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Twelve months of bubbles

From Asti to Champagne, bubbles were a bright spot in 2017.  While sparkling wine is no longer confined to special occasions, it continues to mark some of life’s most memorable occasions and its charm can elevate the most mundane moments.

For many, 2017 was a year of exuberant highs and abysmal lows which made living in the moment and being grateful for predictable things like the quality of a DOCG Prosecco from Cartizze or the toasty aromas of a Champagne aged on the lees for a decade all the easier. Here’s a look at what I discovered about bubbles during 2017’s twelve months of tastings.

January began with a traditional sparkling toast courtesy of the Boisset Collection whose exceptional Buena Vista “La Victoire” Champagne ($50) honors the history of Sonoma’s Buena Vista winery, the first to introduce méthode traditionelle sparkling wine to California in the 19th-century. “La Victoire” is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir from Premier Cru vineyards from the Montagne de Reims, and 30% Chardonnay mostly from Grand Cru Mesnil sur Oger and Chouilly. The wine has a dosage of 8.7 g/L and was aged more than three years on the lees. It was served at midnight with a bittersweet chocolate soufflé, a pairing designed to showcase the wine’s dosage and mirror its texture.

JordanARFebruary was a celebration of the exquisite cuvees of the Champagne AR Lenoble family from Damery, France. Lenoble’s Antoine Malassagne and Jordan’s Lisa Mattson arrived for a morning tasting that included the soon to be released Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble ($49). 500 cases of a limited release of the AR Lenoble Brut Intense were bottled exclusively for Jordan. This non-vintage brut is produced by Antoine using grapes from his family’s vineyards and long-term growers. The blend is 30% grand cru Chardonnay from Chouilly, 35% premier cru Pinot Noir from Bisseuil and 35% Meunier from Damery. Twenty-five percent of the blend is composed of reserve wines, and the base wine is from the 2011 vintage. This wine has a dosage of 5 g/l and spent four years aging on the lees. Jordan Cuvée is available for purchase as the winery and can ship to addresses in California.

March lauded producers whose sparkling wines rose to the occasion at the Finger Lakes Wine Competition. Sonoma producer Gloria Ferrer’s Blanc de Blancs took the Best Sparkling category and Double Gold medals were awarded to Slovenia’s Chateau Topoľčianky’s Sekt 1933 and Tabor Hill Grand Mark Sparkling. Chateau Topoľčianky’s Sekt 1933  is a méthode traditionnelle blend of 80% of Chardonnay and 20% of Pinot Blanc grown in the Nitra and South Slovakia regions and aged for nine months. This wine is not yet imported. From the Lake Michigan Shore region, Tabor Hill Grand Mark Sparkling is a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend noted for its signature Macintosh apple, citrus and toast flavors with a richer dosage that retails for $30.

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April brought winemaker Sébastien Walasiak from Ay-based Champagne Collet produced by the region’s oldest consortium COGEVI dating to 1921.  The house is inspired by the Art Deco period and wines range from the NV Brut Art Deco ($49) which is 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Meunier with 9 g/l dosage and four years on the lees. The exquisite Esprit Couture ($120) is a hand riddled-blend of 40% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and 10% Meunier from just ten Premier and Grand Cru villages. Espirt Couture is aged for a minimum of five years in a proprietary bottle that can’t be mistaken for anything other than haut couture. More reviews of Champagne Collet wines can be found at Planet Grape Wine Review.

img_0361.jpgMay saw the arrival of a new designation for single estate Cava ‘Cava de Paraje Calificado.’ The list of producers and their 12 approved vineyards includes Codorníu’s La Pleta, El Tros Nou and La Fideuera sites.  Director of Winemaking Diego Pinilla poured  Codorniu’s Ars Collecta 2007 456 Brut a blend that hails from all three sites: Xarel·lo (10%) from La Fideuera, Pinot Noir (45%) from El Tros Nou and Chardonnay (45%) from La Pleta.  The wine spends 7.5 years on the lees.  Percentages of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are creeping upwards in all designations of Cava although single vineyard wines including Codorniu’s 2008 Finca La Fideuera ($125), 100% Xarello Paraje aged for over 7.5 years, reflects the terroir expression of the indigenous Xarello.

