The evening started with a champagne reception at the associated ‘Champagne Bar’, which has a really great setting overlooking Calpe Bay and the Peñón de Ifach. Vice-President Paul Nicholls hosted the night standing in for President John Sloggie. He welcomed the 54 members and then introduced the evening’s wine selectors, Keith Pacey, Renate Pluis and Ted Floodgate, who were respectively the winner and runners up of the Society’s 2016 Wine Taster of the Year. Five wines were presented, a Rosado, two whites and two reds. 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 2017, which can be found by clicking on “Wines tasted in 2017”.
The first wine of the evening was the choice of Renate and came from Bodegas Enate situated in Barbastro, Huesca in the DO of Somontano, and was presented on her behalf by Ted Floodgate. The wine, 2015 Enate Rosado, is elaborated with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and was harvested in August which was a spectacularly sunny month with mild temperatures ideal for rounding of the ripening. The harvest of 2015 will be remembered as one being packed with personality, great character and magnificent quality. The wine was bottled in November 2015. In the glass it is a deep pink raspberry colour, intensely fruity on the nose revealing aromas of blueberry, raspberry and pepper. The first sensation on the palate is one of mouth filling meatiness yet thanks to the balanced acidity it develops into a lively and easy drinking wine, its evolution is magnificent and is rounded off with a long and flavoursome finish with lingering aromas. It has an Alcohol by Volume (ABV) of 14%.
The second wine 2015 Luis Alegre Finca La Renana (Viura 90%, Malvasia 10%) was Keith’s first choice and came from Bodegas Luis Alegre situated just outside the city walls of Laguardia, Alava in the DOCa La Rioja. This area of Alavesa has both Continental and Atlantic weather, very cold winters and hot summers, set at approx. 650/900 meters above sea level, the soils clay and lime scale. Elaborated in roble, the grapes are from a single plot Finca La Renana from vines over 85 years old with a limited yield, handpicked with strict selection on the sorting table in the vineyard, fermented in concrete egg shape 600 litre tanks then aged for 6 month in temperature controlled French Oak barrels. It has a straw like colour with Greenish hints and an aroma of citrus notes together with sweet nuances of ripe yellow fruits blended with hints of vanilla. When turning the glass tropical fruits with a background of roast scented notes which are both fine and elegant, in the mouth it emerges as stylish and fresh with a remarkable smoothness a great balance of acidity and alcohol (ABV 13%) has been attained; long aftertaste.
Keith’s second wine was a 2013 Vallegarcia 100% Viognier and came from Bodega Pago De Vallegarcia. This winery and vineyard are found in Retuerte Del Bullaque in the heart of the Mountains of Toledo. The single family estate sits at approx. 850 meters above sea level and has a total area of 31 hectares for growing vines. The climate in this region is Continental with hot dry summers and cold damp winters. The harvest was first 2 weeks of September, handpicked in small trays early in the morning, spends 6 months in new French oak barrels then time in the bottle resting before the winemaker decides to release for sale. It is bottled under the label of Mountains of Toledo Vino De La Terra Castillo and has an ABV of 14.5%. The colour is brilliant yellow with light green flashes. On the nose it is intense and aromatic with notes of stone fruits (apricot and peach), fresh herbs, white flowers and toast. Aromas are full bodied with notes of fruit, herbs, smoked notes and elegant oak, lovely lingering sensation.
The fourth wine, Marques de la Concordia Rioja RESERVA 2011 a 100% Tempranillo, was selected and presented by Ted. The wine has an ABV of 13.5% and is aged in French & American barrels for 18 months. The wine is complex & elegant. Colour is deep cherry with a garnet rim and the bouquet is of ripe red fruit, with hints of vanilla spices. On the palate it has a long & velvety finish. Ted found it smooth, velvety, with a great after bite. He added a word of advice, that to get the best out of this wine it needs to be opened at least 2 hours before imbibing.
The fifth and final wine was a 2011 Muga Reserva Special Selection, again one of Keith’s selections which came from Bodegas Muga in Haro in La Rioja DOCa. The bodega can be found in the Barrio de Estación area of Haro where many of La Rioja’s famous wineries are now located, 650 meters above sea level with terraces reaching much higher levels. The weather cold winters and dry hot summers influenced by Atlantic and Continental climate, the terroir is terraces of top clay with calcareous soils. The wine has an ABV of 14% and is a blend of Tempranillo 70%, Garnacha 20%, Mazuelo 7% and Graciiano 3%. It has an even depth of colour notably picoto red with purple glints. Aromas of fully ripe red berries and black plums followed by balsamic notes, mint and liquorice and then hints of spice and vanilla, in the mouth spices, rich matured fruit, tobacco and vanilla make a strong impression.
The vote of thanks to the three wine selectors and presenters and to the restaurant Abiss was proposed by Hugh Epsom.
Members enjoying the tasting
Text by Gaby Ferenczy from notes provided by Keith Pacey and Ted Floodgate and Photos by Hugh and Gillian Epsom March 2017