In this month’s wine club, we travel to Spain and take a peek at two particular areas (or DO’s - Denominaciós d’Origen) that are proving to be key players in the Europe’s organic wine industy. As members of the Wine Club may recall, Spain’s role in the organic wine revolution is an important one and the country now boasts more organically-certified area under vine than any other member of Europe. The Valencia DO, which sits a few hours South of Barcelona is strongly influenced by the Mediterranean sea which provides a long, warm growing season for fruit such as grapes and of course the famous Valencian oranges.
Adobe Syrah Reserva 2016 (75cl)
Further south, in Chile’s Valle Central region, organic wine veterans Adobe make the most of the long, warm growing season by growing Bordeaux varieties such as Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Here, a concentrated blackcurrant aroma sits alongside a pinch of white spice. There’s a fairly serious crunch of tannin but this is well balanced by smoothness, likely owing to a brief dalliance with a barrel prior to bottling. The alcohol is fairly high but wellintegrated, resulting in a subtle warming sensation on the finish.
Nuevo Mundo Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (75cl)
A rather classic New World Sauvignon here from Chile’s Maipo Valley. Situated near the city of Santiago, the Maipo Valley is the very heart of winemaking in Chile. Despite hosting only one tenth of the country’s land under vine, it contains a significant proportion of the country’s top wineries. This wine, made by Nuevo Mundo, starts off with fairly potent aromas of lemongrass and cucumber, which continue on the palate, and is rounded off with a light touch of smokiness.
Proemio Cabernet Sauvignon (75cl)
A trip to South America would hardly be worth its salt without a stop off in Argentina’s Mendoza. So loved is Mendoza and its wine that it was named amongst the Top Nine Wine Capitals in the World, a fact that’s hardly surprising to red wine aficionados. Whilst the Malbec variety may be the most talked about, Cabernet Sauvignon also thrives here, producing big and brooding wines that cry out for a little steak (notes to veggies: mushroom steaks work well too!). This Cabernet Sauvignon by winemakers Proemio shows punnets of sweet plums and pomegranate on the nose, leading to a palate that is ballsy, brambly and plush, with an assured core of tannin. Defiantly expressive and a length that goes on and on.
Neleman Tempranillo Monastrell (75cl)
It’s nigh on impossible for wine people to think of Spain without immediately thinking of the Tempranillo variety, in fact both are so deeply-rooted in the history of the other (to the tune of 3,000 years, no less) that it’s hard to decipher where one ends and the other begins. But begin Tempranillo did in areas like Valencia and has been thriving ever since, providing drinkers with the option to drink it both succulent and fresh or with more earthy-maturity from time in barrel or clay vessels. This blend is a nod to the former, owing its freshness to the high-altitude and the fact that the grapes are harvested at night for extra freshness. The presence of Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre) donates a touch of rustic smokiness but not enough to override the juicy cranberry flavours that take hold in the finished bottle. If the mood is right, this is a good bottle to chill down a few degrees before serving.
Neleman Viognier Verdil 2018 (75cl)
With over 500 varieties found within Spain, it’s only a matter of time before a less familiar vine breed appears out of the corner of my eye on a wine label. Here we have a blend of Viognier and the lesser-known Verdil, a variety that is found exclusively in Valencia and until the 1990s was under the threat of extinction till a few determined growers decided to replant it. Here, its marriage with Viognier is a happy one, providing a dose of apple-y freshness to Viognier’s innate waxy texture and signature stone fruit features.
Piqueras High Altitude Garnacha 2017 (75cl)
Those that enjoy a more concentrated wine are in for a treat here. This high-altitude Garnacha (Grenache) is made from some of Spain’s famed old vines, which despite producing less fruit than their younger and more energetic vinous counterparts, result in wines with wonderful depth. The warmth of the 2017 vintage sees the total alcohol here at 14.5% without the feeling of imbalance, no doubt owing to the vineyard’s elevation. Crushed red plums, eucalyptus leaves and a touch of vanilla spice make for a somewhat soothing and deeply satisfying wine, enjoyed with slow-cooked dishes such our Slow Cook Sausages, Sweet Potato & Herby Beans.
Allergen information: Abel & Cole handles celery, celeriac and nuts on site. Due to our packing process and re-use of boxes there is a risk of cross-contamination from these, and all other allergens.