Articles Tagged wine review
In the lower-ish (we’re still talking about 400-or-so meters of elevation) valley of Spain’s sunny Montsant region sits a small town (ok, village) of El Masroig.
El Masroig is quaint enough to be named (in Catalan, of course) “red country house” (most likely from the red clay soils that dominate this area of Priorat country), and small enough to sport a population of about 500 people, the vast majority of whose families live off of the farming of grapevines and olive trees.
In even quainter non-ironic fashion, El Masroig is home to Celler Masroig, a winery founded in 1917 as a co-op that’s now run by just over 25 employees, and – somewhat ironically given all of the above – is easily one of the largest producers in the area at five hundred thousand bottles per year, farming from about 500 hectares of vines.
Even more ironically, given their size, at the time of this writing Masroig has yet to gain a sales foothold in the States. That’s a shame, and is a scenario that needs quick correction, because they’re making the excellent crafting of one of the wine world’s most underrated red grapes – Carignan – look downright easy…
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Joan Ignasi Domènech, talking sh*t in Vinyes Domènech
If you visit Montsant’s Vinyes Domènech, located in the southern portion of the winemaking district that nearly encircles Spain’s famous Priorat area like a talon, be forewarned that owner Joan Ignasi Domènech is likely to talk sh*t.
As in, literally speak about sh*t. Like, fertilizer. Along with solar energy, water collection, and all things botanical. Long enough to really, really, really make you want to move away from the intensely pungent nearby piles of the stuff…
Domènech, who heads up this family-owned and operated vineyard area surrounded by the natural park beauty of the Llaberia and Montalt mountains at roughly 400 meters elevation, is a stickler for all-things natural, biodynamic, and conservatory.
Since 2002, this former tech-guy has overseen some of the oldest vines in Capçanes, in a spot that previously had no real supporting infrastructure of any kind. That Domènech didn’t have any previous experience in wine (aside from drinking it, and living near Priorat in Falset) or in reconstituting rugged landscapes didn’t deter his enthusiasm for transforming a previously nearly-inaccessible 15 hectares of land into what is now the handsome hamlet of Vinyes Domènech.
Domènech was, as he tells it, wooed by the natural beauty of the area after visiting it with his family on holidays, and luckily for us wine geeks, he happens to have access to Garnaxta perluga vines that are well into their elderly stage (60-80 years and counting)…
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I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!
- 2015 Tenuta di Ghizzano Nambrot (Toscana): This one definitely has a little bit of a funky beat happening in its step, though it doesn’t seem to be slowing it down much. $45 B+
- 2017 Adriano Adami Dry Vigneto Giardino Rive di Colbertaldo (Prosecco di Valdobbiadene): Sporting the kind of delicate, gossamer refinement usually reserved for orb spider webs. $22 B+
- 2017 Montesel ‘Vigna del Paradiso’ Extra Dry (Prosecco Superiore di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene): Fruity, floral, fine, fragrant, and fast-to-be-emptied. $16 B
- 2014 Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Muller-Burggraef Riesling Feinherb (Mosel): Only now just rocking a few distinguished looking wrinkles and lines of gray. $17 B+
- 2016 Concha y Toro ‘Terrunyo’ Block 27 Peumo Vineyard Carmenere (Cachapoal Valley): Succulent, savory, sophisticated; also unashamed, unapologetic, and nigh unforgettable. $45 A-
- 2013 Familia Zuccardi ‘Serie A’ Cabernet Sauvignon (Uco Valley): Hitting the “meaty” phase with grace, force, and poise. $14 B
- NV Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut (Alsace): This is Kingly elegance offered up for a more Duchy-like price. $21 B+
- 2016 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Reserve (Alsace): Was that flint? Or limes? Or exotic fruits? Or an unexpected but awesome bit of roundness around the vibrancy? How about “all of the above?” $18 B+
- 2016 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Orrrrrrrrr…. we could just stay in all night and drink this… and I’d be OK with that… $44 A-
- 2015 Wente Vineyards Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley): This is the kind of tasty earthiness that would get Galactus salivating. $30 A-
Lucien Albrecht’s Jérôme Keller surveys the Oysterhouse Philly bounty
Not too long ago – ok, well, actually, several months ago, but I’m just getting back around to the topic now because I’ve been busy being all self-employed and day-drinking and what-not – I was invited to lunch with the dry-humored Jérôme Keller, Technical Director/Oenologist for Alsace stalwart produce Lucien Albrecht. Now, it hasn’t been all that long (especially by my warped standards) since I devoted quite a bit of the virtual page space here on 1WD to Alsace, but when you’re a wine-geek-turned-critic-type you don’t turn down an opportunity to a) get reacquainted with one of the first three Alsatian firms to have helped launched the Crémant d’Alsace AOC (which, like me, dates back to the early 1970s), which now comprises about 70% of their total production; and b) eat at Phlly’s Oyster House restaurant.
So, yeah, I did those. And while it’s taken me a few months to get around to writing it up, if you consider that we’re talking about a producer whose Alsatian roots can be traced back to 1698 (when Balthazar Albrecht settled in Orschwihr) and whose winemaking roots date back to 1425 (when the impossibly-impressively-named Romanus Albrecht started the winery), then I think I can be forgiven for some tardiness, especially from that timeline perspective.
Anyway, Keller has done some work in the USofA, having participated in harvest at Sonoma Cutrer, so he understands (or at least is adept at faking to understand) what passes for American humor, so we got along swimmingly, popping shellfish and tasting through some of the more recent Albrecht wares (and yes, the food/wine match went as lovably, gluttonously well as you’d expect)…
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