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Krug’s Garth Hodgdon

June was a return to Champagne with a visit from Ben Cuaresma of the Strategic Group and Garth Hodgdon, U.S. Ambassador for Champagne Krug. The maison is historically last to market with their vintage wines, the current release is 2002 ($260) (disgorged in 2015) which relies on 21% reserve wine. A powerful style that’s deeper gold in color with intense autolytic aromas of vanilla and toast, hazelnuts, oyster shell, truffle, white mushrooms and saline minerality. Krug Rosé ($150, 375 ml), first released in 1983, a coppery color with savory notes of bouillon and broader, earthy flavors thanks in part to fermenting in small oak barrels making for an ideal gastronomic wine. Krug CEO Margareth Henriquez known as the “turnaround CEO” has since been promoted to the role of president of LVMH’s Estates & Wines which she will assume in January 2018.

July welcomed Ashley Parker-Snider and Tim Snider from the Fess Parker Winery in Los Olivos who brought their second release of  “Fesstivity,” ($48) a Santa Rita sourced sparkler with 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay that’s barrel aged in neutral French oak for eight months. Labeled as Blanc des Noirs but with no style indication, the wine was bright with crisp green apple, nuts and a touch of caramel, this is one of the Central Coast’s best.

IMG_0873August was a study in Prosecco with Bisol’s Stefano Marangon.  Learning to differentiate between Prosecco DOC and Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, in this case Bisol’s 2013 Private Cartizze ($35) was simply a matter of tasting the wines side by side with their maker. The 2013 Private Cartizze is made using the traditional method. It ferments in bottle and spends 21 months on the lees with .5 g/l residual making it a zero dosage style. Lip smacking intensity is a hallmark of this 100% Glera wine with yellow pear and riper fruit flavors, candied citron, almond and leesy apple skin on the mid palate and a smoky, flinty intensity through the finish. Slated for a fall 2017 release if you can find this wine, time for an upgrade to your Prosecco budget.

September brought the focus back to California with an inaugural release from the Bacigalupi Vineyards best known for growing the Chardonnay purchased by Chateau Montelena and made by Mike Grgich into the white wine that won the 1976 Paris Tasting. Their Russian River Valley inaugural release “Brilliante” ($70) is 50% Wente Clone Chardonnay and 50% Wente Clone Pinot Noir aged for three years on the lees with .75% g/l dosage. The wine pays homage to Pamela Bacigalupi’s father Paul Robert Heck and his lasting influence on the production of sparkling wine in Sonoma County.

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Lugana’s Carlo Veronese, Laura Donadoni and Lugana producer.

October was spent further exploring Italy’s Veneto with a comprehensive tasting of the wine styles of the Lugana with Vinitaly International Academy Ambassador Laura Donodoni. Lugana sparklers can be made using the tank or classic method with the indigenous Turbiana variety (a biotype of Verdicchio) the dominant grape. Ca’ Maiol Brut Metodo Classico Non Vintage (not sold in the U.S.) was aged on the lees for 36 months and showed precise and leesy with markers of fennel, citronella, lemon and pear. This high acid variety is well suited to spumante styles but very little is produced and most of it is consumed locally. The Santa Margherita Wine Group recently became the majority shareholder in Cà Maiol which has been one of the star producers for the Lugana DOC for the last thirty years.

5DD7C93C-8ABC-45E7-890F-3C8607A395F0November Asti Spumante has a long history as the iconic sparkling wines of Italy’s Piedmont region. Casa Martini marks its 50th anniversary in 2018 and Director of Operations Giorgio Castagnotti presented both Prosecco and Asti DOC wines. The Casa Martini Prosecco DOC made by Livio Prandi showed delicate honeysuckle, green apple, citrus, pear and sage with 14 to 15 g/l residual sugar. Asti being made by a different tank method is considered an inherently natural product driven by the pretty aromas of Muscat with lively acidity and childhood memories of orange creamsicle. The wine is proposed as an ideal partner for Indian cuisine.

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Mionetto Technical Director Alessio Del Savio brought a phenomenal technical tasting of base wines from Friuli, Treviso, Conegliano, Valdobbiadene and Cartizze illustrating the quality of the different terroirs and the importance of blending. As one of the first producers to advocate for zero dosage, Mionetto’s 2016 Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG 130th “Cuvee Anniversario” Brut Nature ($25) epitomizes that preference and relies on fruit grown within ten mile radius of the winery. Evoking crisp citrus laced with chalky mineral notes, according to Del Savio the Glera variety is far more successful in this Brut Nature tank method than when made using the traditional method. Del Savio used 30% of his previous vintage in the incoming vintage adding more depth and intensity to this intentionally fresh style.

