Browse Tag


Terra incognita

[piñol]Celler Piñol 2005 Terra Alta “Sacra Natura” (Cataluña) — 35% cariñena, 20% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 15% syrah, 10% tempranillo. The structural grapes have been just enough to hold the aromatic/textural grapes together this long, and in fact after a wan start the wine gains in strength and cohesiveness as it airs, but there are frays and tatters that shouldn’t be ignored. Rich, warm, dark, dusty fruit laid upon a decaying bed of dried leaves. (11/16)


Torres 2010 “Viña Esmeralda” Moscato (Cataluña) – Sweet, simple, friendly, boring in a very predictable way. I’m glad for the world’s commercial wine ventures that muscat’s popularity is exploding, because drinkable muscat is something all but the truly incompetent can pretty much make in their sleep. And if it means grafting over a few zillion acres of useless chardonnay, all the better. (2/12)

Mendall fences

Serres “Mendall” 2010 “Finca Abeurador” (Cataluña) – Skin-contact macabeu (local name; macabeo or viura elsewhere). Sludgy orange wine, too tannic for whatever else it attempts to offer. It’s very big, it’s very loud (though much of the volume is the macerated drone of an oenological bagpipe), but in the end there’s not as much of a point as it probably hopes to make. (1/12)

Silencis golden

Raventós i Blanc 2010 Penedès “Silencis” (Cataluña) – Very liquid, with white peppercorn and nut spices in an applewood broth. Starts off better than it finishes. (11/11)

Joe LaCava

German Gilabert Cava Brut Nature Rosat (Cataluña) – Trepat and garnacha. Less interesting than the white, with fruit sheets wrapped around bones. All treble, little midrange, no bass. (8/11)

Gee, a French bear

German Gilabert Cava Brut Nature Reserva (Cataluña) – Macabeo, xarel•lo, and parellada. If I say that this is the best cava I’ve ever had, that shouldn’t be over-interpreted as a superlative; while I’ve had my share of cava over the years, almost none of it has been aspirational. Nuts and flowers with an inner electricity; this is very appealing, but its duration is extremely short. I don’t mean that the finish is short, I mean that it’s so gulpable that it’s gone in mere minutes. (8/11)


Torres “10” Penedès Brandy (Cataluña) – Supple caramel, wet satin, a touch of cane sugar. I don’t want to like this as much as I do, but it’s awfully easy to like. (6/11)

Donis make you wanna holler?

Capçanes “Mas Donis” 2009 Montsant Rosat (Cataluña) – Strawberry and red cherry edging towards and peering over candied, but not so far past that edge that it’s unpleasant. It’s just very modernistic, shiny, and bright. But it would work just as well as a pastille, I think. (8/10)

I, white

Raventós I Blanc 2005 Cava “l’Hereu Reserva” Brut (Cataluña) – Deep, nutty, and rich, with yeasted lemons and fine structure. A sophisticated bubbly, not too demanding, but with good presence. (1/10)


Bodegas 3 Sueños “Sexto” 2005 Terra Alta (Cataluña) – “Sexto” for the six grapes: garnacha, carignan, tempranillo, and then small additions of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and lledoner pelut noir. No, I’ve never heard of it either. The wine itself is an affable fruit bomb, dark, plummy, and full of berried bursts and lush obviousness. Perhaps a sprinkle of pepper as well. There’s a little bit of structure clinging to an outcropping waaaay off to the side, but it’s a bit player at best. Fun. (12/09)