Saturday, September 12, 2015

Spain Unit 5 - Catalonia and the Balearic Islands



The following are my notes for the Advanced Study of the Wines of Spain covering Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. The notes include information about the history, topography, climate, soils, important red and white grapes, the various Denominación de Origen (DO) of the region and the wines I tasted during this study.



Geography of Catalonia




Catalonia (Catalunya in Catalan and Cataluña in Spanish) is located along the Mediterranean coast in northeastern Spain bordering France. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona. The majority of Catalan denominaciones are located to the south of the distinctive peaks of the Montserrat Massif, while smaller plantations lie to the north of Barcelona and south of the French border at the Pyrenees.



Climate of Catalonia



Catalonia has a diverse climate. Along the coast the Tarragona, Barcelona and Girona provinces have a Mediterranean climate, with dry and warm summers with a maximum temperature around 26-31 °C (79-88 °F) and cold winters. Further inland the region experiences mostly a continental climate with hot and dry summers with temperatures as high as 35-40 °C (95-104 °F) during the day with cooler nights with the temperatures around 14-17 °C (57-63 °F). The valleys and plains often experience fog with freezing subzero temperatures during winter along the Segre River and in other river valleys. The Pyrenean peaks have a mountain and Alpine climate with occasional snow at lower altitudes, even along the coastline.



Wine History of Catalonia


Catalonia Flag
Roussillon Flag

Catalonia borders the Roussillon region of France and the once conjoined regions split in the 17th century, when the king of Spain ceded Roussillon to France. Today the two regions both have flags with red and yellow stripes which serve as a reminder of a shared history.







Catalonia’s location makes it an ideal seaport so it has historically been a center for military, political and financial significance. The area also has a long winemaking tradition and it has been also an important region for cork production. Originally Catalonia’s wines were primarily heady, oxidized rancios, sweet vinos de licor made from one of the Moscatels and Garnacha-based Rosado. In 1872 Jose Raventós of Codorníu Winery in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia introduced método tradicional sparkling winemaking to Spain but it was labeled as Cava to distinguish it from Champagne.[1]



In the 20th century, Catalonia became the first Spanish wine regions to use temperature controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks when Miguel Torres introduced them in the 1960s.[2] He also introduced vine trellising, organic farming and mechanical pruning as well as international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Muscat d’ Alsace, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.[3]



In 1914 Manuel Raventós purchased the arid and infertile land and founded Bodegas Raïmat. Over 60+ years later it has been transformed through canal construction and agricultural restoration and led to Costers del Segre becoming a DO in 1988. Today Raïmat owns over 1800 ha (4448 acres) which are planted to Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and Merlot.



