Monthly Archives: April 2016

A cool reserva from Alentejo

Outeiros Altos is an interesting project outside Estremoz. The Alentejo region may normally evoke pictures of vast plains of cork oaks, warm sun and sharp shadows. But located near the Serra d’Ossa range in the north of the Borba sub-region Outeiros Altos finds itself in a cool microclimate that gives a freshness to all their wines.

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Fernanda Rodrigues and Jorge Cardoso is convinced that the organic approach is right. I was there last week in search of the wines made in clay, which they also make. And walking through the vineyards with them showed clearly that there is a thought behind everything.

This reserva is made from trincadeira (70%), alfrocheiro (20%) and aragonêz (10%), grown in schistous soils, picked by hand, and aged for a year in very lightly toasted French oak barrels. The wines are already certified organic, but in the future they will be labelled vegetarian and vegan friendly too.

IMG_3921 Jorge and Fernanda, with “the next generation”

 

O Altos Res 13 The label is almost going round the whole bottle

Reserva Biológico 2013 (Outeiros Altos)

Deep red. Aroma of red fruites, blackberry, spices and a balsamic note of eucalyptus. On the palate it’s quite full, with mature tannins, concentrated fruit, a nice coolness, and a slight touch of vanilla.

Price: Medium

 

And I’ll take the (Spanish) high road…

Camino Alto means high road (or street) in Spanish. On the Toledo part of the Meseta, the high plains of central Spain, we find a winery by that name, a winery that is dedicated to organic cultivation. Though I’ve been in touch with them for a while I have not visited them yet, and I have tasted only one wine. But that wine was so much to my liking that I decided to feature it as this week’s wine.

(Yes, it’s been a lot to do lately, so I must come back with a little more text here too.)

Tempranillo

Camino Alto Tempranillo 2015 (Camino Alto)

Dark red with youngish blue hue. Aromas of violets, blueberries and … Quite concentrated, with a nice dryness from the young tannins, and an appropriate acidity.

Price: Low

Food: Goes well with Spanish tapas, from cured hams to cheeses and vegetables, anchovies and more

From southern Alentejo

I’m on a mission. And I’m in Alentejo, the apparently flat and harsh (I didn’t say dull) Portuguese region that is the world’s biggest resource of cork oak. This is a modern red wine from the southern subregion of Vidigueira, maybe surprisingly a white stronghold in this area full of surprises.

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Rocim 2012 (Herdade do Rocim)

Dark, deep red. Aroma of red fruits and deep forests, and a touch of eucalyptus, and with a sweet component too. Full on the palate, with young, round tannins and good length.

Price: Medium

Food: I had it with both roast mushrooms with garlic and olive oil and black pig with mashed apples. But any red meat or game would be near an ideal accompaniment

A legendary cava

This is a xarel.lo based gran reserva from one of the three superior cava houses (in my opinion at least, and if you ask me I will reveal who the others are). Anyway, this is a classic, or a legend, one of several from Xavier Gramona and his team.

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III Lustros 2006 (Gramona)

Concentrated aroma of bread, almonds, hazelnuts, and citrus (grapefruit and lime). Concentrated and fresh in the mouth, and not too much mousse. To sum up, to find a fresh cava with this age you should lift some stones…

Price: High

Ulibarri txakolí

I tasted the Ulibarri again on a recent trip to Barcelona, in a Basque pintxo bar in the Gotic Quarter. The wine was a real revelation on a trip to the Basque country in January, when I actually visited Iker Ulibarri and brother Asier in their winery.

2016-01-31 10.22.14 Iker Ulibarri wearing his typical ‘txapela’

The cellar is made of stone and is actually an extension of their home. In the backyard they have 2 hectares of hondarrabi zuri grapes. The soil contains clay, sand, slate and schist. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged on the lees with more than average of ‘batonnage’. It’s bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal SO2 added, and it’s one of the few wines in this “difficult” coastal area that is both organically grown, and certified too.

Ulibarri Txakolí 2015 (Ulibarri Txakolina)

There is only a few bubbles here (as opposed to most txakolís, at least the traditional stereotype), but the typical acidity is indeed intact. It’s fresh and appealing, yet structured and persistent (and with age, more complex too), with notes of green apple, herbs.

Price: Medium

Food: Fish, shellfish, many type of cheeses…