Showing posts with label Xarel-lo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Xarel-lo. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A pair of gems from the north of Spain, Graciano from the northwest, Xarel-lo from the northeast

A pair of gems from northern Spain

Graciano from the northwest

Xarel-lo from the northeast

Ruiz Jimenez Valcaliente Rioja (DOC) Graciano  2013

12.5%, €27.00, Restaurants mainly and Mary Pawle

Think Rioja reds and you think Tempranillo. Not in this case. This organic wine by Ruiz Jimenez is one hundred per cent Graciano, a tough-skinned grape with good acidity that accounts for only a tiny minority of the harvest in Rioja.

Graciano is a tough one to grow (it doesn’t handle stress well, is susceptible to mildew) but, according to Grapes and Vines, “that doesn’t stop the good guys from trying”. And Ruiz Jimenez is one of those good guys if this bottle is anything to go by.

It has intense purple colour. Intense aromas too, with black fruits leading, hints of vanilla, blossom also. Power and balance in the juicy palate where the varietal’s acidity stands out, oak is well integrated and there’s a fine finish as well. Very Highly Recommended.

Importer Mary Pawle fills us in: Graciano grapes, Malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels for 4 months and another 4 months in a concrete egg...… A suitable match for smoked meats or charcuterie and semi-hard cheese.

Ruiz Jimenez: We grow our vines and fields with the greatest combination of climate, soil composition, and organic matter. It is the product of more than 30 years of organic agriculture.... A special wine, which can accompany an appetizer such as cured and semi-cured cheeses, black olives, smoked tapas, sausages and especially suitable for game birds and red meat.

Found these suggestions online: Chorizo and lentil stew with Morcilla (Spanish blood sausage); Lamb-stuffed bell peppers; Seared kangaroo with raspberry glaze.

Entre Vinyes Oníric Brisat 2020, 11.5%

€16.75 Organico, Bantry, Lettercollum Kitchen in Clonakilty, Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny, Quay Co-Op, Urru, Bandon, various restaurants and Cafes, and MaryPawleWines

From old bush vines (in poor quality soil) fallen into disrepair and now rehabilitated, amongst forest land that provides the area with a rich biodiversity, comes this wonderful white wine, aromatic and flavourful.

Colour of this organic Penedes is a light orange and it has a slight haze. Apple and citrus notes in the aromas.  The assertive palate is packed with tangy lemon notes and there is more than a salty hint of Sherry through to the fresh and savoury finish “coming from 6 months ageing in amphora on the lees”. Soft and very drinkable, this is an orange wine for everybody. The grape is Xarel·lo which, as you know, is one of the main grapes used in Cava. Very Highly Recommended.

Importer Mary Pawle: “Entre Vinyes is a personal project of Maria Barrena (Azul y Garanza in Navarra) and this Penedes white is a lovely expression of the local grape variety.” She also suggests that it is the perfect introduction to orange wine.

The producers: “With an average age of 60 years, these vineyards of Xarel·lo, Macabeu and Parellada are in the natural environment of Foix, surrounded by oak and pine forest, under a dry climate and on a porous soil (which swallows the water) and limestone, very poor and shallow, with hardly any organic matter. The great biodiversity present creates a unique ecosystem that naturally regulates the balance of the vineyard.”

The grape juice is left in contact with the skins for about 12-14 days and then kept in clay Amphora and steel tanks. It is unfiltered and unfined, low sulphur and low alcohol.

Managers and winemakers of the Entre Vinyes de l'Arboç Winery (Baix Penedès) are Maria and Josep who started from scratch in 2012 after taking over a set of very old parcels from Josep's father, and have slowly seen their dreams realised. Appropriately, the word “ONÍRIC” is relative or pertaining to a dream”.

We have reviewed a few of the ONÍRIC wines recently, one here  and their impressive Pét-Nat here .

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.

Monday, July 2, 2018

White Wine Weather. Three of the very best!

Trimbach Riesling Alsace (AC) 2015, 13%, €15.96 (was 19.95) O’Brien’s

Trimbach (not Jean methinks!) sum up their wine story that began in 1626: “exceptional terroirs and fine wines”. And so they continue. This is “a great example of dry Riesling” according to Decanter, talking about the 2014 edition.

