To make up for lost time, we’ve included two wines this month- both from Spain, and both made from quite unique grape varieties.
Firstly, Celler del Roure, Safrà, from Valencia, southeast Spain is a wine that caught my eye at a tasting I attended in Edinburgh last summer. This wine is made from 85% Mando (yep, a new one to me too) and 15% Garnacha Tinto. Intrigued by this new discovered grape variety, I thought I’d do a bit of research. I reached for the ever dependable The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson and surprisingly, there was nothing. So, I looked for entries under other possible names that the grape is known by, such as Garro, Barillol, Galmeta, Morenillo…still nothing. After further research I found out that this grape variety was near extinct and historically grown in Catalunya. The producer of this wine, Pablo Calatayud, is committed to nurturing and championing the indigenous varieties and saving those close to extinction. His aim is to express the true character of these rare grapes.
Safra really captures the freshness of Mando and there is real crunch and bite to this wine. I have never said this about a red wine before, but it is almost thirst quenching as the freshness of the wine really shines! However, that is not to say that it is thin and watery, anything but. Safra is medium bodied, has medium acidity with red fruit of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry that really come to the fore. They are supported by chocolate and with a nice level of orange peel citrus running all the way through the wine to give structure and backbone. At 12.5% ABV, it is full flavoured, but light on the alcohol- a real bonus.
Available today at Grape and Grain. Was £18.50. NOW £16.00
Our second wine of the month comes from Catalunya and is made from a grape variety that you may have had before without knowing. Xarel-lo is one of the main grape varieties used in the production of Cava and is indigenous to this part of the world. Alemany i Corrió, Principia Mathematica, from the DO Penedès, is a 95% Xarel-lo, with 5% made up from Garnacha Blanc.
The producers of this wine have abandoned all forms of chemical treatment and fertilisers and have followed basic organic practices. They choose to do extended fermentation with this wine, using indigenous yeast and leaving it on its lees to increase the richness and complexity. Vinification took place in french oak barrels, 2/3 parts are aged in 700l french oak barrels and 1/3 parts in stainless steel. 10% of the oak is new.
The result is a wine that wouldn’t be out of place in Burgundy, with white fruit, a light nutty element, and minerality on the finish. In the background there is a hint of butteriness imparted by the oak, but it is perfectly balanced by soft fresh acidity.
A perfect match with seafood, but it’s a far more versatile and would be able to deal with dishes containing more robust flavours.
Available today at Grape and Grain. Was £22.00. NOW £19.50
ALWAYS INNOVATING. NEVER BORING.