Who’s ready for a vacation? We sure are. Isn’t it fun when you take a little getaway at the end of Winter and when you come home it’s Spring? That’s what we’re going for here. We’re going to take you on a little trip to Spain with some fermented grape juice and when you get back, ta-da Spring!
P. & E. Mullins
2017 Can Feixes Blanc Selecció Penedes, Spain
A great way to start is with a cava. Although this is not what you might think of when you think of cava. This is a still white from the same region sparkling cava is from. This white blend is a favorite of ours to share with friends, it has characteristics that appeal to all. It’s a young dry white with bright and crisp minerality but also has great viscosity, a nice weight for a well-structured mouthfeel. Gentle aromas of stone fruit on the nose. The palate reminds of peaches and gravel, which might sound odd at first but when you picture the terroir you realize you can taste it. The historic estate (vineyard plantation is documented back to the year 1400 and the estate has continuously produced wine since 1690) is situated on the most Northern part of Penedès, where the vineyards terrace in gravelly slopes. It is the farthest Penedès vineyard from the Mediterranean and the temperature and climate have extreme variations. The drier climate, altitude, and mountain terroir is home to the Parellada variety, locally known as Montonec ("grape of the mountain"), which is recognized as the region's Grand Cru. The Huguet family has owned the property since the turn of the 20thcentury. They do sell a majority of their grapes and a large portion of the fermented wines as well. Although the family keeps the best grapes for their own production. The vineyards and cellars are managed by brothers Joan and Josep María Huguet. This cava is only free-run (not pressed) selected from the best of the varieties Macabeo, Malvasia, Parellada and Chardonnay. Only 6,000 cases produced.
Celler Piñol, Terra Alta Spain
In February we had the pleasure of tasting with Juanjo Piñol the great grandson of the founders of Celler Vinos Piñol. For four generations, his family has made wine in the Terra Alta region just South of Barcelona. He shared with us some very beautiful wines and we couldn’t resist sharing them with you this month. (A fun side note is he brought home with him one of our family wines to share with his family, the 2015 Daniel Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Anderson Valley, CA.) The story of Cellar Vinos Piñol mirrors the ascendance of Spanish wines in world markets over the past ten years, a story of how a reverence for old, treasured vineyards and the best family traditions have been combined with new winemaking methods to make the finest wines possible. Terra Alta is one of Spain's up-and-coming wine regions with an identity built on exciting projects and progressive innovation. Juanjo Piñol who visited us here and Toni Coca are the winemakers. Juanjo's mother Josefina remains in charge of the family cellar.
Following is two of the Celler Piñol family wines -
2016 Portal Vino Blanco
First up we have this “all season wine” made with 85% Garnacha Blanca, 15% Sauvignon Blanc & Viognier from old vines of the indigenous Garnacha Blanca grape. The estate owned vineyards are planted in limestone soils and are dry farmed (no irrigation). They hand harvest early in the morning before the heat of the day allowing the wines to maintain the brightness and vibrancy. With great care the grapes are carried into the winery in small boxes 15 kg (about 33 lbs.). After de-stemming and crush, the unfermented juice goes into a 10,000-liter stainless steel tanks. For about 8 hrs. the unfermented juice mixes with the skins at a cool 39 degrees to maximize the extraction of flavor from the skin. The grapes ferment with neutral yeast (from Levuline in Champagne). The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks on the lees for two months. The wine does not go through the secondary malolactic fermentation. This wine is a light bright yellow in the glass. The nose has aromas of meyer lemon and granny smith apple, tart and bright. There are hints of chalky minerals and a little spicy ginger note. The palate is juicy and focused, with lively orchard and citrus fruit flavors that open up and turn spicier on the back half. It finishes on a dusty mineral note, showing very good persistence and a lingering suggestion of honeysuckle. This is an age worthy white. If you enjoy this now, pick up another bottle to sit on for a couple years. Only 1500 cases produced.
2014 Portal Tinto
The current release of this small-production cuvée is 50% Garnacha, 20% Carignan, 10% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 10% Tempranillo. The vines date back to 1987 and are traditionally head pruned, dry farmed as well and grown in clay soil. The vineyards are located within Batea, in the neighboring wine region of Priorat. Terra Alta's high elevation vineyards coupled with Piñol's viticulture produces a wine that clearly communicates the rewarding characteristics of this region. This wine has a pure and precise flavor, it’s ripe, sweet and juicy character is approachable. It’s a ruby-red in the glass. Vibrant blackberry, floral notes and peppery spice aromas are complemented by hints of licorice and smoky minerality. Concentrated dark berry fruit flavors add a bright and clean note with a touch of violets. Silky and mellow tannins add shape and grip to the long finish, which leaves a note of dark fruit liqueur behind.Less than 3,500 cases were produced.