members enjoying pre dinner drinks
President Maureen Holliday welcomed 82 members and guests to the restaurant Punta Negra and introduced the Guest Speaker Ed Adams an innovative Winemaker and a Master of Wine who presented La Báscula wines La Báscula has two meanings in Spanish: – either it’s an old fashioned weighing scales or a large weighbridge for lorries. When deciding what to call
their new Spanish wine range, Englishman Ed Adams MW, who has been in the wine business since 1982 and South African winemaker Bruce Jack chose the first definition on the basis that a weighbridge would not look so good on a wine label. Their philosophy is small volumes and really high quality and the lead varietal or varietals in all the wines are always native Spanish grapes. The cost of each wine and where it can be purchased and average score given by members is shown in the list of wines tasted in 2019, which can be found by clicking on “Wines tasted in 2019”.
The first wine we tasted was Atlantic Way 2018 a 100% Albariño from DO Rias Baixas. Atlantic Way takes its name from the maritime pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela that runs just past the cellar front door. The wine is made at the excellent Pazo de Cilleiro cellar which is all of 3 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean shoreline. The bodega works with around 80 contracted growers and only makes wines from the Albariño grape. Cold fermented in stainless steel and then with 5 months contact with the fine lees, this glorious, crisp wine undergoes no malolactic fermentation. It has a delicious lime and mineral character and is perfect now but will also age well for at least 2 years. It has an Alcohol by Volume (ABV) of 13.17%.
The next wine, also a blanco was Catalan Eagle 2017 which takes its name from the bird that soars above the nature reserve close to the winery. Pepe Fuster makes the wine from his 26 hectare vineyard in Terra Alta which is near Tarragona in southern Catalonia. Pepe’s vineyard is officially certified organic. Catalan Eagle white is 70% Garnacha Blanca, 20% Viognier and 10% Roussanne, the two latter grape varieties originally coming from the Rhone. Picking this year started early on 22nd August due to the very hot summer. This helped preserve the wine’s excellent freshness. Cool fermented in stainless steel, the result is an aromatic, peachy white wine with refreshing acidity and a rich texture. The wine is perfect now and will also age well for at least 2 years. It has an ABV of 13.8%
Next we tasted The Charge Rioja 2016 which evokes the criss-crossing of Rioja by medieval knights and pilgrims on the Santiago de Compostela trail. A tinto it is a blend of Tempranillo 70% and Garnacha 30% and as the name implies comes from DOC Rioja. Working with the excellent Borja Ripa of Bodegas Manzanos in Azagra, Rioja Baja, a wine with excellent red berry and spicy fruit with refreshing acidity balanced by fine vanilla flavours from oak maturation has been crafted. The Charge is made from grapes mainly from the bodega’s own vineyards harvested mid September 2016. The wine was aged for an average 9 months in a mix of French and American oak barrels. It has an ABV of 13.7%.
The fourth wine, bearing the same name as the second white and also organic was however a tinto, Catalán Eagle 2017. The wine is a blend of Garnacha 45%, Carinena 20%, Syrah 20% and Cabernet Sauvignon 15%. Catalan Eagle red wine was fully certified from 2012 onwards it is the partner to the highly successful organic Catalan Eagle white. Savoury, minerally flavours from old vine Garnacha and Cariñena are complemented by the smokiness and backbone of the Syrah and Cabernet. A month’s contact with French oak staves after fermentation and prior to blending adds a touch of vanilla and complexity. It has anABV of 14.45%
Finally the last wine bore the unusual name of No Stone Unturned 2015 and builds on the success of the Catalan Eagle red and white pair from the same bodega. The wine is a blend of Garnacha 60%, Cariñena 25% and Mixed Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah 15% and comes from the very best plots of our friend Pepe Fuster’s stone covered 26 hectare, organically certified vineyard in Terra Alta in Catalonia, north-eastern Spain. The Garnacha vines are nearly 50 years old and this age gives the wine great concentration and complexity of dark, spicy, blackberry fruit which has been seasoned and enhanced by 10 months in the finest new Dargaud & Jaegle oak barrels from France. No Stone Unturned is a big, serious wine which is ripe and juicy enough to be enjoyed now but will also last a good 8-10 years in bottle. It has an ABV of 14.7%.
The vote of thanks was given to Ed Adams by Vice President Tim Fawle
Enjoying the Tasting
Text and Photos by Gaby Ferenczy May 2019