members enjoying pre-tasting drinks
74 members and guests attended the September tasting at Restaurante La Senia in Denia.
John Davis our guest speaker from London was introduced by President Paul Nicholls.
John has decades of experience in the wine trade and he gave a fascinating insight into his theme of “Is climate change a good thing?”
“If like me you tend to disbelieve anything politicians say, you will have scoffed at Trump when he categorically stated climate change was not happening. Several US hurricanes, floods and wild fires later & he does not appear to have altered his opinion – or more likely the lines he is fed have not changed.
For me there can be little doubt that man’s interference with nature on a global scale has affected the world’s climate. It is more than a cyclical weather pattern that has yielded the hottest summers in Europe, and shrinking icecaps raising sea levels.
However it is not all gloom and doom. Science influences winemaking, and the challenge of combatting these wild weather patterns has led to some unexpected bonuses. New regions are open to growing vines, especially at altitude. And here in Spain we have a ready made answer – Galicia.”
It is not that long ago that the wine produce of this wonderfully picturesque northwest corner was consigned to the “oddity” cupboard. The whites were generally thin and acidic with no aging potential. The old cry of the wine not travelling well was not put to the test, as little was exported. The reds were virtually unknown. The main reason was climate.
2016 Bodegas Aldea de Abaixo SEÑORÍO DA TORRE [LEES] LIAS, RIAS BAIXAS
Blend – 85% Albariño, 15% Loureira and Caíño Alc 12.5% €9.08
Albariño has become the darling of the 21st century, and is one of the most distinctive white wine grapes in Spain. Its thick skin enables it to withstand the damp climate of Galicia. The Rosal wine, Señorío da Torre on Lías remains for twelve months maturing on its own lees, to achieve the release of polysaccharides This is a great wine to lay down for a few years,it is a limited edition wine:3,000 bottles and 250 magnums were released.
2017 QUINTA DO REBOLO, RIBEIRO 13.5% €7.26
100% Godello – between 9000 & 15000 bottles p/a depending upon vintage.
At its best it produces wines that are intense and tasty in the mouth, easily reaching 14º of alcohol with a good acidity, producing balanced musts, giving taste power to blends. In the Certificate of Origin Ribeiro it is usually added to give volume, oily texture and smoothness but it is increasingly appreciated as a single-variety.
Clean and bright straw yellow colour with green sparkles. Average aromatic intensity with a slaty middle (good terroir!); apple, grapefruit & peach. Well structured palate, fresh and sweet-edged. Elegant finish with very good acidity.
Awards / Medals : DECANTER 92, TASTINGS USA 91 Past vintages.
2014 Adega Eloi Lorenzo LONXE, RIBEIRO 12.9% €13.31
100% TREIXADURA Production – 4,666 botts. 186 Mags.
Located in the southern part of the D.O.P. Ribeiro, his vineyards have the highest altitude of the area , overlooking the river Miño. Using natural viticulture based on the principles of biodynamic agriculture with respect for nature helps the development of life on the plantation. Mountain living soil, poor and hard, granite/clay, produces an extreme climate but very balanced maturation. The grapes for this vintage were hand harvested between 15/18 September,2014. Once the grapes arrived at the winery, they were de-stemmed, squeezed and marinated for 8 hours at room temperature. Then bleeding, manual pressing in a vertical press, and passing the wort to stainless steel tanks, it cold-fermented for 20 days. It was left on its fine lees for 9 months, then clarified, filtered and bottled. The finished wine was cellared for 16 months before release. This vintage was bottled on June 13 2015, fruit day. Golden yellow colour. Aromas of cooked rice, dried fruits, and linen with a crisp, medium dry body then a captivating, honeyed apple, pepper, nuts, and bark finish. Chewy, fruit tannins. High minerality with a suggestion of grape skins. A mature white for the table.
2016 QUINTA DO REBOLO, RIBEIRO Mencia 12.5% €6.54
15,000 bottles produced MENCÍA 100% 2016 is considered an “excellent” vintage.
Hotter summers in Galicia have meant there is a greater need for good husbandry in the vineyards. Green harvesting and canopy management are now de rigeur to avoid sun scorch. The single-variety wines are fine, elegant and fruity, with hints of red and black forest fruits. It can reach alcohol levels of about 12-14 vol and its total acidity is around 4-5gr/l expressed as tartaric acid. %. Fresh wine, light and elegant, bright medium layer, red cherry colour with violet flashes. Aroma of red fruits – currant, cherry, blueberries. Silky and without astringency.
2016 CASALDRES, O ROSAL, RIAS BAIXAS 12% €7.87
Only 1,000 bottles produced Mencía 45%, Sousón 45% and Castañal 10%
It’s rare for a grape variety to break through to the mainstream as rapidly as Spanish red grape Mencía has. Just five years ago it was hard to find any at all in the UK. Now most retailers stock at least one example.
Our main conclusions on climate are as follows:
There are significant positive correlations between temperature and grape production and wine quality in the area. Rainfall has a negative correlation apart from during the bloom period when rainfall is beneficial.
Day-to-day variations in weather also influence both grape production and wine quality. Thus, S and SWcirculation types are beneficial when they appear during the bloom stage, but S types cause damage during veraison. Wine quality correlations are similar, considering again the harmful role of A types during the bloom stage that then become favourable during veraison. In this last stage, C, NW and SW types are negatively correlated with quality due to the rainfall and low temperatures associated with them at this time.
The vote of thanks to John Davis was given by Sian Bowen.
members enjoying the tasting
Text by Tim Fawle based on John Davis´ notes, photos by Paul Nicholls September 2018