The President’s Christmas Wine Selection was enjoyed in the convivial setting of the Parador Jávea with 52 members attending. Our President Gordon Sellars presented some excellent wines and new discoveries following his visit to these wine regions during this year. Here are his comments:
Seminare 2013. Peñin 90 points – cost €12.00
This wine from Galicia is currently Gordon’s favourite white wine. He tasted it a few short months ago when his wife Caryl treated him to his 70th birthday dinner at one of Jávea´s finest restaurants. It is a markedly regional blend, combining the choicest grapes of the Albariño, Godello and Treixadura grape varieties which makes for a very distinctive wine which offers a different white wine experience. In appearance, it is much like many other white wines; pale yellow with greenish hints, clear and bright. The bodega achieves the extraordinarily intense and elegant bouquet by spraying the grapes with dry ice for between 6 to 8 hours which causes the skins to crystallise such that their aromas pass straight into the mosto. On the palate, the flavour does not disappoint as can sometimes be the case when you have a good nose. This wine has a full, rounded flavour with grass and herb notes mingling with the fruit.
Everyone knows of this premier Rioja bodega and many differing opinions exist as to whether its reputation is deserved or overstated. Gordon visited Muga for the first time some 5 or so years ago and was very impressed with the production methods and overall quality. Muga is only one of three bodegas in Spain who make their own barrels on site and as such they are able to tailor them precisely to the requirements of the wines. This 2013 rosado is a delicious blend of Garnach, Viura and Tempranillo. It has a very pretty salmon colour – increasingly popular with rosado wines these days. On the nose it offers fresh strawberry, raspberry and orange peel aromas. The domination of the Garnacha grape provides plenty of warm, spicy fruit on the palate with crisp acidity. This is a wine for all seasons – as delicious with strawberries and cream as with mince pies and custard.
This wine is from the same Bodega in Extramadura as Valdueza joven which we have tasted at previous Wine Society dinners. I had enjoyed and been so impressed with that wine – their budget wine, if so it can be called – that Caryl and I made a special trip to Extramadura to visit the bodega. The property has been family owned for over 500 years and has historically produced exceptional olive oils. Only recently have they started producing wines but seem to have made a very rapid and successful start. This wine is made from 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Syrah and according to the Valdueza team, benefits from a unique terroir characterised by the difficult soil and climate of Extramadura tempered by the efforts of man. The nose carries wild herbs, scented red fruit, coffee and snuff-like spices. The palate is fresh with excellent concentration. The rounded tannins give it structure and its lovely earthy flavour lasts and lingers.
Another stunning wine from Extramadura which is Caryl and Gorson’s absolute favourite red wine at the moment. From a bodega which is only 5 years old, the fact that this wine has already achieved a monstrous 96 Peñin points says something for the skill and dedication of the small team of professionals who have put their faith in the unforgiving Extramadura terroir. This outstanding blend of Cabernet Saugignon, Temranillo and Garnacha is the fruit of “selecting the selection”, as the makers describe it.. Only the best of each variety, each plot, each corner of the vineyard goes into Matanegra. Fermentation is carried out in the traditional way in special small cement tanks with manual remontage. Macerations are long with very careful temperature control so that the distinctive character of Matenegra is fully brought out. The wine is then aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Looking at the wine, it is cherry coloured with garnet at the rim. The nose is an intense combination of ripe fruits, herbs minerals, creamy oak and notes of dark chocolate. The palate is very powerful with a good structure. It is full of flavour with mature tannins, spices and an exceptionally long finish. A huge mouthful of wine, and although a little expensive, we think it´s more than worth it and it is Christmas, after all!
CASTA DIVA MIEL 2013 cost €9.30
This fine dessert wine first came to the attention of a wider public when it was selected to accompany the pudding course at the banquet to celebrate the marriage of Prince Felipe (now king) and his bride Letizia in 2004. Made from 100% Moscatel it consistently scores around 93 Peñin points year after year. The history of this bodega is a wonderful testament to family perseverance and dedication. Founded by Felipe Gutierrez de la Vega and his wife Pilar in 1970, the enterprise first started in a humble country house outside Jávea. In 1982 Felipe and his family moved the business to a property in Parcent which they have lovingly restored and developed over the intervening years. They have underground aging cellars where the stone walls keep the wines cool and the classical music Felipe constantly plays to them keeps the precious liquid happy. The wine, it is still young and will develop for some considerable time in bottle, but it has a wonderful clear light golden colour. The nose is powerful with floral, honeyed notes, candied fruit, fragrant herbs and some citrus fruits. It bursts with flavour on the palate, honey and fruit abound and its finish is long with no cloying aftertaste. The beautiful balance of this superbly made wine gives it that lovely dry, clean finish.
CBWS Wine Taster of the Year
Our wine taster of the year prize was awarded to 5 joint winners: Kathy & Andrew Johnson, Gaby Ferenczy, Renate Pluis and James Blackwell. Those winners present received a bottle of select wine. Those not attending will receive their prizes in January.
2nd position was awarded to Malcolm Baker followed by Keith Pacey in 3rd place.
Text and photos provided by Tim Fawle