Prioriat DOCa Vineyards

The Grapes of Catalonia
The most commonly planted grapes of Spain were listed in the Introduction. But there are some unique and less common local varietals in Catalonia as well.
White Grapes
Albariño
It is believed to have been brought to Iberia by Cluny monks in the 12th century. Its name “Alba-Riño” means “the white (wine) from the Rhine”. It was once believed to be a Riesling clone or a close relative of the French grape Petit Manseng.[4] It is not related to nor should it be confused with the Alvarinho Liláz grape of Madeira.
Xarel-lo
Also known as Cartoixa, Cartuja, Cartuxa, Moll, Pansa, Pansa Blancà, Pansal, Pansalat, Pansalet, Pansar, Pensal, Prensa Branco, Vinate, and Vinyater. It is primarily grown in Catalonia. Along with Macabeu and Parellada, is one of the three traditional varieties used to make Cava.[5]
Macabeo
Also known as Viura, Alcañón or Macabeu. It is widely grown in Rioja, the Cava producing areas south of Barcelona, and the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. It is mostly used to produce mildly acidic and young white wines or for blending with other white and red varieties. It is the primary grape of white Rioja and is sometimes blended in small amounts with Tempranillo and red Garnacha, both in un-oaked and oaked versions. It was introduced in Rioja after the phylloxera epidemic, where it largely replaced Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca, partially because of the ability of its wines to better withstand oxidation. It is also used in Reserva and Gran Reserva white Rioja subjected to extended ageing that can span decades, resulting in a highly distinctive and aromatic wine.[6]
Garnacha Blanca
Also known as Grenache Blanc in the Southern Rhône, it is a light-skinned variation of Garnacha Noir. It is grown in the northeast regions of Spain and is most commonly blended as part of various regional wines, particularly in Priorat and Terra Alta. Grenache Blanc tends to have low fruit expression, is prone to oxidation and have excessive body, so it is often used either for blending or for fortified wines precisely for its oxidative evolution.
Moll
Also known as Prensal it is a light-skinned grape variety that produces wines with aromas of green apples and a hint of astringent almonds that are crisp with acidity.
Parellada
Also known as Martorella, Montonec, Montonech, Montonega, Montoneo, Montonero, and Montonet. Along with Macabeu and Xarel·lo, it is one of the three traditional varieties used to make the sparkling wine Cava. The grape contributes aromas of blossom and green apple and high acidity. A small amount is also used to make still wines and it is usually blended with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Picapoll
Also known as Picpoul, Folle Blanche, Piquepoul, Gros Meslier, Picpoul, Folle Blanche, Avello and Picpoule Blanc. It is native to the Languedoc area of France. The name means “lip-stinger’ in French as a result of the grape’s high acidity. There are also red (Noir) and gray (Gris) versions of the grape.
Subirat
It is also known as Aceria, Alarije Dorado, Alarije Verdoso, Arin, Aris, Barcelonés, Malvasía de Rioja, Malvasía Riojana, Rojal, Subirat, Subirat Parent, Villanueva, and Villanueva de La Serena.[7] It is an indigenous variety and is a member of the family of malvasías. It is grown in Rioja, in the Canary Islands but it is mostly used in the Alella DO and the Penedès DO.
French Varieties:
Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.
German Varieties:
Gewürztraminer, Riesling
Red Grapes
Tempranillo
Also known as Cencibel, Ull de Llebre, and Tinta del Pais. The name is the derived from the Spanish word temprano (“early”). It is native to northern Spain and is widely cultivated in Rioja and as far south as La Mancha. It is an early ripening variety that tends to thrive in chalky vineyard soils found in the Ribera del Duero DO. Table wines tend to be ruby red in color, with aromas and flavors strawberries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather and herbs. In Portugal, it is known as Tinto Roriz and Aragonez and is used to make fortified Port wines.[8]
Cariñena
Also known as Carignan Noir, Carignane, Carignano, Mazuelo, Gragnano, Pinot Evara, and Samsó. The grape is native to Aragon in northern Spain (specifically the town of Cariñena). It is found in wines along the Mediterranean coast and in France's Languedoc-Roussillon region. It grows best in warm, dry climates and it produces wine with black fruits, pepper, licorice, spice and savory accents with deep color, high tannins, and acidity.
Callet
A dark-skinned wine grape variety, it is most commonly used in the production of rosé, where it is traditionally blended with the other indigenous varieties Fogoneu and Manto Negro. It produces deeply colored wines with sweet raspberry flavors that are low in alcohol, and have soft tannins.
Fogoneu
A native dark-skinned grape variety with thin skins and pale color, found on Balearic Islands in the vineyards of Mallorca. There are two sub-varieties: Fogoneu Mallorque and Fogoneu Frances. It is used to create both red and rosé wines.
Garnacha Tinta
Also known as Garnacha Peluda, Garnatxa (Spain), Madrid region as Tinto Aragonés (Madrid), Grenache (France) and Guarnaccia (Italy). It is a late ripening variety so it needs hot, dry conditions to achieve full maturity. It is generally spicy, berry-flavored (raspberry and strawberry) with a subtle, white pepper spice notes. Structurally, it tends to be soft on the palate due to low tannin and acidity yet with a relatively high alcohol content. As Grenache ages the wines tend to take on more leather and tar flavors. Grenache wines are highly prone to oxidation with even young examples having the potential to show browning (or “bricking”) coloration that can be noticed around the rim when evaluating the wine at an angle in the glass.[9] It is commonly blended with Carignan and Tempranillo or outside of Spain with Syrah and Mourvèdre. It is also used in the pale colored rosados of Rioja.
Manto Negro
A dark-skinned grape variety produces wines that have a tendency to oxidize prematurely and is usually blended with Callet. It is almost exclusively found on the island of Majorca with 320 hectares (790 acres) making it the most widely planted grape variety on the island accounting for over 20% of the total vineyard land in production.[10]
Monastrell
Also known as Mataró and Mourvèdre (France), it is grown in the Valencia DO and Jumilla DO. It tends to produce wines with aromas of red fruits, with wild game and/or earthy notes that are tannic wines that are high in alcohol. Young wines can come across as faulted due to the reductive, sulfur notes and “barnyard” aromas that mellow with age.
Trepat
As a varietal wine it creates light to medium-bodied red wines with aromas of strawberry, raspberry and rose petals. The grape grows best on alluvial or sandy over calcareous soils and can be found in the coastal regions of Penedés. It is also grown in the Conca de Barberà DO and Costers del Segre DO in Catalonia where it is used mainly in blended rosé wines.
French Varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Syrah



