In my last post on this subject, I actually never said anything specifically about the 2012 Espelt Garnacha currently in the store. Let's correct that now. The nose is dark berries, bitter chocolate, black pepper, and smoke. The color is an inky ruby. On the palate the wine is juicy and sweet with a chewy texture with pungent blackberry and blueberry flavors. After being open a while licorice and minerality emerge. All of the above descriptors are from Stephen Tanzer who, along with Robert Parker, grade this wine 90 points.
Parker, by the way, cites black fruit, kirsch, lavender, and strawberry in the flavor profile and notes that in the mouth the wine is medium bodied yet dense, rich, and round and finishes smoothly and softly. Parker recommends it with meats, pasta, and Cheddar(?) and Manchego cheeses; Tanzer just says rich foods. Parker says to enjoy this wine in the next two to three years.
I also found a Spanish vintage chart that declared the 2012 vintage in Emporda to be "very good" like most vintages through the years in that part of the country. Only five vintages since 1970 were graded "excellent" according to that chart.
The 2012 Espelt Garnacha is 100% "Old Vine" Garnacha which is aged 3-4 months in new French oak before release. On 8/24/13 we blogged about Garnacha/Grenache if you want to know more about the grape.
The Espelt vineyards were planted in 1920 in the province of Girona in the Emporda D.O. The soil is sand and gravel from decomposed granite located one mile from the Mediterranean Sea. 60% of Emporda wines are full-bodied, well-structured reds made from Garnacha, Tempranillo, and Monastrell; 20% are whites; 16% are roses; and 4% are dessert wines. Half of the wine produced is bottled for export and half is sold locally in bulk.
Today Espelt Garnacha is a very special value in red wine but it wasn't always so. The Emporda D.O. was established in 1972 but that was an optimistic governmental stamp of approval. For most of the twentieth century Catalonian wines in general were made in large cooperatives and sold cheaply in bulk. It wasn't until the late 1990's that investment money poured into the region funding the craft winery/bodega revolution that created the modern Espelt and others.
On Friday March 7th between 5 and 8pm, Ted Field of Domaine Wine Distributors will be here with more Europeans for us to try. Moreover, Chef Andrew Tokas, friend and business associate of Mr. Fields, will man the cheese table, making sure the right cheese will be there for each wine. Please join us for that special event. And for gosh sakes, become a follower of this blog. Don't you know how popular this thing is!?