BODEGAS COTA 45, RAMIRO IBANEZ, Sanlucar
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- Ode to Wine
- CASA DE CELLO, Entre-Douro e Minho and Dão
- ITALY –– STATE OF THE MANY NATIONS REPORT
- In The Vineyard – The Biodynamic Clock
BODEGAS COTA 45, RAMIRO IBANEZ, Sanlucar
UBE won knobe – the flor-ce is with these proto-sherries.
These are still white wines made under flor from numerous old Palomino clones, rediscovering styles of Manzanilla that were
made in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Ramiro Ibáñez Espinar, is a restless and talented winemaker who, with experience in Bordeaux and Australia as well as his
native Sanlúcar, runs a winemakeing consultancy under the name GL Cero used by various bodegas in the Marco de Jerez.
He is hugely enthusiastic about the potential of albariza soil and the recovery of traditional local grape varieties, many of
which are all but lost, and which are no longer permitted in the Consejo regulations. He makes all sorts of interesting wines to
demonstrate the terroir and personality of each vineyard and grape variety without letting too much flor obscure it. Ramiro
was a founder member of Manifiesto 119, a group of like-minded local wine producers who want to experiment with the old
varieties and winemaking techniques, make unfortified sherry and give more importance to the grapes and the vineyard, not to
mention restoring casas de viña. They chose this name after the 119 grape varieties (40 of them in Cádiz) catalogued in
Andalucía in 1807 by the first Spanish ampelographer, Simón de Rojas Clemente. Like Ramiro the group makes table wines as
well as Sherry, and while few of them carry the DO they are still sought after and hard to obtain due to the small quantities
made. One of the projects is called Ube and focuses on old vine Palomino from different clones fermented in an old
Manzanilla butt without flor.
UBE Miraflores uses old clones of Palomino and is mix of three different albarizas (chalky soil with high fossil content):
lentejuelas (grainy); tosca cerrada (lower chalk content, harder) and lustrillo (chalky with iron)
The grapes derive from five different vineyards of the Pago Miraflores area in Sanlúcar – the largest and most heterogeneous
vineyard area of Sanlúcar. This blend of different albariza soils and vineyard gives the equivalent of a “village” Sanlúcar
Carrascal is from the Las Vegas vineyard, the highest in the Pago de Carrasacal, and the closest area to the Atlantic. The
vines are original rootstock Palomino and the terroir is lentejuelas, a grainy type of Albariza soil. The wine is fermented in
500 litre sherry butts with indigenous yeasts, aged in very old barrels and bottled after a light filtration and minimal sulphites
What is also delightful is the uplift of beautiful chalky acidity and the wines weigh in at an eminently drinkable 12-12.5% abv.
Los Angeles (thirst)slakers!
COTA 45 UBE MIRAFLORES
COTA 45 UBE CARRASCAL
COTA 45 MIRAFLORES - magnum
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2016 LISTAN BLANCO
Ode to Wine
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
as a golden sword,
as lascivious velvet,
and full of wonder,
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
you feed on mortal
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchres,
and we weep
blood rises through the shoots,
wind incites the day,
nothing is left
of your immutable soul.
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
and rocky cliffs,
as song is born.
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A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness.
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own.
My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendour of life.
But you are more than love,
the fiery kiss,
the heat of fire,
more than the wine of life;
the community of man,
chorus of discipline,
abundance of flowers.
I like on the table,
when we’re speaking,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
and remember in every
drop of gold,
in every topaz glass,
in every purple ladle,
that autumn laboured
to fill the vessel with wine;
and in the ritual of his office,
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.
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VALE DA CAPUCHA, PEDRO MARQUES, Lisboa – Organic
Pedro Marques’ Vale da Capucha wines are from organically farmed vines situated in the Lisbon region around eight km
from the Atlantic Ocean in limestone soils rich with fossils. The precept is simple: maximum human work in the vineyard and
minimum intervention in the winery. The resulting terroir-driven wines come from a medley of Portuguese varieties: Arinto;
Fernão Pires; Alvarinho: Antão Vaz; Gouveio; Viosinho; Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz.
The 2012 Alvarinho is hand harvested with low yields. The grapes are whole bunch pressed. The juice ferments with the skins
and on the lees for three weeks before being racked off and spending a further 20 months on the fine lees and the wine is then
bottled without filtration or fining and with a wee bit of SO2.
The Gouveio (Portugal’s version of Godello) is an addition to our portfolio. This white has a brilliant line of acidity allied to
some pretty crunchy seashell minerality.
Arinto is a versatile grape, grown in most of Portugal’s wine regions. In Vinho Verde country, it goes by the name of
Pedernã. It makes vibrant wines with lively, refreshing acidity, often with a mineral quality, along with gentle
flavours reminiscent of apple, lime and lemon. Pedro’s version tickles the tongue with maximum prejudice.
Pedro subscribes to the less-is-more approach. And also leaving the wines to come into focus in their own good time.