It is indeed a lovely wine with a light strawy colour. Apples and a touch of lime in the restrained aromas. Smooth on the palate with terrific white fruit flavours and the amazing dry finish goes on and on. Well made as you’d expect from this producer and Very Highly Recommended (even at the regular price - I got this in a sale).

Gitton Père & Fils Les Montachins Sancerre (AC) 2014, 12.5%, €23.95 Karwig Wines

Colour of this 100% Sauvignon Blanc is a light straw, tints of green. Fairly intense aromas, lime and apple, mineral notes too. Terrific rush of outstanding flavours, citrus now prominent, matched by an equal burst of the most refreshing acidity. And the finish lacks nothing at all, long and satisfying.  No need to say too much about this one, just Very Highly Recommended.

Speaking of the variety, says the key selling point of Sauvignon Blanc “is its straightforwardness” and that is certainly the case here. Its home land is the Loire and it is now found growing successfully in quite a few countries, notably in New Zealand.

Pair with oysters, crab, delicate white fish, green vegetables and salads, and cheese (goats in particular).

Albet i Noya El Fanio Xarel-lo 2016 Penedes (DO), 13%, now €17.00 Mary Pawles Wines.

Colour of this organic wine is light gold.
Citrus, gooseberry, floral notes too, in the nose.

Lovely creamy mouthfeel here - it had been on lees for six months; herb flavours to the fore, thyme and rosemary and other notes from the local scrub, fresh and lively acidity too make this a very friendly wine indeed, a distinctive one also and Very Highly Recommended. Great value as well.

El Fanio is the name of the vineyard and the grape variety is Xarel-lo, familiar to many of you as a key grape in Cava. The wine is aged in cement eggs (not very romantic!) and in acacia barrels.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Xarel-lo Still Wine. And two other whites.

Xarel-lo Still Wine 
And two other whites.
Albet i Noya Curiós Xarel-lo Penedes (DO) 2016, 12.5%, €13.90 Mary Pawle Wines

This is an organic wine, made from Xarel-lo, the grape synonymous with Cava, in the Penedes region of Catalonia. 

Colour is light straw, very light. Fresh fruit, green and citrus, in the aromas, floral elements too. Fresh too on the supple palate, the flavours combining with the initial aromas to pleasantly surprise the taste buds, lively acidity also, and this lovely white also finishes well.

Food advice comes from the producers: on its own or serve with chicken or risotto dishes. Get a few of these in for the warmer days ahead (coming soon!!!). Highly Recommended. Well priced too, by the way.

Gitton Chantalouette Pouilly Sur Loire (AC) 2013, 12.5%, €20.65 Karwig

A pleasing light straw colour. White fruit aromas of moderate intensity, hint of honey. Smooth on the palate, good mix of white fruit flavours, slight sweetness, and lively acidity before a lip-smacking dry finish. Recommended.

It is a blend of mainly Chasselas and Sauvignon Blanc (10 to 15%) and has spent 3 months in barrel. While there is a town called Chasselas in the French region of Maconnais, Wine-Searcher reckons the grape originated in Switzerland where it is the “most important and widely planted white grape variety” and matches well with traditional local cuisine like fondue. My match: Knockanore Cheddar and a few dried apricots from Lenny's  stall in the Mahon Point Farmers Market.

If you go reading up on this little known grape, avoid Grapes and Vines (Oz Clarke and Margaret Rand). “Suffers from a certain folie de grandeur” is one put down, referring to a Swiss wine. Delusions of grandeur. Don't think that Gitton Père et Fils would agree!

Maison Ambroise Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits (AOC), 13%, €27.45 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This wine is limpid in the glass, the colour a light to mid yellow. Nose is attractive, fresh, peachy. Superb fresh flavours (stone-fruit, citrus) in the mouth, no shortage of acidity either, all the way to a lip-smackingly finish. Recommended.

Maison Ambroise owns organically certified vineyards on some of the finest sites of the Côte de Nuit. I also spotted a mis-translation on the label. Their wines are generally “aged in French oak barrels to give addiction depth and complexity”. You have been warned!