Wine region / Country
Ànima Negra ÀN/2 2011 (2 bottles)
Suertes del Marqués La Solana 2011 (2 bottles)
Planeta Cerasuolo di Vitoria 2011 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £72.81
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Red Crianza. Ànima Negra Viticultors Mallorca, Spain Callet, Fogoneu, Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottle: £10.04 club members / £11.40 non-members
No doubt few people have heard of varieties such as Callet or Fogoneu (or Manto Negro, although not present in all of this wine’s vintages); they are varieties found in Mallorca, adapted to its land, able to convey the special characteristics of the soil, abundant in iron oxide, and to exhibit some distinctive aromas.
ÀN/2 is a sincere wine. It is accessible, high quality, well-made, reflecting the typicality of Mallorca; it has personality, and offers a very good pleasure/price ratio.
Once in the glass, we can predict that it will be an accessible wine: a dark red Morello cherry colour but of medium density, not showing great concentration, very clean and bright. When we bring it close to the nose, we immediately appreciate the wide array of aromas. It appears very open and accessible, without being extreme: aromas of fresh, ripe fruit (cherries, strawberries, even a subtle waft of cherries in liqueur), sweet notes, of sweet strawberry, balsamic notes and a mineral background of dry stone. It is very fresh, undeniably a Mediterranean wine, enshrouded by a gentle perfume of smoky hints and lactic notes. A wine of remarkable complexity.
On the palate, that sweetness discerned on the nose contrasts with a faint bitterness which makes the wine extremely memorable. It is intense, balanced and an easy drink; generous, medium-bodied, with earthy undertones and traces of pepper which, along with its good acidity, result in a delicious, refreshing sensation. Enveloping and elegant (it makes us think of a Burgundy Pinot Noir), juicy and rounded – the memory of it is reluctant to take its leave… but not the bottle; that is easily finished and gone.
As regards the aftertaste, some light toasty nuances and scrubland notes bring the tasting to a close. Most satisfactory.
Tapas / cooked sausages / white meats / Cordon bleu / stewed meats with mushrooms
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Young red Crianza. Bodega Soagranorte Valle de La Orotava, Spain Listán Negro
Bottle: £13.25 club members / £14.00 non-members
Regarding the colour, it is fairly typical: an attractive Picota cherry red, with a crimson edge, thick tears and of medium depth, while on the nose it also fits our description of “Canary” in origin, yet there is something in its fruit expression, some humus notes, the ones we notice when we go for an autumn walk through a wood after days of rain, which brings to mind some of the Burgundy Pinot Noirs. Accompanying those woodland undergrowth aromas are some drier notes of dust and tobacco, and sweet ones, of liquorice and fruit gums. With time in the glass, the fruit-driven character begins to make its presence felt, revealing a mixture of red and black fruit, which will dominate completely once in the mouth.
If the smoky element is predominant on the nose, generous in its sensations and inviting us to come back for more, its fruitiness is particularly intense on the palate. It has a lovely, juicy entry and is medium-bodied and easily-drinkable. Yet again, with the aftertaste, the smoky notes and hints of animal leather reappear, leaving a warm finish.
Interesting, arresting, captivating. One of those wines that proves a good accompaniment to cold winters and autumnal dishes in particular. The warm heat of the Canary Islands in a refreshing, juicy wine.
(La Solana is made from Listán Negro grapes originating from a vineyard of 2.5 hectares with a north-east orientation and situated at an altitude of between 400 and 520 metres above sea level. The vines range in age from 80 to 110 years old and are grown using the beneficial ‘cordón múltiple’ system. The soil is composed of a poor layer, lying on volcanic rock. The must undergoes alcoholic fermentation in new French oak barrels with a 500-litre capacity, malolactic fermentation takes place in the same barrels, and ageing lasts for a period that varies according to the vintage, around 10-12 months.)
Peppered steak / cooked sausages / red meats / mushrooms / stewed meats with mushrooms
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Young red Crianza. Planeta Sicilia, Italy Nero d'Avola, Frappato
Bottle: £9.66 club members / £11.01 non-members
Cerasuolo di Vitoria was born in Sicily of native parents: Nero d'Avola (60%) and Frappato (40%) and is genuinely Mediterranean. As regards colour, it is cherry, of medium depth, with a crimson border. As to aromas, the most immediate are those of vibrant, refreshing fruit - tart juicy fruits like cherries (Cerasa means 'cherry' in the Sicilian dialect), strawberries and pomegranates. The strawberry may be tart, but this wine is really lush and dry, appealing, serious and balanced.
Some Sicilian wines have a very distinctive character, but Cerasuolo is by and large Mediterranean. It combines cherry freshness with warmth from the earth, the fresh notes of wild-growing plants with the perfume of floral scents, velvety-smooth, and the oiliness of olives, naturally Mediterranean. Most inviting, with such an appealing nose.
It is a very accessible and easily drinkable wine, sinewy and fruity, remarkably intense, with plenty of body. It has a smooth texture, creaminess but also a certain powdery dryness, without feeling too dry, which gives it that seriousness; it glides through the mouth with ease, not concealing a certain sweetness. A very pleasurable drink.
Prepare a tasty Mediterranean dish, like rabbit in herbs, sausages, spiced red meats, oily fish, monkfish liver even or foie gras, then sit down and enjoy some of life's little pleasures. Accompanied by food or on its own, one glass just won’t be enough.
Rabbit lamb with fine herbs / oily fish / foie gras / cooked sausages / Mediterranean cuisine / to enjoy on its own
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