Wine region / Country
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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Young red Crianza. Celler La Muntanya Alicante, Spain Mourvèdre, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet
Bottle: £5.77 club members / £6.57 non-members
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
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Young red Crianza. Viñedos Culturales Alicante, Spain Hairy Grenache
Bottle: £7.68 club members / £8.72 non-members
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
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Red Crianza. Bodegas Volver Alicante, Spain Mourvèdre
Bottle: £7.82 club members / £8.94 non-members
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
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