December culminated in an exploration of luxury with Gilles de Larouziére, President and the eighth-generation head of the Reims-based Champagne house Maisons & Domaines Henriot. The company produces several wines with the Blanc de Blancs ($60), an assemblage of Chardonnay grapes mainly from the Côte des Blancs and village crus: Mesnil sur Oger, Avize, Chouilly, Vertus, Montgueux, Trépail, Epernay and the Vitry region, which has 30% reserve wines. The luxury Cuvée 38 La Reserve Perpétuelle NV, a 100% Chardonnay Côte de Blancs Grands Crus, spends five years on the lees and retails for $599 a magnum bottle. Henriot releases 1,000 bottles of wine annually with the 2012 wine scheduled for release in 2018.

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Gilles de Larouziére, President and the eighth-generation head of the Reims-based Champagne house Maisons & Domaines Henriot.

As a brand, Henriot achieved luxury status when it was declared the court Champagne of Franz Joseph I, emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Royal appointments may be a thing of the past but the traditional method of production – although modernized by the introduction of the wire cage, stainless steel tanks and the gryopalate  – is itself authentic and timeless “We employ the best techniques related to our vision of the wine,” said de Larouziére who produces five different wines and 1.5 million bottles annually.  “But it’s not our goal to increase volume or accelerate our time to market.” A rare sentiment in today’s world.

The gifts of Bacchus: Gilding the lily with Bordeaux Gold

“Human beings have been inventing wine for some eight thousand years,” said author Paul Lukacs who in his 2012 work Inventing Wine: A New History Of One Of The World’s Most Ancient Pleasures marks the emergence of modern wine culture at the point when consumption of wine shifted from need to choice.

Sweet wines made using different methods to concentrate sugars in the grapes are one of humankind’s oldest forms of wine production. The Greek poet Hesiod who, in his didactic poem “Works and Days” which is a farmers’ almanac of sorts written in the 7th century BC, invokes the muses and spells out the production method for producing Commandaria, the famous sweet wine of the ancients. The Greeks and the Italians after them employed the appassimento method of drying grapes to concentrate and preserve the sugars in wine.

But in regions where air drying grapes wasn’t practical due to year around rains, Mother Nature offered an alternative method for making sweet wine that relies on the fungus Botrytis cinerea commonly called Noble Rot.  The history of this method dates to 1571 in the Tokaj region of Hungary where the production of Azsú was codified in 1720. The German’s also lay claim to its origin when the harvest of 1775 was delayed at Schloss Johannisburg resulting the Spätlese or late harvest wine style.  Today, Tokaj, the German Pradikat wines Berenauslese and Trockenberenauslese and Sauternes are the benchmarks for this extraordinary method.

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In tracing the history of sweet wine production in Bordeaux, necessity seems to have been the mother of invention. The popularity of Botrytis-affected wines is attributed to the Dutch who came to drain the Medoc in the 17th century.  Their thirst for sweet wines that were often further adulterated with syrups and herbs created a market for the style but historians believe the production method was not widely advertised until the wine had achieved notoriety largely because Botrytis-affected grapes are unappealing.

The production of Sauternes was first classified in 1885 at the request of Emperor Napoleon by local merchants and codified under AOP rules in 1936. At the time of the 1885 classification, the wines of Sauternes and neighboring Barsac were valued above Bordeaux’s dry wines and merited the creation of an über-category of ‘Superior First Growth’ for Ch. d’Yquem but for which no red wine was deemed worthy.

Of the five communes allowed to label their wines as Sauternes — Barsac, Sauternes, Bommes, Fargues, and Preignac – producers in Barsac are allowed to bottle under the Barsac appellation although considerably less wine is produced there. The production of Sauternes relies on a pain-staking and costly method that uses multiple passes through the vineyard to select individual bunches and berries that have been attacked by Noble Rot.

After a long fermentation, the resulting wines have high levels of residual sugar and acidity with an extraordinary range of opulent flavors that can include honeysuckle, acacia, citrus, tree fruit (quince) stone fruits (apricot/peach), tropical fruits (pineapple), orange marmalade, candied fruits, vanilla, rye bread and roasted nuts.

Although levels of residual sugar vary based on vintage and producer, these wines are best served as an aperitif or as a pre or post dessert course where they can be fully appreciated without the distraction of a dessert that is more or less sweet.

