Have you all been well? Last weekend I rediscovered the joy of the Martini (while playing poker on a James Bond-themed poker set, no less) and hung down the beach, which was a great way to soothe the writer’s block that had set in after the great reception that my last post received. Thanks to all who connected with it – it was great fun to write and another one of the things that I strive to overcome in LTLT.
But let’s not dwell on past glories, no?
This week I’m having a look at the recent ‘Degustación de Vinos’ tasting that I, and a couple of you lovely people, attended. Some tastings, whilst always educational, are more ‘diamonds in the rough’ affairs; this was firmly a ‘jewels in the crown’ occasion. Hosted by Bibendum, one of Australia’s best wine importers (wholesalers) and a company that supplies many great wines to my LTLT portfolio, it was a chance for them to open up their burgeoning portfolio of Spanish wines and share them with both the trade and the public. These are small volume, artisan wines that you are more likely to find on the list at Movida than a bottle shop and hence it was a great chance to experience and learn about some wines that you don’t often see on tasting.
Overall, the standard of wines was exceptionally high, and showed a fantastic cross-section of the modern Spain – with fresh acidity and structure used to both lift the wines and control some of the potentially rougher tannin in some of the reds.
I guess that the standard thing to do right now would be to rattle off a few tasting notes, and I’ll provide a few attempts in a minute, but about half way through the 60 or so wines on offer, I realised that my flavour vocabulary just wasn’t up to describing much of what was in front of me. I was thinking about feelings and emotions, far more powerful than a few glib words about raspberries and liquorice. Moving through each producer’s offering, every new wine was eliciting an emotive response as I travelled further down the rabbit hole, unable to describe the magic that was leaping from the glass.
Tempranillo and Monastrell (Aka Mataro aka Mouvedre) are often described as the ‘workhorse’ grapes of Spanish wine, and this description could be used to describe some lesser Spanish wines – they’re reliable and get the job done without being exciting (and can be a bit blocky and old-school). I can happily report that very few, if any of the wines that were shown at this event should be encumbered with this description.
And so, let me eat my words and try to briefly describe some of the highlights from the night.
Sherry isn’t everyone’s cup of flor, if you get my drift, but If you like Sherry, and you don’t know of the Equipo Navasos wines: Run, don’t walk. If you are starting to discover Sherry, then you could do a lot worse than try the Argüeso Manzaniila with its irrepressible freshness and green olive saltiness.
Things got serious very quickly with the 2010 Pazos de Lusco Pazo Piñero Albariño, which is undoubtedly Albariño for Chardonnay lovers, bursting with unctuous kiwifruit and richness and backed with solid acidity. This theme continued with the exceptional 2011 Valenciso Blanco which leads out of the goalsquare with a linear nose and then bursts into a range of delicious flavours and textures on the palate. The vinous equivalent of a firework!
Leading off with the perfumed and spicy Mencia grape, there were some great examples from Valdesil and Mengoba (particularly the exceptional 2010 Flor de Brezo) before the wines from Domino de Bibei and Adega Algueira kicked it out of the park (my tasting notes for the 2010 Merenzao consists of about 10 highly enthusiastic ticks, it was a sexy wine and very pinot-like).
The Terroir al Limit table was where things really got beyond my powers of description. The two single vineyard Carignans: 2010s L’Arbossar and Dits Del Terra showed a coiled intensity that is almost impossible to describe. Seemingly delicate but packed with a fierce structure. Ending with the Iconic Spanish wine with a name like a like a zombie bullfighter, 2007 Clos Mogador and it’s dark spice and rushes of red fruit, I leapt through the Pedro Xinenez table and off into the night
And whilst these highlights barely scratch the surface, I’ll stop before I totally lose you all.
A fantastic event, and one that I hope is repeated next year. All of the wines are available on request via LTLT (subject, of course, to being in stock with the distributor). So if you’ve ever fancied dipping your toe in some new styles, get in touch and have a chat about how I can help you out.