Prioriat DOCa Vineyards


Denominación de Origen (DO) of Catalonia
The Catalan wine region includes 11 regions, 10 Denominación de Origen (DO) and 1 Denominació d'Origen Qualificada (DOQ/DOCa), which are as follows:[11]
(1) Alella DO
Established as a DO in 1956. The region consists of three distinct areas. The coastal area is home to most of the Garnacha Blanca vines. The slightly higher middle area (up to 150 meters) features granite bedrock which is favored by Pansa Blancà, Pansa Rosadà, Garnacha Tinta and Ull de Llebre. The highest and coolest area, the Valles region, is mostly planted to Xarel-lo (known locally as Pansa Blancà) vines as well as varieties that have appeared since the 1980s such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. There are 330 hectares (815 acres) under vine. The primary white grapes are Pansà Blanca, Chardonnay plus Garnacha Blanca, Pansà Rosada and Malvasia. The primary red grapes are Garnacha, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo) and Merlot plus Garnacha Peluda and Cabernet Sauvignon.
(2) Catalunya (Cataluña) DO
Established as a DO in 1999. It encompasses the entire autonomía as an umbrella DO, the first of its kind in Spain. It covers all other DOs plus approximately 3,872 hectares (9567 acres) for areas that do not have specific DO status. This allows more freedom of blending and expression from a range of sites and authorized grapes.
(3) Empordà DO
Established as a DO in 1975. It is the most northern DO, located along the Mediterranean coast in the northeastern corner of Spain bordering Banyuls in Roussillon, France. There are 2,977 hectares (7,356 acres) under vine. The primary white grapes are Macabeo, Garnacha Blanca plus Muscat, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Xarello. The primary red grapes are Cariñena and Garnacha plus Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo. Aging requirements: Crianza - 6 months oak and 12 months in bottle; Reserva - 12 months oak and 12 months in bottle; Gran Reserva - 24 months in oak and 36 in bottle. Traditionally the region has been known for its rosé wines made from Cariñena (Carignan) and Garnacha.
(4) Conca de Barbera DO
Established as a DO in 1985. The region is located in the heart of Catalonia to the west of Penedès. There are 5,888 hectares (14,549 acres) under vine planted on chalky, alluvial soils. The primary white grapes are Macabeo and Parellada plus Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The primary red grapes are Garnacha, Trepat and Tempranillo plus Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Ageing requirements: Crianza 6 months oak, 18 months bottle; Reserva 12 months oak, 12 months bottle, Gran Reserva 24 months oak, 36 months bottle.
(5) Pla de Bages DO
Established as a DO in 1995. The name is a derivative of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. It is the smallest of the DOs of Catalonia, the region is located northwest of Penedès, west of the province of Barcelona and it has a Mediterranean climate. There are 600 hectares (1,482 acres) under vine. The primary white grapes are Macabeo, Parellada, Picapoll, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer plus Sauvignon Blanc. The primary red grapes are Garnacha, Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah plus Malbec and Pinot Noir. Ageing requirements: Crianza 6 months oak, 12 months bottle; Reserva 12 months oak, 12 months bottle; Gran Reserva 24 months oak, 36 months bottle.
(6) Costers del Segre DO
Established as a DO in 1988. The name means the banks of the River Segre”. The river flows down from the Pyrenees and joins the River Ebro just south of Lleida (Lérida). The region spans several non-contiguous subzones between Tarragona and Somontano: Pallars Jussà, Artesa de Segre, Valls du Riucorb, Segrià, Garrigues, Urgell and Raïmat. Raïmat, is the smallest subzone and is home to Bodegas Raïmat. There are 4,688 hectares (11,584 acres) under vine. The primary white grapes are Macabeo, Parellada, Xarello, Chardonnay, Moscatel (de grano grande and Alejandría) Garnacha Blanca, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Gewürztraminer and Malvasía plus Albariño and Moscatel de Frontignan. The primary red grapes are Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Monastrell, Trepat, Cariñena, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Ageing requirements: Crianza - six months in oak and 18 months in bottle; Reserva - 12 months in oak and 24 months bottle; Gran Reserva - 24 months in oak and 36 months in bottle.
