"fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to the grape"
It was the enormous pleasure of Bubble Brothers to welcome winery bloggers Emilio Saez van Eerd of Casa Vides and Javier Navarro of Bodegas Tintoralba , to Cork yesterday for a flying visit and tasting.
Thanks to the various kinds of technology at our disposal, and with samples from Casa Vides having been sent on in advance, a minimum of organizational effort meant that a varied panel of tasters assembled here at the Wine Depot in the afternoon sunshine to try something new from the Alicante area of south-eastern Spain. The restaurant trade, the Press, Web 2.0+, and our competitors in the wine business were all represented, with a number of apologies received and promises to join us next time. I should like to thank all those who came to take part, meet up, taste the wines and contribute their opinions.
Emilio, whom you can almost make out in the photo above, (all that I was able to salvage from my camera before the batteries ran out...), has given Casa Vides (aka La Casa de las Vides) a very significant presence in just a couple of months by blogging, flickring and tweeting as a means of beginning the human conversations that establish a reputation and that may eventually lead to sales.
Four hundred years ago, Alicante wine was the in thing, and Emilio and Javier would of course like the association with quality to be renewed through the activities of the wineries they represent. On our tasting, they're in with a chance. I've already reviewed the wines of Tintoralba; and will again, now that the samples of new vintages Javier sent have reached us. But what we tried yesterday were the wines of Casa Vides.
A full, rich, but fresh and floral blend of the indigenous Verdil grape blended with Sauvignon Blanc, Maccabeo and Gewurtztraminer, the white wine in the blue bottle, Vallblanca, impressed us all as something very different and, despite its richness, a wine that is easy to enjoy.
The rosé, Rosa Rosae, from Tempranillo and Garnacha, delivered much more in the mouth than an unexpectedly earthy, savoury nose promised: it's mouth-filling and pleasantly astringent "like a boiled sweet without the sweetness".
We had the luxury of two vintages, 2006 and 2007, of the semicrianza Tempranillo/Syrah blend Cup. Both were rounded, with fine long tannins and dark, spicy fruit, and the 2007 I think carried the day. Very good wine, on the border of drink-on-its-own and drink-with-food.
Aculius is the estate's crianza, with a blend of Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah brooding in the glass and delivering the silky punch you would have felt for yourself if you'd joined us.
A very good dinner at no. 5 Fenn's Quay gave us the opportunity to discuss some of the day's business and also leave it behind for the pleasures of conversation not to do with work - though it's work that is sometimes, strangely, easy to like.