Wine region / Country
Cara Nord Negre 2015 (2 bottles)
Mirlo Blanco 2017 (2 bottles)
La Clave 2016 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £57.85
Club Discount Price: £49.73
You save: £8.12 (14.04%)
The colour of wines made from grapes grown at altitude is usually a lively one, a faithful reflection of their acidity which, in turn, also ensures the wines have a better evolution. The fruit is more expressive, influenced by the aromas of the plants and trees surrounding the vineyards. At high altitudes the soils are poorer, losing nutrients due to erosion. This forces the vine roots to go deeper searching for vital nutrients which leads to wines with a greater minerality and complexity. Other key factors in the production of high altitude wines are the wind and sunlight. The strong winds blowing high up on hillsides make for healthier plants, which also receive more sunlight, leading to more intense aromas in the wines.
The three wines we propose today all come from vines planted at altitudes between 500 and 800 metres high and are remarkable for the expressiveness of their fruit and their freshness. The Cara Nord Negre, Mirlo Blanco, and La Clave wines are wines which transmit the soil and landscape they grow in; wines truly influenced by the altitude they come from.
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Young red Crianza. Cara Nord Conca de Barberà, Spain Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre
Bottle: £7.68 club members / £8.94 non-members
The grapes undergo cold maceration before fermenting at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks with native yeasts. The finished wine is then stood to age in different-sized French oak barrels for five or six months before standing in underground concrete tanks for a further five months.
Its captivating aromas remind us of eucalyptus and bay leaves (aromas which grow on decantation), soil and ash, juicy wild fruits, scrub-bush, dry flowers, and pepper; somewhat reminiscent of Rhône wines. Year after year, the more primary aromas move aside as the wine gains in complexity and depth; it becomes slightly bitter but still retains its fruitiness. Clear notes of cherry and ash mix with soothing balsamic hints, which are almost medicinal. Juicy and medium-bodied on the palate, with fine tannins and a little minerality, this wine is a very pleasant drink, and easy to interpret. The Cara Nord winery does not include the Trepat, the most well-known variety in the D.O. Conca de Barberà appellation, in this coupage but still achieve a fresh wine with sensations of cold spices.
Duck with red fruits / spicy grilled swordfish
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Barrel Aged white. Alegre Wines & Spirits Rueda, Spain Verdejo
Bottle: £10.44 club members / £12.14 non-members
The history of Rueda and its most famous grape variety are expressed through this Verdejo in much the same way the family of Pilar herself is linked to this region. The vineyards used for Mirlo Blanco are in La Seca, with bush vines ranging between fifty and seventy years old planted according to a traditional staggered pattern known as tresbolillo. The plants are grouped together in fives rather like the layout on the fifth side of a dice. They grow in clay soil, covered with pebbles and sand thanks to the closeness to a river. The continental climate at this altitude of 700 m provides the grapes with their character and ensures big differences between night and daytime temperatures.
Half of the wine is fermented in 300-500 litre barrels and the other half in stainless steel tanks where the wine stands with its fine lees until March, when both wines are blended together. The wood is used to round off and give body to the wine, not to hide its flavour behind wooden aromas. In each bottle of Mirlo Blanco, whose design in white and orange colours reminds us of the plumage and beak of the bird (mirlo blanco is a white-coloured blackbird), there awaits a wine not created for the mass market but for those wine-lovers who are real fans of the Verdejo variety. It has a lush nose with an interesting combination of vegetable and citric aromas. Moderately creamy, smooth and discretely tropical, this is a fresh and salty wine. New aromas appear as you drink it, such as peach, gooseberry, or hay. It has a bitter and vegetable finish, reflecting the essence of the grape variety and rounding off a fatty but fresh wine, with hints of lime and subtle notes of anise.
Smoked eel / cheeses with herbs
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Young red Crianza. Raúl Pérez Viticultor Bierzo, Spain Mencia, Syrah, Tempranillo
Bottle: £6.75 club members / £7.84 non-members
The majority of grapes used are hand-harvested Mencia (90%). These are partially separated from the stems and fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel tanks and 5,000-litre oak barrels. Maceration is carried out with regular punch-downs (pigéage) for a month to extract all the qualities of the crispy grape skins.
Following 12 months ageing in used French oak barrels, La Clave offers us a wonderful purple colour of medium intensity, with a lush nose unusual in a wine in this price range. It exudes plentiful aromas, from bay leaves and ash, to cool notes of minerals, violets, or fresh red fruit. On decanting, fine notes of smoke or sandy dust appear. Shy to start with, this wine soon becomes austere and deep, thanks to its rough tannins and fine acidity. Although it has a small amount of Syrah and Tempranillo grapes, La Clave is a clear example of what a Mencia wine is; smoky, fresh, and complex, with a good mineral background and fruit which stands well through its ageing. It has an after-taste of malt and peat reminding us of dark beer, with fine but slight hints of wood.
Grilled rabbit / smoked sausages / Gouda
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