(7) Montsant DO
Established as a DO in 2001. It is a ring-shaped region that was a subzone of Tarragona until 2002. Its name taken from the Montsant massif (“holy mountain”) that dominates the region’s landscape. There are approximately 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) under vine. The primary white grapes are Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Parellada, Pansal, Moscatel de grano menudo and Chardonnay. The primary red grapes are Garnacha Tinta, Garnacha Peluda, Garnacha Roja, Cariñena, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Monastrell and Picapoll Negre. Ageing requirements: Crianza - six months in oak, wines released after two years; Reserva - 12 months oak, wines released after three years; Gran Reserva - 24 months oak, wines released after five years.
(8) Penedès DO
Established as a DO in 1960. Penedès is located northeast of Tarragona, along the Catalan coast. It is where Spain’s modern-day winemaking revolution began in the 1970s as winemakers began using stainless steel tanks. It is also the most important DO for producing Cava.[12] The region is divided into 3 areas:
(1) “Baix-Penedès” (0-250m) is the “Low Penedès” and focuses on Garnacha (Garnatxa) and Monastrell as well as the white Cava grapes Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada. However, two producers (Vega de Ribes and the charity Hospital de Sant Joan Baptista) are growing the historical specialty Malvasia de Sitges to produce a sweet fortified wine.
(2) “Medio-Penedès” (250-500m) is the “Middle Penedès”. Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo) grows well here as well as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon used to produce high-alcohol red and rosado wines, as well as the three Cava varieties.
(3) “Alt-Penedès” (500-800m) is the “High Penedès” which is some of the highest vineyards in Europe and grows cool climate varieties such as Chardonnay and Parellada.
There are 26,172 hectares (64,672 acres) under vine most of which are white grapes. The primary white grapes are Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada, Subirat-Parent (Malvasía Riojana) and Chardonnay plus Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc and Muscatel varieties (Muscat d’Alexandrie and Frontignan). The primary red grapes are Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha Tinta, Cariñena, Monastrell, Samsó and Merlot plus Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Ageing requirements: Crianza 6 months oak, 18 months bottle age; Reserva 12 months oak, 24 months bottle age, Gran Reserva 24 months oak, 36 months bottle age.  The region also produces a natural sweet wine known as “Vino Dulce de Frío” that can be made from a wide variety of grapes including Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Moscatel and Riesling.
(9) Terra Alta DO
Established as a DO in 1985. It is located in the west of the province of Tarragona and it is the most southern of the DOs of Catalonia. The vineyards are planted on rolling hills, which move inland from the Mediterranean coast towards areas that typically experience hot summers and a more continental climate. There are 8,200 hectares (20,262 acres) under vine. The primary white grapes are Garnacha Blanca and Macabeo plus Moscatel (Muscat d’Alexandrie), Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The primary red grapes are Garnacha Tinta, Garnacha Peluda and Cariñena plus Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Ageing requirements: Crianza 6 months oak; Reserva 6 months oak for whites, 12 months oak for reds; Gran Reserva 24 months oak.
(10) Priorat DOCa


