Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Posts Tagged ‘Canary Islands

Two insular reds

with 5 comments

The teaser sent to MWG members prior to the tasting described this flight as “Two richer, soft red blends from the same vintage. The insular estates are in the same country but geographically about as far apart as it’s possible to be. No other connections.”

Valle de la Orortava 2013, 7 Fuentes, Soagranorte ($21.20, 12475425)
A 90-10 blend of Listán Negro and Tintilia (which appears to be none other than the Jura’s Trousseau aka Bastardo) from ungrafted vines between 10 and 100 years old and grown in various parcels at altitudes ranging from 400 to 650 m on Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. The grapes from each vineyard were vinified separately. Manually harvested in early September. Alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts and manual punch-downs was in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Sixty percent of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation and eight months’ maturation in 5,700-litre concrete tanks while the remainder was matured in 500-litre French oak casks. Reducing sugar: 2.1 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: LVAB.
Much cleaner than the bottle tasted last February. Slight reduction on the nose but otherwise fine: spice, red fruit, earth, animale, pencil lead, dried herbs, forest floor… in a word, complex. A taste reveals a supple surface, bright acidity and lightly astringent underlay. The clean fruit (cherry, blackcurrant) is forward but the wine is too savoury (dry, peppery, minerally), fluid and fresh to be a bomb. Nicely sustained finish. The closest parallel – though the flavours are different – is a Corsican red like Alzipratu’s Fiumeseccu bottling. Good QPR. (Buy again? Yes.)

Vino de la terra de Mallorca 2013, 12 Volts, 4 Kilos vinícola ($28.85, 11852479)
The estate’s name refers to the two owners’ start-up stake in the winery (4 million pisetas), the smallness of the sum being explained by the fact that wines were originally made in a low-overhead garage. The striking label is the work of Gary Baseman. This 2013 is a blend of CalletFogoneu (60%), Syrah (20%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and Merlot (10%) from vines averaging 20 years old and grown in various parts of Majorca. Manually harvested. Macerated and fermented in stainless steel vats – initially at 20°C and rising to 28°C – for around 20 days. After malolactic fermentation ended, 40% of the wine was transferred to a mix of 3,000-litre foudres and the rest into 225-litre French oak barrels (half second fill and half third fill) for nine months’ maturation. 48,000 bottles and 600 magnums were made. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Entreprise UVAS.
Darker and richer than the 7 Fuentes on both the nose and the palate. Modern heading toward New Worldish but not too: a mouthful of dense, ripe red and black fruit with a velvety texture, good structure (round tannins, sufficient acidity) and an obvious-but-not-fatiguing overlay of oak. Broader than it is deep, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Black spice (pepper, licorice) and dried herbs join the fruit and vanilla on a fairly long finish. Easy to like. (Buy again? Sure.)

Suspecting Entreprise UVAS might offer 4 Kilos’ eponymous flagship wine as a private import, I’d originally hoped to serve it alongside the 12 Volts. Since the agency doesn’t have a website, I turned to various search engines, which provided contact information for the purported president and sales manager. Emails sent to their business and personal addresses bounced. All the phone numbers but one were not in service and the voice mail box for the working number was filled to overflowing. The sales manager’s house – located a couple of blocks from my place – has been up for sale for several months. Attempted contacts through LinkedIn and Facebook went unanswered. Even the SAQ couldn’t provide anything other than the outdated contact info. Has the agency been sold? Does it even exist any more?

MWG January 14th tasting: flight 7 of 7

Written by carswell

January 28, 2016 at 13:59

MWG February 18th tasting: Noddities

with 4 comments

The idea for this eclectic flight? Easy-drinking reds, all new arrivals, made from off-the-beaten-path grape varieties. New + oddity = noddity.

IGT Maremma Toscana 2013, Ciliegiolo, Azienda Il Grillesino ($17.85, 12280695)
100% Ciliegiolo from vines grown in stony clay-limestone soil near the Tuscan coast. The grapes were fermented in temperature-controlled tanks for 15 days. Matured for six months. Sees no oak. Bottled unfiltered in the spring following the vintage. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Mark Anthony Brands.
Spice, cherry, black raspberry, lingonberry, hints of chocolate, caramel and, oddly, “white vinegar” (quoting another taster). Fruity, supple and light though gaining a little weight as it moves through the mouth. Tart acidity keeps things refreshing, lightly raspy tannins add texture and a bit of backbone. Simple but quaffable, especially if served lightly chilled and with food. I wish it were $4 or $5 cheaper. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Valle de la Orortava 2013, 7 Fuentes, Soagranorte ($22.10, 12475425)
A 90-10 blend of Listán Negro and Tintilia (which, despite claims that it’s Grenache, Mourvèdre or Molise’s Tintilia, appears to be none other than the Jura’s Trousseau aka Bastardo) from ungrafted vines between ten and 100 years old grown in various parcels at altitudes ranging from 400 to 650 m on Tenerife. The grapes from each vineyard were vinified separately. Manually harvested in early September. Alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts and manual punch-downs was in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Sixty percent of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation and eight months’ maturation in 5,700-litre concrete tanks while the remainder was matured in 500-litre French oak casks. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Les vins Alain Bélanger.
The bottle at the tasting was irredeemably bretty, reeking of barnyard. The staff at my neighbourhood SAQ reported the same of the bottle they opened. A bottle enjoyed last weekend was funky at first but clean-smelling after a couple of hours in a carafe. Unusual nose of sandalwood, sawdust and spice with whiffs of doner and plum. Supple, fluid and medium-bodied, ripe and fruit-forward but not a bomb. Very dry, with soft, dusty tannins, glowing acidity and a dark mineral underlay. A faint, alum-like astringency marks the saline finish. Unusual, interesting and, above all, drinkable. Food pairing? Well-done red meat, maybe one of those doners. (Buy again? Yes.)

IGP Ismaros 2010, Maronia, Tsantali ($13.00, 12460354)
100% Mavroudi (aka Mavrud) grown in estate-owned vineyards around Maroneia. Alcoholic fermentation lasts eight to ten days, after which the wine is left on the grape skins for another two or three days. After pressing, it undergoes malolactic fermentation and then is transferred to new 300-litre French oak barrels for eight months’ maturation. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Amphora.
Jammy plum, sweet spice, sawed wood and “cherry Vicks.” Medium- to full-bodied. The big but not lumbering fruit is structured by soft acidity and round tannins. An undercurrent of tar adds an appealing earthiness. Black pepper and vanilla-caramel colour the finish. Broader than it is deep but, at $13, who’s complaining? A bottle I opened a few days before the tasting seemed lighter and less fruit-driven. Either way, it’s a QPR winner. (Buy again? Sure.)

(Flight: 3/5)