Wine region / Country
El Médico 2013 (2 bottles)
Navaherreros Garnacha de Bernabeleva 2014 (2 bottles)
Monastrell By El Sequé 2015 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £68.09
Club Discount Price: £58.12
You save: £9.97 (14.64%)
From the far north of that line come bottles of El Médico 2013, a red Prieto Picudo, a variety of high aromatic intensity, with distinct aromas of wild fruits and flowers, used for a long time purely to produce 'claretes' (light red wines), until certain wineries like Leyenda del Páramo discovered its true potential. Moving downwards, we reach San Martín de Valdeiglesias, a small town in the Community of Madrid where one of the most progressive wineries in recent times is tucked away: Bernabeleva. On its lands, the Garnacha Tinta and Albillo grapes grow in a scenically beautiful spot and absorb all the minerality of the splendid sandy-granite soils. In every glass of Navaherreros Garnacha de Bernabeleva 2014, you'll appreciate the profundity of aromas found in a great Garnacha, one that's received meticulous care and able to express itself freely. Within striking distance now of the Mediterranean Sea, there's Artadi, one of Spain's most prestigious producers, combining all its expertise and perennial elegance with the tastiness of the Monastrell grape, to offer us a juicy, spicy red capable of appealing to every good wine enthusiast: the Monastrell by El Sequé 2015.
Whichever angle you take, you're sure to be the winner. Enjoy your three in a row!
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Young red Crianza. Leyenda del Páramo Castile and León, Spain Prieto Picudo
Bottle: £12.08 club members / £13.98 non-members
In the production of El Médico, only Prieto Picudo grapes are used from vines aged more than 60 years old, trained using the local, traditional system: the rastra (with the vine branches trailing on the ground). Harvesting is carried out by hand, with the grapes placed into small, 20-kg crates, and after a careful selection, they undergo a cold pre-maceration for 24 hours and ferment at a controlled temperature. This is followed by malolactic fermentation and afterwards ageing takes place in new and second-use oak barrels.
Tasting a wine made from a minority variety is always a pleasant experience, and even more so when one comes across not only a surprising aromatic array but also a quality not expected. El Médico undoubtedly falls into this category. Right at the start, its lovely purple colour attracts attention. Its tears seem unwilling to glide down the glass and its nose of strawberries and lactic notes are immediately delightful. Forest fruits, blue flowers (lilies) and very fine spices epitomise the aromas of a wine that's very clean-cut, almost chiselled. In spite of its discreet entrance, it grows on the palate in response to a notable acidity that brings to mind ripe blackcurrants. Its mouthfeel is fluid and lively, and touches of paprika and eucalyptus raise it to remarkable levels of freshness and elegance. Ample, balanced and having a restrained and elegant finish in which the oak is simply hinted at, making it easy to continue drinking, sip after sip, and always giving immense satisfaction in return.
Vegetable casseroles / Iberian pork / roasted poultry
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Young red Crianza. Bodega y Viñedos Bernabeleva Vinos de Madrid, Spain Grenache
Bottle: £9.70 club members / £11.22 non-members
Respect for nature is paramount at Bernabeleva. The vineyards are treated with respect, in harmony with their surroundings, letting this be what determines the character of the wines. The vineyard is fertilised with the manure from their own cows and all the work done in the field is carried out following the lunar phases. The land can be discerned in all their wines, which are always mineral and honest-to-goodness.
Navaherreros embodies the merits of the different terroirs to be found in San Martín de Valdeiglesias. Produced using the grapes from vines aged between 40 and 80 years old, collected from the individual parcels and vinified separately, each estate undergoes the best process for showcasing its distinctive features, whether it be through oak, concrete or stainless steel.
Its low density and soft cherry colour seem to want to cover up all the character and power of this huge Madrid red. The slowness of its tears make us take a look at the label to check that its alcohol content is indeed high: 15%. However, there's nothing coarse or excessive in this Navaherreros. Its aromas are elegant, very fine; red fruits, orange peel, damp earth and exotic spices. There's also a touch of musk and dust. On the palate, right from the first contact it brings in an acidity that makes it taut, bestowing a deep verticality and juicy, "Garnacha-type" tannins which make it fuller. The finish, highlighting bitter hints, leaves behind it a very long suggestion of red fruits and toasty notes.
Roast lamb / cured cheeses / cured meat
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Young red Crianza. Bodegas y Viñedos El Sequé Alicante, Spain Mourvèdre, Syrah
Bottle: £7.27 club members / £8.85 non-members
Assuming that blind tasting a wine always proves to be a surprising and stimulating experience, the tasting of this Monastrell from Artadi was particularly special. These sensations increased with the first sip, on realising we recognised something familiar about the wine; the whole tasting team was united in pointing this out to be a particularly elegant wine. Its Mediterranean profile was evident, dominated by the first rays or maybe the last of the Levant sun; just the right amount of warmth, cooled by the breeze of the Alicante coast.
Its density is low and its cherry colour with violet glints can't conceal the small percentage of Syrah which adds an extra touch of internationality and lusciousness. Its nose is complex, definitely Mediterranean: it smells of strawberry trees, pines and rosemary, liquorice and blackberries. It's fresh from beginning to end on the palate, true that the fruit is rather ripe, but some delightful streaks of bitterness and acidity allow it to flow effortlessly and wonderfully with every sip. The earthy and menthol hints, as well as the blue flower notes, confirm this as a Monastrell red, but its freshness is unusual, perhaps due to the origin of its grapes, growing at an altitude of 600 metres. Its finish is delightful, mature and spicy, fresh and balsamic: pure Artadi elegance.
Magret of duck / Iberian ham / croquettes
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