Established as a DO in 1954, it was the second region in Spain to be upgraded to DOCa (Catalan DOQ) in 2000. In 2009, Priorat established a village category (Vino de Pueblo) for estate-grown wines from 12 villages, including Gratallops. It is located in the southwest of Catalonia in the province of Tarragona. It is protected by the Sierra de Montsant mountain and is almost entirely surrounded by the Montsant DO. Priorat derives its name from Priorato de Scala Dei, a Carthusian monastery (priory) founded on the site of a boy’s vision of angels ascending to heaven. There are 1,925 hectares (4,756 acres) under vine planted on schist and slate soils (the most common is known as llicorella which is formed of layers of slate and quartzite) which impart minerality, retain adequate water during the ripening period and allow the roots of vines to penetrate deep below the surface. The primary white grapes are Garnacha Blanca, Pedro Ximénez and Macabeo plus Viognier, Picapoll Blanco, Xarello, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de grano menudo, Pansal and Chenin Blanc. The primary red grapes are Garnacha Tinta and Cariñena plus Garnacha Peluda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Picapoll Negro, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Ageing requirements: Crianza – minimum 6 months in oak and 12 months in bottle; Reserva – minimum 12 months in oak and 24 months in bottle; Gran Reserva - 24 months in oak and 48 months in bottle. In 1979 René Barbier, a winemaker for Alvaro Palacios, planted local and French varietals in the llicorella soils of Gratallops and he then convinced others to join him. Ten years later they formed a cooperative and a single red wine bottled under five different “Clos” labels: Clos Mogador, Clos Dofi, Clos Erasmus, Clos de l’Obac, and Clos Martinet. The wines were released as vino de mesa and yet they represented a new standard of quality for the region. After the 1991 vintage, the cooperative ended but the wines continued as separate productions. Today, Clos Mogador, Alvaro Palacios, Clos Erasmus, Costers del Siurana (whose founder Carles Pastrana produced Clos de l’Obac), along with Vall Llach and Scala Dei continue to produce some of Priorat’s best red wines.[13]
(11) Tarragona DO
Established as a DO in 1947. It encompasses a section of the Catalan coast to the west of Penedès DO. The region is split into two sub-regions: Camp de Tarragona and Ribera d’Ebre. Mediterranean Camp de Tarragona is located around the town of Tarragona while Ribera d’Ebre, which lies between Priorato and Terra Alta, is higher, drier, hotter in the summer and colder in winter. There are 7,280 hectares (17,989 acres) under vine. The primary white grapes are Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo, Chardonnay, Moscatel varieties (Muscat d’Alexandrie and de Frontignan). The primary red grapes are Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Cariñena, Garnacha Tinta, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Ageing requirements: Crianza - 6 months oak, 12 months bottle; Reserva - 12 months oak, 24 months bottle; Gran Reserva - 24 months oak, 36 months bottle. Historically, Tarragona wines were generally fortified rancio or mistela, the Spanish version of vin de liqueur. Today, much of the vineyard area has been converted to white varieties for Cava, but these old styles are still made in small quantities.
(12) Cava DO
Established as a DO in 1959. Cava was first released as champaña, a Spanish version of Champagne. The Spanish word cava means “cellar” and it was adopted in the early days of the EU to differentiate Spain’s sparkling wines from Champagne. Cava was invented in the early 1870s in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia by Josep Raventos of Codorníu Winery. Cava production has contributed certain innovations to the houses of Reims and Épernay in Champagne, namely the gyropalette which is used to replace manual riddling and Champagne has refined its dosage levels to those already in place in the Cava DO. Although Cava has its own DO, 95% of Cava is produced in the region of Penedès and production centers on the town of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia near Barcelona. It is also produced in small quantities in other regions including Rioja, Aragón, Valencia and Badajoz. There are 32,009 hectares (79,096 acres) under vine. The primary white grapes are Macabeo (Viura), Xarello, Parellada and Subirat (Malvasía Riojana) plus Chardonnay. The primary red grapes are Garnacha (Garnatxa), Monastrell, Pinot Noir and Trepat. Ageing requirements: Basic Cavas - must be aged for at least 9 months on the lees and can be released a year after the vintage. Reserva Cavas - must spend at least 15 months on the lees. Gran Reservas - must spend at least 30 months on the lees. Approximately 200 million bottles are produced annually.