The sweet wines of neighboring communes that lie on the right bank of the Garonne River in Entre-Deux- Mers including Cadillac, Loupiac and Crois du Mont are made using the same method though often have lower percentages of Botrytis-affected grapes and can have lower acidity. While still mirroring the flavors of Sauternes, this somewhat subdued style is considerably more versatile at the table can be successfully paired with a range of cuisines.

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These wines includes a range of styles from both the classified communes and Entre-Deux-Mers areas representing excellent quality for value:

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Chateau Manos Cadillac 2015: $12.99

Produced by vintners Damien Chombart and Caroline Meurée of Chateau Lamothe this wine ferments 50% in tank and 50% in barrels (6 months 100% 1 year old barrels) and shows honeysuckle, medium plus body, yellow peach, apricot, delicious fruit purity and commendable length on the finish.

Chateau La Rame Sainte Croix du Mont 2014: $20

This 100% Sémillon has 110.6 g/l residual sugar. 70 percent is fermented in stainless steel vats and the remainder in oak barrels.  Stylistically much richer, unctuous with somewhat lower acidity, the oak flavors are dialed up and balanced with ripe pineapple.

Chateau du Cros Loupiac 2014: $15

A 90% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle that spends 12 months in barrel (30% new) with pronounced floral aromas of green tea, tangerine peel and candied fruit flavors through a very clean finish.

Château Dauphine Rondillon Loupiac: $28

This 70% Semillon, 30 % Sauvignon Blanc blend sees no oak but is almost savory with earthier dried apricot and a finish laced with smoke and minerality.

Chateau Filhot Sauternes 2009: $40

A Second Cru Classification Sauternes blend of 60% Sémillon, 36%  Sauvignon Blanc and 4%   Muscadelle that ages for 22 months including 12 months in oak barrels (1/3 new barrels per year). “A lively wine, sterling acid, beeswax, roasted apples, pears, cardamom and white roses.” Jamesthewineguy.

Chateau Lapinesse Bordeaux Sauternes 2014: $39.99

A 100% Sémillon aged for 12 months in stainless steel tank. “Sweetness here is balanced with a gorgeous acid character showing yellow peach, beeswax, wet stone and flowers,” jamesthewineguy.  “Complex and well balanced showing lots of minerality with lovely aromas of honeysuckle and orange zest lifting it at the end,” Catherine Todd.

Chateau Lauvignac Cuvée Sahuc Sauternes: $18.99

A blend of 85% Semillon, 10% Muscadelle and 5% Sauvignon Blanc fermented in concrete vats and stainless-steel tanks.  “Yellow citrus peel, almond, crushed sea shells and pine nuts,” credited to jamesthewineguy.

Haut Charmes Sauternes 2015: $20

This Ciron valley estate blends of 80% Sémillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc aged in barrels (50% new; 50% one year old). A study in candied melon, saffron and succulent white peach.

 

The dark matter of dirt

With millions of unknown species existing in a ton of soil, biologist Edward Osborne Wilson has called bacteria “the dark matter of the biological world.” While our knowledge of the roles known bacteria play in the vineyard enables us to make delicious wine, the unknown far exceeds the understood when it comes to analyzing these soil microbiomes.

According to biochemist Paco Cifuentes, who has compared studies from hundreds of vineyards, there’s a distinct kingdom of organisms found only in soils farmed sustainably with organic fertilizers. When evaluating the health of a vineyard, the presence of these organisms becomes a marker for sustainability and diversity. “In a conventionally-farmed vineyard, you’ll find on average 500–700 different types of microorganisms,” says Cifuentes. “In sites that are farmed sustainably, we find anywhere from 1,000–1,200 microorganisms, the majority of which are bacteria.”

This promotes an environment of checks and balances where beneficial organisms can effectively suppress harmful organisms and help prevent disease. That vast array of potentially present microorganisms includes “a dozen or so very distinctive organisms that never show up in sites that are farmed conventionally,” Cifuentes adds, but the role they play in the flavor and quality of finished wine is a puzzle that’s slowly being pieced together.

