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Tag Archives: Merlot

Icewine in the Penedes: The First Electrically Defined Wine

<rant>Twitter this past two days has been flooded with news that the Penedes region of Spain has approved a new DO for the category of Icewine. Reporting in Decanter Magazine, David Furer states: In Penedes grapes are frozen in a cold room, refrigerator, or with dry ice. Freezing on the vines is allowed, but in practice seldom takes place. Sugar additions are forbidden. The harvested grapes – Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Malvasia de Sitges, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Moscatel de Alejandría, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and/or Merlot – must have a minimum of 240 grams per litre of sugar. The final wine must contain 70-150g/l residual sugar and an alcohol content of 9.5-13.5%. Currently there are no rules stipulating altitude or soil type. […]

Petit Comité: A Fair Dedicated to Artisanal Wines in Madrid

On Monday night I had the pleasure of attending Petit Comité, a tasting event for artisanal wines organized by Samuel Cano/Vinos Patio, La Cave du Petit Bar degustación and the Observatorio de Vino. Not only was it an incredibly interesting opportunity to try the natural wines made by 6 different winemakers, but it was also heartening to have the chance to talk one-on-one with such enthusiastic individuals, who are obviously very dedicated to preserving the artisanal quality of their wines. Representing four different areas of Spain (Madrid, La Mancha, Cataluña and Ribera del Duero), the maximum number of bottles (of natural wine) produced by any of these wineries was 25,000.  While I am a huge supporter of organic wines, I […]

Vinyes dels Aspres: Redefining Sweet Wines in the Emporda

To be different takes courage! I appreciate that which cannot be defined and those who fail to fit a description. As long you express yourself authentically, it’s absolutely irrelevant to me if you have 3 eyes, adore Coors Lite, or have a house filled with a half dozen ferrets. Individuality is interesting. This same theory holds true for wine. Those wines that make me stop in my tracks and say “whaaaaat is that?!” are typically wines that I won’t forget. Like the homeless fellow in Barcelona who grabbed me by the hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “Eres el sol!” then promptly kissed me on the cheek and went on his way, showed an unforgettable sense of genuineness, […]

The Essential Difference Between DO de Pago and Grandes Pagos de España

Editor’s Note: DO de Pago and Grandes Pagos de España can be easily confused, but as Louis Villard of Spiltwine.com found out at a recent tasting, the two are fighting similar causes, yet are altogether different. One of the only things that links the DO de Pago and Grandes Pago de Espana is the word Pago; and to be a Pago, one must make a wine from estate grown grapes. The somewhat controversial DO de Pago is the official term used for Spain’s highest level of classification. As of now there are only nine vineyards with the classification. DO de Pago became official in 2003 and the only two regions to have ratified it are Castilla La-Mancha and Navarra. It’s […]

Bar Zim: A Wine Bar Boasting of Rustic Authenticity

Finding a quality “wine bar” in Barcelona is like finding a tapas restaurant without cured Spanish ham, challenging! For me, a quality wine bar isn’t about pomp and flash, nor is it about who can have the most wines from Rioja. A quality wine bar doesn’t need an attractive metrosexual god donned in a pressed black apron with his hair perfectly gelled to one side serving wine enveloped in a Riedel goblet, nor does it need trendy chillout music in the background to set the mood. What the ideal wine bar does need is quality and affordable wine by the glass served by a knowledgeable and passionate host who’s created a low key and friendly environment for all walks of […]

Part 2: Classical Music and Iberian Wine Pairings for Chamber Music

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series covering classical music and Iberian wine pairings by Burt Frink. To understand its origins, and why Burt felt a series was required on the subject, please read his first piece. I love the silence I share with myself and a glass of wine. Often, but certainly not always, I bring music into the experience. Invariably it is classical music. Why? It fits. One of the most suitable choices is the genre of Chamber Music. These are small ensembles of musicians playing with each other. Think about that for a moment. If you are a working musician (God forbid! Such a life.) you spend nearly all of your time suiting your […]

Harvesting in the Priorat 2009: Differentiating Grape Varieties

A friend of ours Raymond Magourty (Raymondo) is working the 2009 harvest in Priorat, Catalunya for Celler Mas Doix, a prestigious wine producer located in the villlage of Poboleda who’s Parker Points have elevated it in popularity. With his background in wine education, and ambition to learn more about the practicalities of wine-making, the winery employed him as ‘bodeguero’ during the harvest. Raymondo will continue chiming in for the remainder of the harvest! You can also read about his experience at the start of the harvest, visiting local wine festivals, the uncommon debate of when to pick the grapes and barrel topping, and the theory of Unnatural Selection. 10th October The day’s fly by during a hectic harvest. We start […]

Lavinyeta in DO Emporda: A Very Non-Spanish, Spanish Bodega

Approximately a week ago, we tasted the 2006 Llavors from a winery in DO Emporda called Lavinyeta. Ryan bought it from a small wine shop in the coastal town of Estartit a month prior, while I was out biking the dirt trails; yet neither of us knew a lick about it, other  than it was local, had a fabulous black and white label with a map of the region, and was in our price range. The winery is located in the small town of Mollet de Peralada, and to date, we’ve only had the pleasure of tasting one of their wines. In 2002, the family bought the land with little more than 2 hectares of 50-70 year old samso and […]

D.O. Emporda: A Mecca of Natural Beauty and Legendary Wine Stories

Last week, we had the pleasure of enjoying some quality family time in the small mountainous town of Calonge, located north of Barcelona, southeast of Girona and not a stone’s throw from the sea. Perched on a terraced mountain at approximately 500 feet, our casa rural overlooked the dry bush valley, spotted with pine trees, white rhododendrons and red bougainvilleas that slowly declined directly into the bright blue Mediterranean. This entire coastal area is called the Costa Brava, with absolutely breathtakingly scenery and considered the perfect getaway place when you only want to drive an hour to find yourself on the small pebbled beach, relaxing under a palm tree, while eating freshly grilled sardines. In wine terms, Calonge is located […]

D.O. Arribes: Where the Legendary Tormes and Duero River Meet

If I say “D.O. Arribes“, what comes to mind? Most likely, very little, especially when considering that few Spaniards have even heard of this region. D.O Arribes is one of a handful of new D.O.s in the north central political region of Castilla y Leon, Spain, which has taken on a “quality wine region” status only in the last few years. And until I took a brief jaunt through this unbelievably beautiful wine region, did I actually give it the attention it so rightfully deserves. In total, there are 750 hectares of vines planted in D.O. Arribes, which spill across both the borders of Salamanca and Zamora provinces at altitudes between 150-700 meters. Here, the land defines itself by two […]