The Balearic Islands



The Balearic Islands (Las Islas Baleares) are a collection of islands located 95 km (60 miles) to the east of the Iberian Peninsula in the western Mediterranean Sea, east of the provinces of Valencia and Murcia and south of Catalonia. The four largest islands are Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The islands have two official Denominación de Origen (DO) designations both of which are on the island of Majorca.







Denominación de Origen (DO) of the Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands is home to 2 Denominación de Origen (DO) which are as follows:
Binissalem DO
Binissalem-Mallorca was established as the island’s first DO in 1991. It is named after the town of Binissalem and is located in the middle of the island on rolling hills around the towns of Sencelles, Binissalem and Santa María del Cami. The region has a warm Mediterranean climate. The Serra de Tramuntana and Serra de Alfabia mountain ranges also contribute to the warm conditions by acting as a barrier to cold winds coming from the north. The region experiences very hot summers and may suffer from storms and hail in Autumn. The region sits on a plateau of hills and the majority of the 560 hectares (1,383 acres) of vineyards are planted on gently rolling slopes made up of calcium and lime-rich soils. The primary white grape is Moll although Moscatel, Macabeo, Parellada, Prensal Blanc (Xarello) and Chardonnay are also planted. The primary red grape is Manto Negro, which must make up at least 50% of all red DO wines whether a red wine or rosado (rosé). Other red varieties include Callet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah.
Plà i Llevant DO
Plà i Llevant was established as a DO in 2001. The name means “plain and flat” and makes up the south-eastern half of Majorca. It has a warm Mediterranean climate. There are 260 hectares (642 acres) under vine. The primary white grape is the native grape Prensal Blanc, although Moscatel, Macabeo, Parellada and Chardonnay are also planted. The primary red grapes are the local varieties Fogoneu, Callet and Manto Negro. Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah are also planted. Ageing requirements: Most Pla i Levant wines are intended to be consumed early and therefore experience little, if any, barrel aging.



 The Wines

While studying Catalonia I tasted the following wines:



2012 Raventós i Blanc, “L'hereu”, Conca Del Riu Anoia Brut




This wine is a blend of 40% Macabeo, 35% Xarello and 25% Parellada, it was fermented in stainless steel and the second fermentation took place in bottle as it is made in the Methode Traditional. It is a clear white wine straw-gold in color with very fine minute bubbles. On the nose the wine is clean with subtle aromas of peach, lemon, and a hint of bread dough. On the palate the wine has high acidity, it is light in body and it has a medium+ length bready-chalky finish. This wine sells for $21.97 at Prima Vini in Walnut Creek, CA.





2013 Gessami Gramona, Penedès DO




This wine is a blend of 50% Muscat d'Alexandria, 20% Muscat Frontignan, 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Gewurztraminer. It is a clear white wine, golden-yellow in color of medium intensity with a hint of green around the edge with a watery rim and low viscosity. On the nose it is clean with medium+ to pronounced intense aromas of mandarin oranges, grapefruit, lemon blossoms, jasmine, green melon rind, and wet stone. On the palate this wine is dry and somewhat tart with high acidity, medium- body and a long citrus and mineral driven finish. A very light, clean and refreshing wine that sells for $16.99 at The Spanish Table in Berkeley, CA.



2011 Miguel Torres Salmos, Priorat DOCa




This wine is a blend of Cariñena, Garnacha and Syrah. This is an opaque red wine, dark purple at the core to ruby at the rim with minimal variation and medium+ viscosity. On the nose it is clean with moderate intense aromas of blackberries, blueberries, violets, vanilla, with minor notes of toast and spice. On the palate the wine is dry and yet fruit forward with supple medium tannins, medium acidity, full bodied with a long finish. It is a delicious wine that sells for $34.99 at BevMo.



