MODERN TIMES, MODERN WINES
Over the last decades there has been a lot of talk about "modern wines". However, the meaning of the expression has significantly changed in recent years.
During the eighties and nineties, the "modern wines" were those produced along the lines of the so-called "New World style". Particularly in Spain, but to a lesser degree pretty much elsewhere, wines became increasingly massive, over-extracted and powerful. New oak was not spared, but openly squandered. All in all, it seemed that wine was not produced in order to please the customer, but rather to overwhelm her. As you see, we speak in past tense. Does that mean that the New World trend has entirely vanished from the scene? Not at all. To this day, a significant number of producers still claim it as their trademark.
Today, the concept of what a modern wine is has changed -and, we daresay, fortunately so.- Today, modern wines are, above all, fresh and drinkable. They convey a sense of terroir and show a judicious use of wood, or no wood at all. They are intended to reach a younger audience, so they wear cool, carefully designed labels. All this, of course, without giving up on complexity.
So, let's see a few examples of this new wave of modern Spanish wines.
El Cullerot 2013 is a white wine produced by the Celler del Roure winery in the sunny region of Valencia. It has a straw-yellow colour with some golden tinges and, on the nose, it displays intoxicating aromas of exotic fruits, such as mango, lychee and passion fruit, combined with subtle notes of pears and apples. The palate is scintillating and refreshing. Flavours of citrus, some vegetal remembrances and a touch of aniseed. Long finish. A linear, accessible, interesting white.
Low-extraction is one of the key words of modern wines. An example of this is Muga Rosado 2014, from La Rioja. This rosé wine It has a bright, clean, low rosy-coloured robe with some salmon-coloured tinges. It smells of red berries, peaches, apricots, pineapple and passion fruit. On the mouth, we perceive loads of tropical fruit, evocative notes of white flowers, a dash of spices and a touch of bitter herbs. Good acidity and long, rewarding finish.
Speaking of cool labels, El Hombre Bala 2012 is a single varietal Grenache produced by the Comando G winery in the booming region of the Madrid DO. A wine with an intense, medium ruby-coloured robe that, on the nose, displays aromas of flowers and fruit, along with liquorice and balsam. The palate is wonderfully savoury and balanced, with prominent notions of menthol and undergrowth and an overall fresh quality nuanced by an almost imperceptible touch of wood.
More or less the same is true for Tocat de l’Ala 2013, the result of a joint venture between the Roig Parals and the Coca i Fitó wineries. One of the best values produced in the Catalan region of L'Empordà in recent years, this red wine has a flashy purple colour with some bluish glints and a nose that exhibits aromas of red berries, garrigue, aniseed, rosemary and blue flowers. The palate is mainly made of strawberry candies, blackberries and raspberries, but also shows remembrances of spices and balsam. Great.
Glancing back to the good old nineties, Artuke Finca de los Locos 2012 is, by contrast, more on the serious side. A red wine from Rioja, it has a dark, high cherry-coloured robe with some violet tinges. Aromas of black fruit, underbush, some creamy notes and a mineral background. Intense and bold on the palate. Liquor-infused fruit, mulberries, black currants, toast, graphite, violets and wet earth. Tense acidity and very long finish.
Finally, an astonishing Albariño crafted by the great Jorge Ordóñez in Rías Baixas. La Caña Navia 2010 is a high-end, highly confidential white wine that explains why many consider Albariño the only white grape that, in the best of all possible worlds, would cast a shadow upon Chardonnay and Riesling, the two greatest white varieties. On the nose, this Albariño shows a richness of aromas that is mind-boggling. Baked apples, white flowers, pastry, fennel, coconut juice, some vegetal hints, a dash of aromatic herbs and some mineral undertones. The palate is fresh, bold and expansive. Great structure, tremendous tension and rock-solid acidity. Besides, there's plenty of room to grow here. Already great, within a few years, this will become a majestic wine.
Well, that's it for today. Until our next post.