15th March – Restaurant Abiss – Calpe

The evening started with a Cava reception in what we all knew as the ‘Champagne Bar’ of the Restaurant Abiss, which is now called Dorée. This bar has a really great setting overlooking Calpe Bay and the Peñón de Ifach, which at this hour and time of the year is a glitter of lights.   

members enjoying their Cava in the Dorée Bar

President Paul welcoming members

President Paul Nicholls hosted the night and he welcomed the 47 members and then introduced the evening’s wine selector,one of our members, Keith Pacey, who was introducing the Wines of Aragon for the evening’s tasting.   The land locked autonomous region of Aragon which geographically is situated in the North East of Spain consists of three provinces Huesca, Zaragoza and Teruel.   It shares   borders with France and the Pyrenees, Cataluña, Valencia, Castlle La Mancha, Castille Leon, La Rioja and Navarra and is bisected in the centre by the River Ebro.   The climate is continental very cold winters and hot summers. In wine terms Aragon has 4 D O’s, Somontano, Calatayud, Carinena and Campo De Borja plus a Vino De La Tierra area just south of Alcaniz (Teruel) centred around the area of Cretas.  The cost of each wine, where it can be purchased and average score given by members is shown in the list of wines tasted in 2018, which can be found by clicking on Wines Tasted in 2018.

The first wine was a 2016 Nietro Blanco and was from Bodegas Sommos Garnacha, Murero, Zaragoza which is in the D.O of Calatayud.  This very small winery is part of the Sommos Group from Barbastro in Huesca. The wine was 100% Macabeo from old vines, grown near the village of Castejon De Albarba. Traditionally cultivated bush vines at an average altitude of 900 meters on slopes with poor soils that have very little organic content. The vines on average are 40 years old and produce approx. 2 kg of grapes per plant these conditions and characteristic are quite rare. Harvest is 1st week in October by hand in small crates in order to prevent bruising and damage.   After maceration and fermentation they are aged in French oak barrels for 3 months with daily battonage. In the glass the colour is clear and bright pale yellow with greenish hues the aroma is intense fresh fruit, toasty wood from the barrel ageing and on the palate very smooth, rich and vibrant with a long elegant finish, Alcohol by Volume (ABV)13.5%. www.bodegasommosgarnacha.com

The second wine was a 2016 Glarima Varietales Blanco and was from

Keith Pacey presenting his wines

Bodegas Sommos, Barbastro, Huesca which is in the D.O. of Somontano.    This is a large winery and has an Iconic stainless steel and Glass structure with all the winemaking facilities underground This wine was  elaborated from 40% Chardonnay, 40% Gewürztraminer, 20% Pinot Noir  The grapes come from their Torresales and Montesa plots which are at an altitude of approx. 350 meters, Vines are trained on a trellis system  at a height of 1.8 meters and produce approx. 1.5 Kg per plant. Harvest was at night in the 3rd week in August.   Grapes are selected by hand in the winery, each variety is handled separately.   After maceration and fermentation they are blended together and aged for 4 months in French oak barrels with daily battonage. In the glass Pale yellow with pearlescent hues the aroma is intense tropical fruits a touch of sweet spice from the oak ageing and on the palate rich well balanced with good acidity and a long elegant finish notable flavours like those of the wines aromas, ABV 13.5%. www.bodegasommos.com

The third wine and our first tinto was a 2016 Flor De Anon Roble and was from Bodegas Santo  Cristo, Ainzon, Zaragoza which is in the D.O. of Campo De Borja, a medium sized Cooperative controlling approx. 1200 hectares of vines of which 75% are garnacha.   The wine is 80% Garnacha 20% Syrah, harvest late October, selected handpicked in 15 kg cases both varieties are processed separately throughout the wine making process and are aged for 3 months in oak barrels then blended and bottled. In the glass the wine is cherry red with slight purple hues, aromas complex and elegant, ripe red fruits combined with spicy & toasted notes, flavours warm balanced and well rounded, easy to drink with a good finish of ripe red fruits and toasted hints, ABV 14.5%.   www.bodegas-santo-cristo.com

The fourth wine was a 2015 Las Rocas Vinas Viejas  and was from Bodegas San Alejandro, Miedes De Aragon, Calatayud, Zaragoza  ( for those that can  remember the society visited this winery in 2010).   This is a large dynamic cooperative and is in the D.O. of Calatayud. The wine is 100% Garnacha from very old bush vines ranging between 80 to 100 years old, grown on mountainous slatey soils at altitudes of 800 to 1100 meters, with natural drainage. Harvested during the 1st and 2nd weeks of October.   After the wine making process the wine is aged in a selection of American and French oak barrels for a further 12 months. In the glass it is a very rich ruby colour, the aroma is spicy, rich cranberry and dark cherry fruits with hints of mineral, on the palate this wine is well structured has dark fruit flavours same as the aromas, elegant hints of oak with round supple tannins and fruit filled finish ABV 15%   www.san-alejandro.com

Our final wine was a 2011 Gran Vino Lataste Tinto and was from

Helen proposing the vote of thanks

Bodegas Lalanne, Barbastro, Huesca which is in the D O of Somontano.  This is the oldest bodega in the D O founded in Bordeaux in 1842 by the Lalanne family. Due to the phylloxera disease that swept Europe at that time the family moved to Spain in 1894, when they arrived in Barbastro they fell in love with this special land and bought “Finca San Marcos” approx. 4 km from Barbastro, they planted a variety of French vines that flourished, today it is managed by the sixth generation of the family. This wine was named after the founder’s wife’s which was Juana Felicia Lataste, Baroness of Bouchardeau. Every year they select the best bunches of each variety to make this very special wine (5000 numbered bottles) of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Syrah and Pinot Noir after the wine making process it is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels then bottled aged for several years in their cellars. In the glass Cherry Red colour, clean & brilliant, persistent aromas of ripe red fruits, fresh and savoury on the palate, round tannins, long elegant finish, ABV 14%      www.bodegaslalanne.es

The vote of thanks to Keith Pacey was proposed by Helen Nicholls

Members enjoying the tasting
Text by Keith Pacey, photos by Gaby Ferenczy                                                                                                                                                                                         March 2018