April 2018 Selection

Hidden treasures

April 2018 Selection

Nekeas Cepa por Cepa Garnacha 2016 (2 bottles)
Jordi Llorens Atikete 2016 (2 bottles)
Tanuki Bob 2015 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £64.33
Club Discount Price: £55.31
You save: £9.03 (14.03%)

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About this selection...

If we look beyond the well-known appellations and their praised wineries, we can discover a number of less well-known wine producing regions in Spain trying to find a place for their products to sit amongst the best wines in the country. Some of these cases are small personal projects, others are larger wine cellars, but they all have one thing in common — their endeavour and hard work. These less glamorous areas often produce exceptional wines but they have to strive for recognition of their products. When they achieve it, their wines offer surprises and rewards to all those willing to try them.

The three wines we propose this month offer proof of this. First of all, the Nekeas Cepa por Cepa Garnacha, a red wine full of character which shows once more the great potential of the Navarrese soil and the painstaking work carried out by the Bodegas Nekeas cellar. Sampling this wine offers you the essence of the long lives of the Grenache grapes and the freshness of vineyards surrounded by woodland.

Next up, we have Atikete, one of the red wines produced by the generous and sociable Jordi Llorens in his dear Conca de Barberà area. Jordi is adept at combining international varieties which adapt to the Tarragona soil with native grapes, stronger in character, to develop wines which only he could imagine. Jordi Llorens' wines are natural, fluid, balanced and seductive. It is no coincidence that they have a place on many wine lists in the top restaurants in the world.

Last, but not least, the 4 Kilos Vinícola winery in Mallorca presents us with a jewel from Balearic vineyards. Their Tanuki Bob wine is produced solely from Manto negro grapes and is further proof of the surprises and emotions wines from the Balearic islands can offer us. Fresh, smooth, deep, and amiable — this wine shrugs off the old stereotype of Manto negro wines being inexpressive, and shows this grape variety can aim high.

Navarre, Catalonia, or Mallorca; Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet, or Manto negro — with this selection of grapes you will feel like a daring adventurer searching for hidden treasures

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Nekeas Cepa por Cepa Garnacha 2016 (2 bottles)

Young red Crianza. Bodegas Nekeas Navarre, Spain Grenache, Tempranillo

Bottle: £4.51 club members / £5.25 non-members

For some strange reason the wines of Navarre seem to have been ostracised. Many of us still remember the great rosé wines from Navarre but we seem to have forgotten that this northern area is at the forefront of embracing international grape varieties. Let's not forget, either, that native varieties, such as the Grenache, also perform to their best in these soils. In fact, there are many examples of high-quality wines based on the Grenache variety which, together with their risible prices, makes it hard to explain why Navarrese wines have been ignored.

Some years ago, the team at the Nekeas winery discovered a treasure — the small plots of land with old Grenache vines hidden amongst forests of Kermes oak trees. These old vines produce very few grapes — but, small and intense, they capture all the essence of this variety. Nekeas chose the strongest plants, those best-adapted to extreme conditions, and reproduced them by selecting the best shoots, vine by vine (hence the name of the wine, Cepa por Cepa, which means vine by vine). In this way they preserved a priceless genetic heritage.

The regrafted vines produced their first harvest in 2008 and since then their grapes have continued gaining in complexity and structure. They were originally combined with Tempranillo grapes but over the years they have shown clearly that they can work alone. The Cepa por Cepa wine is a classic Grenache wine with all the virtues that have catapulted this grape variety to fame. It is a fresh, juicy wine dominated by aromas of wild strawberries and spices such as black pepper. It is delicate yet intense on the palate, both accessible and seductive. Its tannins seem to be virtually non-existent, but they give the wine its structure. The short time this wine is kept in barrels simply brings out the fruit without affecting the flowery aromas and more spontaneous hints of fruit. Do you want to know what a good Grenache wine tastes like? If so, you must open a bottle of Cepa por Cepa for its pure Grenache essence.

Sirloin steak / roast lamb

  • Alcohol content: 13,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 14ºC and 16ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2020.

Nekeas Cepa por Cepa Garnacha 2016
Front and back

Jordi Llorens Atikete 2016 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Celler Jordi Llorens Wines without GI, Spain Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bobal

Bottle: £12.11 club members / £14.09 non-members

The Atikete wine is one more example of the great red wines produced by Jordi Llorens at his cellar in the Conca de Barberà area. Jordi uses native yeasts (as he always does) to conduct the alcoholic fermentation and extract the best qualities from the grapes. The wine then ages in 225 and 400-litre used oak barrels which helps to shape the wine without losing any of the fruity aromas it has acquired.

This wine combines the freshness of the indigenous red Grenache grapes with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon ones. Jordi Llorens is a strong believer in working with grape varieties which adapt best to the local environment and this is the case with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, two grapes which thrive in the Conca de Barberà. The blend also includes a small amount of Bobal grapes. Jordi and his clients love this variety — a grape very common in the wine-making regions of Manchuela and Utiel-Requena, but used much less often in Catalonia.

When served, the wine offers us aromas of the forest, almost as if it were inviting us to walk among the vineyards it came from. Aromas of wild fruit, flowers, and hints of shrubs and thickets, combine with a fine trace of liqueur to give elegance to this firm-bodied and delicately spicy wine. You can just notice the wood, but the soil is clearly felt; wild cherries, blackcurrants and a hint of smoke add to its aroma, making the Atikete a fresh complete wine — a personal but accessible wine, able to seduce lovers of great wines as well as recent converts to wine-appreciation.

Rice with wild mushrooms / roasted poultry / meats cooked on hot stone

  • Alcohol content: 13,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 14ºC and 16ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2021.

Jordi Llorens Atikete 2016
Front and back

Tanuki Bob 2015 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. 4 Kilos Vinícola Mallorca, Spain Mantonegro

Bottle: £11.04 club members / £12.84 non-members

Coming across a single-variety Manto negro wine is always great news, but if this wine has been touched by the magic wand of the team at the 4 Kilos Vinícola winery in Felanitx, then the news is even more exciting. For this project they have worked with the Amadip Esment Foundation, a body working to improve the quality of life and promote equal opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.

Tanuki is the Japanese name for the raccoon dog, an animal which forms an important part of the ancestral culture of Japan, and is a symbol of good luck and prosperity. The winery describes the Tanuki Bob wine as "an easy-going, cheeky, and mischievous animal that likes to do nothing better than to eat, drink, and scratch its tummy".

The whole grapes undergo a semi-carbonic maceration in 4,000-litre oak foudres and the resulting wine then spends nine months in these casks. It then stands in stainless steel tanks for a further nine months before being bottled. The grape vines are cultivated ecologically in a pebble-laden reddish soil (reminding us of Châteauneuf-du-Pape) with a covering of vegetation to encourage the variety and richness of the life found there.

With a pale and bright ruby red colour, this wine gives off energy. The way the light reflects on it shows off its vigour and verticality. It has aromas of mountain herbs, wild strawberries, liquorice, shrubs and stones. When being consumed, it is agile but complex; tannic, fresh, and tempting. It has hints of Burgundy wines, or even Galician ones; flowery, ethereal, and seductive, from a rustic base.

Roasted pork / veal carpaccio / cheeses with herbs

  • Alcohol content: 14,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 14ºC and 16ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2023.

Tanuki Bob 2015
Front and back

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