name a Spanish wine region. I looked it up for you! It is an inland area in the north east, some 45 minutes north-west of Zaragoza, 75 minutes south-east of Logrono (Rioja). Your Supervalu though will be easier to find!

*Just noticed, on a leaflet via our post box, that SuperValu have an interesting organic wine from the Languedoc as Wine of the Month. You can get the Grain De Bio Des Terres De Gaujac for ten euro, marked down from €12.99. Great colour, great nose, full and smooth, according to the blurb. Sounds good. Must get my hands on one.