This week’s Wine Blog Wednesday is hosted by Jens of the Cincinnati Wine Garage. His theme “New, New world Pinot Noir”, which at first had me a bit worried. Being in Spain I don’t have access to a lot of “new world” wines. On the other hand Pinot is a rather new addition to the Spanish repertoire so I thought let’s have a go. Back in March I had my first taste of a Spanish Pinot Noir and I was thoroughly stunned that it tasted of Pinot Noir. So often I find Pinot Noirs that make nice table wines without that underlying elegance that we all hope to find when tasting these wines.
My choice for today is Can Bonastre’s Pinot Noir 1999. Recommend to me by a friend, the Vineyard is actually both new and old. According to elmundovino.com, where they have short write-ups on many Spanish wineries (in Spanish), Can Bonastre can be found mentioned all the way back to 1548. Then, in 1996, a new group of investors came in to see if modern wine making and a bit of investment might help to yield higher quality results. At 300m above sea level the vineyards are protected by the mountain Montserrat and therefore this vineyard is able to reap the rewards of it’s own little microclimate.
Getting to the wine, in all honesty, I was a bit worried about this one. Six years old, a cork that was soaked through and at least for me a varietal that does not have a long track record in Spain; I wasn’t sure exactly what I would find? That was until I pulled the cork. What a nose! Looking at it, the color appears to be a nice ruby red with light brickish rim. Wet earth, dried strawberries, ripe cherry, light wood, a bit of toasted bread, and a subtle spice maybe black pepper, though a bit lighter, all jump out of the glass. In fact part of me doesn’t want my nose to leave the glass. In the mouth it shows a light body with a strong acidity that softens considerably on the finish. Well balanced with little or no perceivable tannin. Flavors are of strong Bing cherry, light (I know it sounds pretentious, but it’s true) white pepper, some of that tell tale Pinot strawberry and light oak, though the finish seems a bit hollow. I really enjoy it up until the end when it seems to fall apart a bit and leaves me wanting for more – otherwise a tasty wine with decent varietal characteristics.
I’m willing to bet that a younger version of this wine would show more on the finish and I will definitely seek out another bottle when I have a chance.
I’m glad to see Spain playing with new ideas. Sometimes foreign grapes hurt new regions as they always have to play catch up to other areas that have already proven themselves. On the other hand here in Spain there are so many different climates and microclimates that I think sometimes new grapes from foreign lands can help bring attention to up and coming regions. Either way, don’t be surprised if you start to see more Pinot Noir from Spain showing up on store shelves in your area.
Till soon, Ryan Opaz
Tasting Notes, Grapes, Wine, WBW