July 2017 Selection

Garnachas for summertime

July 2017 Selection

Ilercavònia 2016 (2 bottles)
Altaroses 2015 (2 bottles)
Costumbres Tinto 2015 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £64.33
Club Discount Price: £54.62
You save: £9.72 (15.10%)

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About this selection...

Due to the vagaries of the summer weather, this time of year can require careful choosing, but the rewards from suitably selected wines are boundless. Therefore, good wine buffs are well within their rights to demand wines that are fresh, yet not without some complexity for these warmer months.

If we're looking among Mediterranean grapes for the most expressive and versatile, there's no doubt the Garnacha will promptly appear on the list of candidates. When it's dark-skinned, it's capable of offering soft, fresh wines, with strawberry and cherry aromas and restrained tannins. The white version combines plenty of volume with a delicate touch and balanced acidity.

Nowadays, the Garnacha Blanca almost automatically means Terra Alta. In that denomination to the south of Cataluña, a very significant amount of this grape is grown and a very high percentage of its white wines are made exclusively from it. One such example is Ilercavònia 2016, a white boasting a historic name and a perfumed nose that instantly transports us to the region's limestone soils. A few kilometres to the east, we find the renowned Montsant, where the Garnacha Tinta offers some of the world's most exceptional single varietals; you'll find the lactic, fruity aromas of Altaroses 2015 most seductive and immediately understand what we mean. To conclude, lovely Mediterranean breezes will steer us towards a wine that expresses itself quietly, as good Riojas and good Garnachas do; Costumbres 2015 is a lively wine, crammed with red fruit and woodland freshness which uncovers for us a corner of the denomination that's too often forgotten.

Whether white or red, from the Terra Alta, Montsant or Rioja, the Garnacha is always a special grape, one which is capable of displaying a wide diversity of styles and, in its most delicate form, makes a perfect partner for summer.

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Ilercavònia 2016 (2 bottles)

Young white. Altavins Terra Alta, Spain White Grenache

Bottle: £7.25 club members / £8.57 non-members

Ilercavònia is a single varietal Garnacha Blanca from Terra Alta, a region that in Iberian times was inhabited by a tribe called the Ilercavons. Just like them, the present-day inhabitants of Cataluña's most southerly denomination feel strongly rooted to their land and traditions, for example "el ball de la dansada" (a type of dance) or their favourite grape: the Garnacha Blanca.

This variety reveals all its merits in this particular wine with its fragrant nose, resulting from a long pelicular maceration. Its ample palate is coated in fine salt, the distinctive touch of many of the region's good whites. Delicate bitter touches of cool minerality swathe the fruit's ripeness (melon and pear), the wild fennel and white flowers. Its aromas overwhelm in a very positive way, obliging our senses to make a huge effort to take them in completely. On the palate, there's pure balance, the perfect equation between powerfulness and elegance, complexity and subtlety. It's long and persistent on the memory, so much so that it proves very difficult to put the glass down, therefore we recommend drinking it accompanied with food which will enhance its merits.

Honey baked cod / cheese croquettes

  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 5ºC and 6ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2018.

Ilercavònia 2016
Front and back

Altaroses 2015 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Celler Joan d'Anguera Montsant, Spain Grenache

Bottle: £9.15 club members / £10.77 non-members

Altaroses is a red wine made in Darmós, in the Montsant DO. Its grapes come from the estate which the wine is named after and, like all those owned by the winery, it's cultivated under biodynamic principles with certification since the 2012 vintage, the culmination of a historic respect for the land and its fruits.

After harvesting the grapes by hand and treading them underfoot with no destalking, the must undergoes alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel; the malolactic occurs in concrete tanks, in which 80% of the wine will also be aged for 12 months. The remaining 20% matures in used oak barrels for the same length of time and both vinifications are blended just before bottling and without filtration.

After an essential decanting and once in the glass, the red fruit and clean-cut bramble aromas combine with spices and fine lactic notes. Immediately, the change of style introduced by the winery some years ago can be discerned, when there was a move away from a dark, powerful red towards producing elegance and refinement. Its tannins are intense yet noble, since the old barrels in their 5th or 6th year, hardly imparting any aromas to the wine, fine tune it with a polished tannicity. The amount of sulphites is minimal and the nose benefits from it, bestowing strong hints of cherries, liquorice and a clear sensation of minerality. Its distinctive acidity interspersed with delicate bitter touches turns it into an amazing and original wine, a "granatxa" of the olden days, when with one sip you felt you were right out there in the vineyard.

Roasted pork / oven-baked quails / ossobuco

  • Alcohol content: 14,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 14ºC and 16ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2020.

Altaroses 2015
Front and back

Costumbres Tinto 2015 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Vinos en Voz Baja Rioja, Spain Grenache

Bottle: £10.91 club members / £12.84 non-members

In the same way that many of the most important statements we make are said in a whisper, some of the best wines in the world speak quietly of themselves. Perhaps this was the idea that inspired Carlos Mazo and Isabel Ruiz to get this small project underway in the Rioja Baja, the quietest corner of the whole denomination.

Its Costumbres red is a wine that aims to look back, to the years when the vines teemed with life, times when chemicals didn't play a part in their cultivation and grapes expressed themselves with total naturalness. The aromas of fresh cherries and a vibrant acidity combine with the mature and rather rustic central component from which hints of earth and stalk emerge. After a while in the glass, there appear new notes of black olives, fine balsamic and undergrowth. The used oak employed in the fermentation and ageing can be discerned, but they don't obstruct the fruit, doing no more than adding light toasty nuances overall. On the palate it's both pleasant and expressive, with red fruit as the leading light and freshness the best feature. Its finish, marked by violets and an indescribable woodland quality, seems to demand quietly, a greater protagonism for the Rioja Baja and for its marvellous Mediterranean Garnachas.

Roasted poultry / young goat's ribs coated in breadcrumbs / semi-cured cheeses

  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 14ºC and 16ºC
  • For drinking this year.

Costumbres Tinto 2015
Front and back

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