February 18, 2011

Three Terribly Obscure Wines from Spain

By In Wine Notes

cien y pico 2008

I had to reach for the Wine Opus to find Manchuela on the map. It’s in Spain, obviously, and lies to the north of the city of Albacete, a little inland from Valencia. In the past it has languished as a bulk wine producing area, a high, dry limestone plateau, but as with other areas in this corner of Spain several producers have forged ahead with quality wine-making, taming the grape and the land to produce some stunningly fine bottles.
Cien Y Pico (Hundred and something) is the result of four winemakers – Australian Zar Brooks, his Bulgarian wife Elna Golakova Brooks, Spaniard Luiz Juminez Garcia and Italian Nicola Tucci who took a neglected 19th century vineyard and have managed, after several years of graft and toil, to produce a wine so ‘Spanish’ it hurts! It is also wrapped in a label so close to Veuve Clicquot’s colour I’m surprised the lawyers haven’t come a-knocking.

The wine is crafted from 100% old vine Garnacha; which in this instance does mean old – 100year old plus. There is something a touch savoury to Cien Y Pico, rustic tinged tannins, a mineral texture and a hugely pleasurable mix of deep, dark fruits, herbs, dark chocolate and a certain ‘wildness’. Gorgeous complexity. Alcohol 13.5%.

Cien Y Pico, Doble Pasta, 2008 Mancheula, Spain
Harrods £17.95 [Adegga / Snooth]
Head south from Manchuela and, before you cross the Segura river, you will enter Jumilla, another of those obscure Spanish regions. This is Monastrell country (Mourvèdre in France) with producers such as Juan Gil, at the forefront of quality wine production. The vines, spread out across the stony slopes of Jumilla’s highest mountain, are between 30 and 50 years old. Enticing with a little coffee bean edge on the nose, it’s a deep, quite powerful wine, full, intense black-fruit medley on the finish. High alcohol. While richly fruity upfront the lingering finish is dry with a lovely mineral textural quality. Alcohol 15%.

Juan Gil Monastrell 2008 Jumilla, Spain
Harrods £15.95 [Adegga / Snooth]
Back to the map for the third wine and region. Follow the coast north from Alicante and before you hit Tarragona and Barcelona, head inland a little for Terra Alta. This is the southern most portion -of grape growing in Catalonia, where, in recent years, the white Garnacha Blanca has been replacing red vines.

La Báscula is a project by Englishmen Ed Adams and Bruce Jack who set up the company back in 2005 with a desire “to create small volumes of high-quality wines from several different regions across France”. Named after the birds from the neighbouring nature reserve, Catalan Eagle takes clean-cut produced Garnacha Blanca and adds a dash of Viognier and Roussanne to give a French twist. Its gorgeously aromatic, light, fresh and textural. Alcohol 14%

La Báscula Catalan Eagle, 2009, Terra Alta, Spain
Harrods £14.50 [Adegga / Snooth]
Friday is the new Wednesday, right? This has been an entry for Wine Blogging Wednesday #70 – hosted by Catavino. Welcome back WBW!

la bascula catalan eagle
juan gil 2008

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