Cifuentes imports a portfolio of organic and Biodynamic wines from several Spanish regions under the banner Whole Wine Trade, and says he sees less skepticism among producers there who want to understand their soils the same way they understand their grape varieties and rootstocks. “There’s a mentality of growing both grapes and microbes in the vineyard, and an awareness that keeping the soil healthy is important part of the job,” Cifuentes explains. This approach marks the distinction between winemakers who want the same organoleptic characteristics from every vintage—and are, in effect, making wine in the winery—from those whose goal is to “remove the noise from the wine” and express both vintage and terroir. Read the entire article here — DarkMatterofDirt

Incredible bulk: The changing nature of the international bulk wine market is creating opportunities

It’s estimated that roughly 25 percent of the world’s wine production is sold as bulk wine, a segment that’s described by one broker as the industry’s “soft underbelly” and exists for most consumers in the form of virtual brands. With the rise in popularity of bulk wine-derived, private label brands (brands developed for retailers, hotel chains, and restaurants, which sell them directly to consumers) and more producers entering the market in recent years, bulk wine has shed its low-rent image and become a hot commodity.

With a healthy 6 percent annual growth rate for the last six years—and no signs of lagging—capitalizing on the continuing growth that’s predicted for the global bulk market depends largely on where you sit in the value chain. Identifying opportunities means navigating between the supply side of producers, brokers, and contract suppliers, and the demand side that includes retailers and on-premise operators.

Short-term supply outlook

Staying one step ahead of expansions and contractions of the bulk wine market is key for short- and long-term planning. Increasingly, brokers and contract suppliers are securing long-term contracts with producers who make wine specifically destined for the bulk market. In doing so, they become the first line of defense for insulating buyers from margin-draining price fluctuations.

With significant back-to-back declines in yield for harvests in South America and the European Union (EU), global market dynamics point to higher prices for bulk wine and opportunity for growers from emerging regions.

As harvests in France and Italy fall to historic, all-time lows, and Spain (which has been the low-price leader for bulk Cabernet Sauvignon) not faring much better, overall wine production for the EU is expected to be 10 percent lower in 2017. The quality of surviving fruit, however, remains high—a compounding factor that ensures prices for open-market bulk wine will increase.

In 2016, the La Niña weather pattern brought rain and hail to South America, which saw 35 percent and 21 percent or more declines in yield, respectively, for Argentina and Chile. Until that time, Chile had been on par with Spain for thrifty Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that’s in high demand.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, California, which commands the highest prices in the world for bulk Cabernet Sauvignon, suffered a wet spring that brought pressure from rot and a heat wave just prior to the 2017 harvest, resulting in losses too early to predict—but certain to reduce yield and quality, driving prices for bulk even higher.

Read the entire article here – Incredible Bulk

14 Michael David Earthquake Lodi Wine Fr

14 Michael David Earthquake Lodi Wine
Fresh, ferrous mineral nose, deep boysenberry, cinnamon, black tea, licorice and plum tracing a long finish. #LodiWine #ZinfandelDay http://ow.ly/i/AvKBT

Red blends: Greater than the sum of their parts

While researching the current popularity of blended wines in preparation for a talk at the 2017 International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show about blends that begin life as bulk wine, I discovered white blends emerged as the exception rather than the rule. Consumer preferences for monovarietal white wines—Sauvignon Blanc is currently the fastest-growing white variety—are the likely drivers there, but that doesn’t stop winemakers from creating successful proprietary blends.

In 2014, blended wines accounted for more than 40 percent of new entries to the U.S. market, with the lion’s share going to reds (29.3 percent) and whites accounting for just 1.9 percent. When surveyed, domestic consumers said they liked blended wines because they are experimental, interesting and trendy with better value.

But it’s not the classic blends from regions like Bordeaux, the Southern Rhône, Valpolicella and Rioja they’re referring to; it’s the under-$25 blends that are marketed as nothing more than just that—blends. One striking example of success with modern blends is Dave Phinney’s Locations Wine portfolio, which goes even further by eliminating vintage and relying on branding that’s almost cryptic in its simplicity.

Through a partnership with Cordorníu Raventós, Phinney has assembled a portfolio of wines blended from across single countries. For example, his non-vintage wine labelled “E” (the international circulation mark for Spain) is a blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Monastrell and Cariñena that’s dry in style and sourced fro fie reions of pain ioa, Priorat, Jumilla, Toro and Ribera del Duero. Read the article here –SAOctNov2017

Edetària: Benchmark wines of Catalonia’s Terra Alta DO

As a winegrower, Joan Lliberia is only interested in producing wines that reflect a place.   His estate – Edetària – lies southwest of Barcelona and just inland from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Terra Alta, one of ten sub regions with Denominación de Origen (DO) quality status in the Catalonia winegrowing region of Spain. Wine has been cultivated here for a millennium and Lliberia continues this long tradition by producing wines that express a deep connection to the soils.

Terra Alta is the most westerly of Catalonia’s DOs which are clustered around Barcelona and include Alella, Conca de Barberá, Costers del Segre, Empordà (on the border of France), Montsant, Penedés, Plà de Bagés, Priorat (DOPQ) and Tarragona. Both Cataluña and Cava are broader designations that also apply to the Catalonia region.

The DO has two clearly defined growing regions: the valley floor and the high plateau. Edetària is sited on 38 hectares in the La Plana de Gandesa Valley and the high, limestone plateaus of the surrounding Pàndols-Cavalls and Els Ports mountain ranges.

The lower regions of the Gandesa Valley are composed of younger top soils deposited over a base of marl and sandstone, at mid-level there are fossilized dunes of fine, wind-blown soils and the higher elevations are characterized by older layers of marl, sandstone and calcareous (limey, chalky) terroir.

The complex marl soil types found here are a key factor in wine quality at Edetària. Marl is a chalky, clay-based soil that contributes acidity to wine and its presence throughout the region helps winegrowers like Lliberia maintain acidity in the warm, dry growing conditions. Humid off-shore winds called the “Garbinades” provide some additional moisture that brings relief to the vines during the height of summer.

The unique geology of the valley and Terra Alta’s dry, mild climate produce distinct, crisp white wines that show plenty of dry extract, a quality exhibited by many of the finest white wines around the world, and spicy reds with varietal typicity and vibrant Old World character.

With 24 hectares under vine, the majority of Lliberia’s indigenous grape varieties exceed 50 years of age and the indigenous red varieties like Garnacha and Carignan which are planted to south and southeasterly slopes of sandy “Tapàs” soils comprise the youngest sites averaging 25 years old.

Lliberia produces two brands, his flagship label, Edetària, and the winery’s largest production label, Edetana, that takes its name from an ancient Roman trade route, the via Edetana, that traversed Terra Alta’s vineyards centuries ago.

At Edetària, both international and indigenous varieties are carefully matched to the estate’s five distinct soil types. Garnacha, Carignan and Viognier perform well on “Tapàs” and “Tapàs Blanc,” porous, infertile soils over marl. The rare Garnacha Peluda clone is matched to deep, quick-draining, pebbly “Còdols” soils and Syrah to the estate’s deepest alluvial “Vall” soils over marl. The white varieties of Garnacha Blanca and Macabeu are planted on steep sites with deep, sandy, wind-blown soils known as “Panal” which are fossilized sand dunes.

With vision and a determined pursuit of quality, Joan Lliberia is producing wines of distinction from Terra Alta. In 2003, he built a modern winemaking facility and cellar where estate fruit is crafted into wines that reflect both the terrior and the intention of the winemaker.

His approach is one that respects each plot on the estate. He strives to make wines that are elegant and achieve a maximum expression of minerality and freshness. In doing so, each wine has a unique “personality” which Lliberia credits to the interaction of the different grape varieties and soil types, the microclimate of Terra Alta and precisely-timed harvesting.

Tasting notes for the winery’s current releases reveal both the finesse and the power of Lliberia’s blends and the potential for fresh whites and crisp reds being realized at Edetària.

Deborah Parker Wong’s Tasting Notes:

Edetana Blanc 2010 – 70% Garnacha Blanc, 30% Viognier

Sandy Tapàs soils layered with lime. Grenache is barrel fermented and aged for four months, Viognier is held on the lees. White flower and lime aromas with expressive, crisp minerality on the mid-palate, medium+ intensity and a pristine finish.

Edetana Negre 2009 – 60% Garnacha, 30% Garnacha Peluda clone, 10% Carignan grown on several distinct soils types. Lengthy skin contact and 12 months in new French Oak. Expressive mineral and clove aromas, darker black fruit flavors and fine, ripe tannins with sweeter grape tannins and flourish of cedar on the finish.

Edetària Blanc 2010 – 85% Garnacha Blanc, 15% Macabeu

Low-yielding 60-year old vines on sandy, wind-blown “Panal” soils. Barrel-fermented and aged for eight months in new French oak. Creamy oak aromas, lots of dry extract showing on a driving mid-palate and lengthy, focused finish.

Edetària Negre 2008 – 60% Garnacha Peluda, 30% Syrah, 5% Carignan, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from their respective terroirs. Lengthy skin contact and gentle extraction produce a contemporary style with plenty of Syrah fruit up front and structure from Cabernet Sauvignon on the mid palate. 80-year old Carginan vines add considerable lift and complexity to the blend.