Wine region / Country
Suertes del Marqués Medianías 2014 (2 bottles)
Dido La Universal 2015 (2 bottles)
Mengoba Mencía Alicante Bouschet 2015 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £80.15
Club Discount Price: £70.30
You save: £9.85 (12.28%)
It seems obvious that the grape variety planted determines the wine in a very significant way, imbuing it with a particular set of aromas, alongside the fact that the hours of sunshine and rainfall are instrumental in the fruit's ripening; nobody appears ready to debate either that human endeavours in the vineyard can alter a wine's profile, but when it comes to the soil, divergences get stronger.
There are ardent supporters of the idea that the soil is simply a place where the roots seek nourishment and that its main contribution to the wine's style is its ability to retain water. However, there also exists another school of thought which fiercely defends the theory that the soil's mineral composition has a marked effect upon a wine's character. So that you can come to your own conclusions about this, we're offering you three red wines with totally different profiles, made from different grapes, but above all, planted in soils of very specific compositions, cultivated under sound organic principles and meticulously cared for in order to convey all their essence to the grapes.
From the volcanic soils of the Orotava Valley, in Tenerife, comes Medianías 2014, produced by Suertes del Marqués, a red made from indigenous varieties which exhibits all of the region's typicity: hummus, ash and an intense minerality. To the east of the Iberian Peninsula, in the increasingly admired Montsant DO, Sara Pérez and René Barbier the younger show us the bountiful nature of granite soils with an emblematic wine: Dido 2015, in which the grape can appear honest and transparent, letting its elegance and fruitiness come through to the fore. Finally, from the opposite side of northern Spain, in the Bierzo DO, Gregory Pérez combines the Mencía's fruit with the slate's strong character to delight us with an intense yet well-balanced red: the Mengoba Mencía Alicante Bouschet 2015, a wine which demonstrates that, in wise hands, vines planted in slate-strewn terrain are also able to deliver elegant wines.
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Red Crianza. Bodega Soagranorte Valle de La Orotava, Spain Listán Negro, Vijariego Negro, Tintilla
Bottle: £12.55 club members / £14.39 non-members
All vineyard tasks are carried out manually and following organic principles; diseases are only treated with natural products, with as little synthetic interference as possible. Once in the winery, the wine ferments through native yeasts and racking is limited to the essential minimum. The wines ferment and mature in concrete vats and old barrels, which don't have an effect on the wine. Filtration processes aren't employed and a small amount of sulphur is used only at bottling time.
After an entire process when the grape has been the absolute protagonist, the Medianías comes over as an honest Atlantic red which conveys us to its original landscape with every sip. After appearing a low-density, lovely ruby colour, aromas of volcanic earth and ash emerge, as well as wild meadows and red fruit. On the palate it's silky and fresh, with smokiness enveloping the lively, acidic fruit that's reminiscent of Morello cherries, with glimmers of eucalyptus, cloves and white pepper in the background. Intense and delicate at the same time, it flows like lava, and refreshes like the wind.
Grilled fish / smoked fish / rice with wild mushrooms
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Young red Crianza. Venus "La Universal" Montsant, Spain Grenache, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
Bottle: £10.76 club members / £12.22 non-members
Sara and René are a knowledgeable and approachable couple, whose main aspiration as they go through life is to leave an emotional mark, not a material one, and with this aim in mind they devote themselves to looking after their own environment, and that of those they meet along the way, with complete sincerity and affection. In favour of the ecosystem, they moved over to organic cultivation years ago and viewed sustainability as a non-negotiable goal, reducing waste to the minimum, employing lower-energy materials and restructuring water and electricity consumption. In their dealings with others, they are always kind, considerate and smiling, delighted to chat about wine at any time.
If we add to two such special individuals as René and Sara the infallible combination of Garnacha and granite, it's easily understood why Montsant wine attains a new dimension in every bottle of Dido. The varietal's pleasant qualities meld extremely well with the terroir's genuine merits, producing for us a clean-cut, vibrant wine which has a translucent look in the glass, as a direct consequence of a moderate maceration. On the nose, blue and red flowers enhance hints of wild strawberries and orange peel. Touches of stone fruit emerge, which only great Garnachas are capable of delivering, accompanied by refreshing touches of Morello cherries. On the palate it's transparent and fluid; juicy to just the right extent, fruity but not overly so, and very easy to appreciate. Pure pleasure, of the sort some call femininity while many others call elegance.
Duck a l'orange / grilled swordfish
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Red Crianza. Bodegas y Viñedos Mengoba Bierzo, Spain Mencia, Alicante Bouschet
Bottle: £11.84 club members / £13.46 non-members
His philosophy as regards work is based on knowledge of and deep respect for the vineyard. Keeping the soils alive seems fundamental to someone who's looking to maintain the richness of the ecosystem. Thus, he only utilises organic fertilisers in small quantities, applies natural remedies to combat diseases and limits yields to the vigour of the plant's natural growth. He uses solely native yeasts and restricts sulphur applications to the absolute minimum. According to Grégory, it's purely by respecting the origin of the grape that authentic wines are obtained.
A good example of all this is the Mengoba red, a blend of Mencía and Alicante Bouschet, an elegant and individual wine that enchants everyone who tries it. The Mencía grapes, the predominant variety, come from a steep, slate-strewn vineyard, over 80 years old and located 700 metres above sea level; the Alicante Bouschet, otherwise known as the Garnacha Tintorera, with 50 year-old vines lying at 550 metres. The land is cultivated traditionally, with animals (cows) playing their part and all the grapes are harvested by hand. In the bodega, the wine is matured in large-capacity oak casks so as not to detract from the fruit.
Thus a red is obtained that's a lovely violet colour with a nose of cherries, black plums, liquorice, blue flowers and a touch of cocoa. On the palate it combines the body and maturity of the Alicante Bouschet (one of the few surviving grapes to have dark pulp) with the Mencía's freshness, resulting in a juicy, fresh, powerful and refined wine. Spices, hints of woodland trees and laurel conceal slightly harsh tannins which fade away with a little aeration. The mouthfeel becomes silky, pleasant, lactic, streamlined by an acidity that makes it very easy to drink. Having a fresh and rounded finish, with ash and spice suggestions that invite further sipping.
Duck / pasta with bolognese sauce
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