2014 Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat, Priorat DOCa




This wine is a blend of 40% Garnacha, 30% Samsó (Cariñena), 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah. This is an opaque red wine, dark purple at the core to violet at the rim with medium+ viscosity and staining tears. On the nose it is clean with medium intense aromas of black plums, black cherries, blackberries, black currants, violets, with a touch of spice and vanilla. On the palate it is dry with medium+ tannins, medium acidity, it is full bodied with a medium+ length finish. This wine sells for $22.99 at The Spanish Table in Berkeley, CA.



2008 Venus la Universal Mas Sorrer, Montsant DO




This wine is made from a blend of Garnache, Carignane, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. It is an opaque red wine, dark purple at the core to violet with a touch of garnet at around the rim, indicating signs of age, with medium+ viscosity. On the nose it has moderate intense aromas of dried plums, fig, black currants, black licorice, tobacco, and a hint of paprika and spice. On the palate the wine is dry yet it has lively dried fruit preserves up front, it has moderate acidity, is full bodied and has a medium+ length finish. A tasty wine with a lot of tertiary characteristics, it wine sells for $14.99 Prima Vini in Walnut Creek, CA



2011 Zerran, Montsant DO




This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Carignan (Mazuelo) and 10% Syrah from 50-year-old vines. It is an opaque red wine, dark purple at the core to violet at the rim with medium+ viscosity. On the nose it is clean with moderately intense aromas of blackberries, black plums, with hints of damp earth, lavender, pepper, and spice. On the palate it is bone dry with gripping medium+ tannins, medium acidity, it is full bodied and has a medium length finish. It could probably benefit with a few more years of ageing but it is drinking great now, a real bargain for only $14.99 at BevMo.



2013 Joan d'Anguera Altaroses Garnatxa Fina De Darmos, Montsant DO




This wine is made from 15-40 year old Garnacha vines. It is a clear translucent red wine, ruby in color of medium- intensity, to a slight garnet at the rim with moderate viscosity. On the nose it is clean with medium- intense aromas of candied cherries, fresh pomegranate, and red vine “licorice”. On the palate it is dry with moderate tannin, medium+ acidity and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $15.99 The Spanish Table in Berkeley, CA.



2013 Carlania Celler 'El Petit Carlania' Trepat Fosc, Conca de Barbera DO




This wine is made from 100% Trepat. This is an opaque red wine, dark purple at the core to violet at the rim with medium intensity and medium+ viscosity. On the nose it is clean with medium+ intense aromas of black plums, blackberries, and lavender with very strong freshly cracked black pepper, spice and hints of smoke. On the palate it is dry with soft medium tannins, medium acidity, it is full bodied and has a medium+ length peppery finish. An easy “drink me now wine” that sells for only $8.99 at K&L in Redwood City, CA.



[1] Tom Stevenson, The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia (4th ed.) (Dorling Kindersley, 2005), 318.
[2] Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine Third Edition (Oxford University Press, 2006), XXX
[3] Oz Clarke, Oz Clarke’s New Wine Atlas: Wines and Wine Regions of the World (Harcourt , 2002), 190.
[4] Oz Clarke, Encyclopedia of Grapes (Harcourt Books, 2001), 167.
[5] Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006), 777.
[6] Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006), 414.
[7] Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine Third Edition (Oxford University Press, 2006), 9.
[8] Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006), 691.
[9] Wine & Spirits Education Trust, Wine and Spirits: Understanding Wine Quality (Second Revised Edition), 6-9.
[10] Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and Jose Vouillamoz, Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours (Allen Lane, 2012), 592-593.
[11] Much of what follows is adapted from: http://www.winesfromspainuk.com/  
[12] Oz Clarke, Oz Clarke’s New Wine Atlas: Wines and Wine Regions of the World (Harcourt , 2002), 190-191.
[13] Oz Clarke, Oz Clarke’s New Wine Atlas: Wines and Wine Regions of the World (Harcourt , 2002), 191.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and lovely photos. Thanks so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete