April 2013 Selection

Alicante, Mediterranean wines

April 2013 Selection

Paquito El Chocolatero 2009 (2 bottles)
Los Cipreses de Usaldón 2011 (2 bottles)
Tarima Hill 2010 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £48.46
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Paquito El Chocolatero 2009 (2 bottles)

Young red Crianza. Celler La Muntanya Alicante, Spain Mourvèdre, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet

Bottle: £5.77 club members / £6.57 non-members


Paquito El Chocolatero is a wine that smells and tastes of the Mediterranean, of nature and tradition; a well-made Monastrell, rounded off with some lovely Garnacha, which makes for easy drinking. It is light, with fresh aromas appearing spicy in the foreground, and gradually begins to open up in the glass so as to exhibit rather sweet and creamy notes. The nose it displays is very polished, Mediterranean (fine herbs) and clean; an elegant nose showing a spot of warmth, with delicate notes of pine nuts, syrup and dark chocolate; this is a fairly complex, serious wine, definitely one to consider.

On the palate it is pleasant and rounded, juicy and fruit-forward, of medium intensity and good structure; the aftertaste concludes with no rough edges or bitterness, and it has notable persistence. A homogenous and extremely pleasant blend and - an observation shared by several of us who tasted it - a wine that still retains its attributes after having been opened for a couple of days, which proves to us its quality.

This delightful wine is, moreover, one of the results of a project which goes far beyond the production of a good wine: with the help of Marc and Adriá Pérez (the famous 'Les Cousins' of the Priorat), the wine producer, Celler La Muntanya, is a Micro-vineyard Project; in other words, a project which seeks to recuperate and regenerate vineyards planted on small, family-owned plots of land, and which promotes a more humane economic model, committed both to the ecosystem in the immediate vicinity (the protection of the environment and of the indigenous varieties) as well as the economy and culture of the Comtat district. And a final detail, the reason for the label: Paquito El Chocolatero is made in part using grapes from a “micro-vineyard” owned by the son of Gustavo Pascual Falcó, the composer who wrote the famous ‘paso doble’ of the same name, a musical piece indispensable to the Moors and Christians festivals so popular in the area. A complete wine in all aspects.

Rice dishes / white meats / cooked sausages / rabbit lamb with fine herbs / salads / roast lamb / grills

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Picota cherry red / with a garnet rim / medium density
    • Bouquet
      Ripe red fruit / spicy notes / sweet notes / pine nuts / syrup / elegant / clean / fresh
    • Palate
      Lovely / juicy / fruit-forward / refreshing
  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2016.

Paquito El Chocolatero 2009
Front and back

Los Cipreses de Usaldón 2011 (2 bottles)

Young red Crianza. Viñedos Culturales Alicante, Spain Hairy Grenache

Bottle: £7.68 club members / £8.72 non-members


Rafa Bernabé, through his Viñedos Culturales project, presents us with a wide-ranging palette of colours and flavours, wines that are all different, with something to suit every taste, but all genuine, made without ostentation, for the pure pleasure of drinking and enjoying a good glass of wine – terroir wines made with heart-felt passion.

His Cipreses de Usaldón is, in appearance and unlike others in the same project, an intensely-coloured wine, a dark Picota cherry colour, but of medium density, without too much colour extraction, just the true tint of the grapes. On the nose, first impressions reveal a serious nature, a complex and fruit-driven wine; it is one of those wines where trying to discern everything it offers is not easy, because all the aromas are very well-integrated with each other, although ones that do prevail are undoubtedly the aromas of ripe fruit, raspberries, strawberries, wild berry fruits, and clearly distinguishable too are the sweet notes and hints of undergrowth (another wine with a taste of the Mediterranean!); these aromas emanate from fruit that is juicy and dense (half of the grapes undergo carbonic fermentation), but showing tremendous freshness.

It is generous on the palate and, although there seems to be a suggestion of slight bitterness, this is not confirmed as anything more than reinforcement of its good structure; it is a lovely wine, accessible, complete and long-lasting; a wine for those who like to enjoy lengthy sips and as an accompaniment to the tasty delicacies offered by this region’s rich gastronomy. This is a fine Alicante wine, make no mistake about it.

Rice dishes / barbecues / rabbit / pork / roast suckling pig / stews

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Dark picota cherry / medium density / clean
    • Bouquet
      Juicy fruit / raspberry / wild fruits / sweet notes / elegant / mineral notes / balsamic notes / complex
    • Palate
      Full / structured / accessible / complex
  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 15ºC and 17ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2016.

Los Cipreses de Usaldón 2011
Front and back

Tarima Hill 2010 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Bodegas Volver Alicante, Spain Mourvèdre

Bottle: £7.82 club members / £8.94 non-members


There are some people who seem to have a special gift for finding suitable parcels and surrounding themselves with great professionals for the explicit purpose of making good wines. We have mentioned this to you before on many occasions, that Jorge Ordóñez is one of them. But the point is, besides, this man and his teams are capable of ensuring that their delicious wines reach the general public at very affordable prices. In Alicante, we come across two of the clearest examples: a very complete red wine for less than 5 Euros, the “younger sibling” Tarima Monastrell, and the elegant, powerful, complex, serious and absolutely lovely Tarima Hill, at about 10 Euros: make sure you try it.

Tarima Hill is made exclusively from Monastrell grapes; an indigenous grape able to endure and adapt to extreme climatic conditions, as well as a lack of rainfall, which is what occurs in the Alicante region. These vineyards range between 40 and 75 years old, planted with bush vines on calcareous soils and producing very low yields. Certain characteristics which, thanks to the fine work of Bodegas Volver, result in a fresh and very well-balanced wine.

In the glass it exhibits a most attractive Picota cherry colour, of medium-high density. This vividness and the tears that slowly run down and tinge the glass, apart from the label that makes us aware of 15% alcohol, leads us to believe that the wine will be really powerful. Indeed it is powerful, but elegant too. Have no fear, that density is immediately contrasted (and balanced) by a wonderful freshness on the nose and a rich tapestry of aromas: ripe and rich fruit (cranberries, blackberries), notes of sweet spices, mild smoky hints, earthy notes and a mineral background that gains prominence as the wine begins to open up in the glass (we recommend opening the bottle an hour before drinking and letting it sit in the glass for a few moments first). It has a seductive nose (we much preferred it to the 2009, as the 2010 is much fresher and more cohesive).

On the palate, Tarima Hill comes over as full-bodied, powerful and juicy, with some marked but polished tannins that uphold its good structure and bode well for a good evolution. To finish things off, the aftertaste reveals the smooth bitterness of dark chocolate; serious and elegant.

Barbecues / rice dishes / substantial dishes / oven-cooked meats / Iberian sausages / game dishes

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Medium-high density / ripe Picota cherry red / with a garnet rim
    • Bouquet
      Blueberries / blackberries / sweet spices / spices / mineral notes / fresh / elegant
    • Palate
      With body / powerful / juicy
  • Alcohol content: 15,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 15ºC and 17ºC
  • For drinking this year.

anverso y reverso
Front and back

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