VALE DA CAPUCHA VINHO BRANCO
VALE DA CAPUCHA ALVARINHO
VALE DA CAPUCHA GOUVEIO
VALE DA CAPUCHA ARINTO
VALE DA CAPUCHA CASTELAO
For most of the 20
Century, the Dão region in northern Portugal never quite lived up to its potential. Due to government
regulation, private firms were forced to buy finished wine from ten co-operatives scattered throughout the region. This
system was finally changed in 1989 with Portugal’s entry into the EU. Since then, a winemaking revolution has occurred in
Dão and throughout Portugal, as young winemakers and new property owners have been bringing top winemaking
techniques to the native Portuguese varieties. Owner João Pedro Araujo of Casa de Cello has teamed up with Pedro
Anselmo, star winemaker of Quinta do Ameal and others, to make Quinta da Vegia. Located in the Dão region near Penalva
de Castelo, Quinta da Vegia has 20 ha of vineyard planted to Touriga Nacional, Aragonês (the local clone of Tempranillo)
and Trincadeira Preta. Porta Fronha is their 222rborio cuvée, bursting with crunchy red berry fruit, plus food-friendly
earthy and spicy notes. Deep, bright red. Spicy, almost saline aromas of fresh red berries, plums and cherry skin. Lively and
sweet, the red fruit qualities showing striking purity and focus. Really delicious wine with impressive lift and energy to the
finish, which leaves a strong impression of pure, fresh strawberry and raspberry fruit. Already drinking well. – Tanzer The
Vinho Verde, in the words of two famous adverts, does what it says on the label whilst staying sharp to the bottom of the
glass. A blend of Avesso and Loureira it conveys the customary pear and apple fruit aromas, with a touch of floral and
green notes. Lovely succulent fruit on the palate, with lots of lemon and dry, appley qualities and very dry, pithy lemon
VINHO VERDE BRANCO QUINTA DE SANJOANNE
DAO TINTO QUINTA DA VEGIA PORTA FRONHA
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of the Lima river. Sheltered by hills and forests from the north and west winds, they receive welcome breezes from the
south bringing the Atlantic influence that characterizes the freshness of the wines.
We begin with a Loureiro which displays a variety of pleasant citrus fruits on the palate such as lemon and tangerine.
Fruits, flowers and minerality are the key notes within a delicate balance between sweetness and acidity.
Vinho Verde is the product of its micro-climate; the result of the richness and purity of the land which is the legacy of
centuries of agriculture; a sandy, granitic soil that endows the wines with a special acidity and minerality: these are the main
features of the terroir. A classic Teinturier grape (see Alicante Bouschet and Saperavi) Vinhão is one of the oddities in which
the juice from the flesh is crimson not clear. The red grapes, after being destalked go directly into fermentation vats or the
“lagares” together with their skins, where they go through a process of maceration in order to maximize the extraction of
colour and polyphenolic elements.
Dark as the inside of a coal mine at midnight the Aphros Vinho Verde has impenetrable opacity, presents a slightly prickly
sensation in the mouth and then bursts out smilingly with thick gobs of bramble jam and exotic black cherries and black
raspberries. The tannins are chewy, agreeably abrasive, and, twinned with the angular acidity, create a pucker-sour-sizzle
combination which confronts the palate with plenty of difficult textural adjustments. You can almost smell the colour of this
distilled purple juice; it’s as if the skins had been freshly ripped off the flesh and just finished fermenting in the glass. The
texture is part stalky and part bitter chocolate but it is the kinetic acidity that simultaneously drives the tannins over the gums
and helps to alleviate their astringency. This is a prime example where cultural context might provide the narrative necessary
to appreciate the spirit of the wine. Served chilled with some slow cooked shoulder of pork or one of those artery-coating
Asturian bean stews this wine’s snappy vitality would not only cut through, but dissolve, fat. I can think of few better drinks to
be supped al fresco, preferably in a carafe, where the thrilling, almost unreal intensity of the colour and the joyfully rasping
rusticity would seem to laugh in the face of wine convention.
The Palhete harks back to a traditional Portuguese style, a co-ferment of white and red grapes. Its colour and texture remind
one of Jura grapes, with the sour flavours provided by the Vinhão—despite it being only 20 percent of the blend.
Vasco write: “It is hard to credit what a natural and effortless endeavour it was to make this conversion. The amphorae
(which are very difficult to find) that found their way to me were from Alentejo, all six from the same supplier, lined with
beeswax by a marvellous potter (who is also a healer and is conversant with plant medicine). In the cellar, all I had to do was
to remove a lot of electric cables, build a 20 cm step for the amphorae, and change the lighting. As for equipment I bought a
perfectly functioning manual pump for 180,00 euros, had a manual de-stemmer made by a carpenter, and recycled a crusher
and a press from my great grandmother’s time.
We’re making two different wines: a 100% Loureiro, which is now fermenting in three amphorae, each with a different
proportion of stems/whole grapes/must; and a « Palhete », a blend of 80% Loureiro and 20% Vinhão.
