Wine region / Country
Scala Dei Garnatxa 2015 (2 bottles)
Veigamoura 2013 (2 bottles)
Ultreia Mencía 2013 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £78.57
Club Discount Price: £65.69
You save: £12.89 (16.40%)
We've mentioned before how interesting blind tastings can be, when wines come across in the most natural way possible, without any prejudices or prior preferences on our part. On this occasion, it's been the opposite, knowing the producer, the region, the variety, and the wine's characteristics, we were expecting the wine to be different. We've been very pleasantly surprised and we'd obviously like you to get to know them too.
Scala Dei Garnatxa 2015. We've presented wines before from this Priorat winery, which has never failed to amaze us with its excellent creations, since the arrival of Ricard Rofes as winemaker. A young, mountain Garnacha of great purity, which has surprising freshness and is especially easy to drink.
Veigamoura 2013. The second vintage of the type of Albariño that has volume, plenty of body, with a startling contrast between its acidity and unctuosity on the palate. The kind that's inviting to drink and also rewarding with food.
Ultreia Mencía 2013. Another wine that proves the Bierzo has the ability to be very diverse, depending on the location and the producer's hand. This one is from a wine-making genius who is passionate about Nature: Raúl Pérez.
No preconceptions then, and we're convinced you'll enjoy them.
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Young red. Celler Scala Dei Priorat, Spain Grenache
Bottle: £8.30 club members / £9.65 non-members
If we wanted to paint a picture of this wine, we'd choose the colours blue and dark red. Owing to its freshness and depth, and due to the colours of its aromas and flavours: blue fruits (blueberries) — although some red ones too, but deeply-hued, woodland berries — violets, fruit pastilles and caramel, that intense sweetness so typical of the Garnacha. On the palate it's vigorous, with lively but ripe tannins, and extremely pleasant. It's very luscious and once swallowed, notes of bread can be discerned, of chocolate and raisins too, with that coarse, dry, earthy feel that confers quality and bestows a rustic character complementing its splendid freshness. It has really fantastic acidity, even though a young wine, and its great quality will enable us to enjoy it for several years. It's not only long on the palate, it'll be long-lived too.
The Scala Dei Garnacha is mainly sourced from the Maset, Parada, Closos, Escorial and Forsans vineyards, with vines ranging in age between 15 and 25 years old, planted on terraces, at high altitudes, some on red clay soils, which impart freshness, and others on slatey 'llicorella' soils, responsible for the wine's minerality and acidity. Small, open 7,000-kg tanks are used in the production process, and some of the grapes have not been destalked.
Entrecôte / oven-cooked meats / cannelloni / roast suckling pig / venison / sheep cheese / tapas / ham
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Young white. Veigamoura Rías Baixas, Spain Alvarinho
Bottle: £10.98 club members / £14.21 non-members
It's made from Albariño grapes grown in vineyards lying at 280 metres, on a mountain slope, on soils that aren't very fertile and with granite chips covering the surface, a remarkably difficult terrain to cultivate but one where efforts are amply rewarded by the quality of the fruit. Matured in tank for a year on its fine lees, and in bottle for a further 12 months, Veigamoura shows how the Albariño, in a similar way to the Riesling — a grape to which it is often likened — is a variety whose attributes improve over the passage of time — greatly, we'd dare to say, after long periods of ageing in tanks, quite naturally, without any oak, as is the case here.
Leave it to breathe for a few minutes, in the actual glass, and you'll enjoy it to the full. It's a wine connected to the sea, smelling of white rocks and a sea-shore landscape, with aromas of fleshy but essentially citrusy fruit, such as green apple, juicy pear and under-ripe apricot, with some notes of aromatic herbs. A very refreshing and evocative nose. On the palate, there's plenty of glycerine and lots of sweet fruit that balances up its outstanding acidity; it's seductive and inviting, suggesting another glass and especially with a plate of food. Pour yourself the first glass, sit down at the table, and get ready to enjoy it.
Grilled shellfish / oysters / oven-baked fish / rice dishes / white meats / oily fish / vegetable casseroles / octopus / fish stew
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Red Crianza. Raúl Pérez Viticultor Bierzo, Spain Mencia
Bottle: £13.56 club members / £15.42 non-members
With Ultreia Mencía, Raúl offers us a wine of immense purity, a fragrant Mencía which helps us appreciate the new style of wines from the Bierzo region, wines with identity, reflecting their land. It's also a Mencia of contrasts, wonderfully interwoven. On entry, it appears dark, both in colour, with medium-high density, and also in aromas, with that vegetal and woodland freshness typical of the Mencia. After some air to the glass, it softens up and takes on warmth and sophistication, with aromas of roses and other flowers, and dried spices (potpourri), combined with subtle hints of liquorice, fresh spices (pepper), citrus notes of red fruit and boiled sweets. It surprises and seduces with its elegance and complexity, without trying to impress. Noticeably, it's sweeter on the nose than on the palate where its real merit is purity: it's mineral, with sinew and acidity, tannins evident but not harsh, and tremendously easy to drink. If we had to choose between smelling or tasting it, perhaps we'd be swayed by its intoxicating fragrance, but while trying to make up our minds, one thing's for certain there won't be a single drop of it left by the end. There's no cause for concern over keeping any other bottles on the rack — this wine promises a good life ahead for several years. Ultreia is proof that the Bierzo is very diverse and quite remarkable.
Ultreia is made from Mencía grapes grown in old vineyards, sourced from different parcels, all located within the boundaries of Valtuille de Abajo and Salas de los Barrios, planted on clay and slate soils. The grapes are harvested early, in the pursuit of moderate alcoholic strength and great freshness, and they are vinified as whole bunches and undergo lengthy but gentle macerations, without much extraction, seeking a style of wine that's direct, pleasurable, accessible but also has a long life; its acidity is excellent.
Cooked sausages / oven-cooked meats / beef / lamb / veal / rabbit lamb with fine herbs
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