21st June – Restaurant Puerto Blanco – Calpe

Members and guests enjoying pre tasting drinks

74 Members and guests gathered at the Restaurant Puerto Blanco to listen to members Andrew

VP Maureen Holliday

and Kathy Johnson present their Monovarietal Evening.   In the absence of our President,the Vice President, Maureen Holliday, welcomed members and guests, introduced the speakers and conducted the evening’s proceedings.

Andrew outlined the form of the tasting, by announcing that we would taste five very different grape varieties, albeit two were Tempranillo and coming from four different Denominación de Origen (DO).   Two of these were from Rioja, but neither typical of what we think of as Rioja wine.   Two of the grape varieties he surmised would be new to us and finally a desert wine made from a grape variety that we do not normally think of in that context. This introduction predicated what seemed to be an intriguing and interesting tasting.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.                     

Andrew Johnson

The first wine introduced by Andrew was Valcendon 2015 from DOC Rioja,   a Tempranillo Blanco.  This is a mutation of the red Tempranillo grape variety that is planted in Rioja. It was discovered near Murillo de Río Lez in 1988.  In 2007it was sanctioned by the Consejo . The grape grows in medium-sized clusters with loose, average size berries – yellow-green in colour. Bursts late but ripens early. At harvest the grapes usually have a high malic acid and high levels of aromatics that contribute floral, tropical and citrus notes to the wine. In appearance it is straw coloured with intense aromas on the nose with high notes of tropical fruits.  On the palate it is very smooth with a final slightly sweet finish.

Kathy introduced the second wine, Paco y Lola 2016 a 100% Alvarinho (Albariño) from the winery’s own vineyards. Rosalia de Castro Winery in Meaňo, Pontevedra which produces wines in the DO Rias Baixas. Recall steep vineyards, capturing the day’s sunshine, and retaining the warmth in the soil over the much colder nights. Alcohol content 13%. The nose: has strong hints of white fruit (green apples, pear) and lemony aromas, with hints of herbs (especially basil). On the palate taste pineapple and mango intermingled with refreshing citrus flavours.   And the best thing according to Kathy is that we can now buy this wine for 60 centimos a bottle less than 5 years ago.

Andrew followed with the third wine Josep Foraster els Nanos Rosat 2017. It comes from the D.O. Conca de Barberá. Hardly the best-known DO in Spain. Located in central Catalonia in the north of the province of Tarragona in the valleys of the rivers Francolí and Anguera, and is known for its white wines. This wine shocked both judges and wine makers at the Guia dels Vins de Calalunya tastings. It attracted headlines, and hence Andrew’s attention, and he decided he had to try it. And I love it! It is 13% ABV and is made from Trepat a grape variety almost unique to this area. Trepat is a red-wine grape variety indigenous to north-eastern Spain.   It is used in Rosado Cavas of the region but also used in red-wine blends along with Garnacha and Tempranillo.   Josep Foraster experimented with Rosado and the industry applauded.  The vines are in the Sierra de Miramar – 500 metres above sea level, facing the sea, inland from Salou.Lightly macerated the juice is fermented at a low temperature, to avoid rushing the wine, or making it too weighty.   It is salmon pink in appearance and on the nose quite rich. It’s like redcurrants and cream with some herby edges and maybe a hint of red pepper? On the palate it has quite a rich flavour; there are vegetable flavours, but also lots of fruit.

Andrew promised a second Rioja. On the wine trip to Monsant we were bowled over by old vine

Kathy Johnson

Garnacha.   Smaller crops, but bursts of great flavour!!  This fourth wine introduced by Kathy is Baigorri Garnacha 2012 (D.O.C. Rioja) with an ABV of 14.9%. Farmers have to be paid not to grub up these wonderful old vines, often over 100 years old. These vines are a minimum of 65 years old. The soil has high clay and iron content. So the taste reflects quite a difference from the slate soil wines of Montsant.  Matured for 14 months in French oak barrels. They use a mixture of 225, 500 AND 600 litre barrels to give them a wide range of oakiness for blending.   The colour is deep cherry red with a garnet rim.   On the nose it is complex, intense and spicy, with red fruits, vanilla an toasty.   On the palate it is elegant. The mineral notes are there, but it is balanced. The fruit is there up front, and it has the long finish that you would expect.

Finally Andrew presented his second Tempranillo Brújula Dulce, 2010 meaning Sweet Compass, hence the graphic on the label. A sweet but not sickly wine, coming from Bodega Pago Casa del Blanco, Vino de la Tierra, Castilla with an ABV of only 14%. However the flavour would suggest a higher, possibly even a fortified wine.   Harvested late, fermentation is stopped when the sugar content has reached 90 grams per litre. It is matured for 12 months in mixed French & American oak.  It has a deep rich dark red colour, very complex on the nose with wood aromas and a hint of saffron, cakes and biscuits. On the palate it fills the mouth and has a full long finish.

VP Maureen Holliday gave a vote of thanks to Kathy and Andrew.

Members and guests enjoying the tasting
Text by Gaby Ferenczy from notes provided by Andrew Johnson, photos by Gaby Ferenczy                                                                                                                                                June 2018