The Palhete is in line with the tradition of ancient Portuguese wines. Most red wines in Iberia were in fact blends of white and
red grapes before the XVIII century. That is why they were called « Tinto », meaning « tinted”. In medieval times the symbolic
image that monks had in mind, when making red wine, was the blood of Christ. A wine that to contain light and transparency
within itself. In Alentejo, the Portuguese region where the amphora tradition has been established for 2000 years, white wines
(from amphora) are the most typical and appreciated
APHROS LOUREIRO VINHO VERDE BRANCO
APHROS FAUNUS LOUREIRO AMPHORA
AFROS VINHAO VINHO VERDE TINTO
APHROS FAUNUS PALHETE AMPHORA
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During the last few years we have enjoyed several sensuous epiphanies in Italy. Imagine wallowing in a heated spa swimming pool
toasting a snow-capped Mont Blanc with a glass of sparkling Blanc de Morgex, or tasting 1961 Barolo in the Borgogno winery, or eating
almonds under the pergola vines in Sankt Magdalener…
Much hithering and thithering has allowed us to probe the hidden corners of this amazing country. Friuli, abutting Slovenia, has provided
perhaps the most varied and recondite taste sensations: the biodynamic wines of Benjamin Zidarich, for example, (consider salty-mineral
Vitovska and sapid, cherry-bright Terrano), the more constructed amber efforts of Princic nodding and winking to Gravner, a spicy
ramato (copper-hued) Pinot Grigio from Bellanotte, and a dry Verduzzo and Schioppettino respectively from Bressan – to name but a
few. In Piedmont we are working successfully with Giacomo Borgogno, one of the oldest estates in Barolo. The wines are organic and
delicious, drinkable now and endlessly ageworthy. Another estate that prides itself on using no chemicals is Sottimano in Barbaresco. The
2004 Fausoni is destined to be a memorable vintage, its supreme elegance making up for the natural austerity of the wine. After a long
hunt we finally discovered two superb Brunellos: Pian dell’ Orino and Il Paradiso di Manfredi. Uncompromising pure wines at the
former; no kowtowing to the palates of certain American wine critics at this establishment whilst the authentic Brunellos from Manfredi
magically capture the essential purity of the Sangiovese grape.
When you’re choosing Italian wine you don’t have to sacrifice yourself on the altar of orthodoxy. PG has for too long stood not for
Parental Guidance but for vapid Pinot Grigio or Pappy Gruel. Ditch the dishwater! How does unfiltered Prosecco, made in the ancestral
fashion from pre-phylloxera vines, sound instead? Or Sicilian Cerasuolo – fermented in amphorae? Or perhaps you have an irrational
hankering for a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from 1991? Or a dry Lacrima di Morro d’Alba? And wouldn’t you like to open a bottle of
Vecchio Samperi (a dry, unfortified traditional-style Marsala) from Marco de Bartoli and know that it would be still in perfect condition
in several week’s time? From the communes of Valle d’Aosta, nestling on the Swiss border, to the baking volcanic plug of Pantelleria
swept by hot winds off the Sahara, every corner of Italy throws up a grape variety, a quirky tradition or some delicious vinous oddity that
keeps the most jaded palate on taste-bud tenterhooks.
We don’t set out deliberately to buy wines that are organic and biodynamic – these labels are practically irrelevant as many wine growers
adapt elements of natural philosophy or vineyard practice in order to make better wines from healthier vines, but, it so happens that about
half of our Italian wineries are working to a consistent and rigorous programme of sustainable viticulture and minimal intervention. The
link between organic/biodynamic farming and terroir (or typicity) is surely undeniable, and, if it cannot be proven by lab technicians in
the sterile conditions of a laboratory, it can certainly be tasted time and again in the wines. Of course, good winemaking exalts the
expression of terroir, but it doesn’t have to be overtly interventionist. This year, at our “Real Wine Tasting” we brought together growers
from various regions of Italy – the link being that they all worked without chemicals in the vineyard (encouraging biodiversity) and
without adjustments in the winery. With no make up and no pretension the wines simply tasted of themselves; the strong, distinctive
flavours announced proudly that the wines could only come where they came from, a bonus and a relief in the face of global pressure to
create styles to please the “common denominator palate (whatever that might be). Thank goodness for diversity; vive la difference, as
they don’t say in Rome.
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For whereso’er I turn my ravished eyes/ Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise; /Poetic fields encompass me around/And still I
seem to tread on classic ground.
Joseph Addison – Letter From Italy
In the last couple of years we have assembled an agency portfolio of “Italian terroiristes”, a group of growers dedicated to producing wines
of purity, typicity and individuality, who are not only perfectionists and passionate about their own wines but also fine ambassadors for
their respective regions. Our idea was to represent growers from both Italy’s classic and lesser-seen regions. From the Alpine valleys of
Valle d’Aosta to its baking southern Mediterranean coast Italy is many countries with a fascinating diversity of cultures, climates and wine
styles. It is our intention to demonstrate the Italian wines can match the French for regional diversity and sensitivity to terroir. We have
examples of rare traditional indigenous varieties such as Longanesi, Albana, Monica, Mayolet and Petit Rouge and also the best expression
of better-known grapes such as Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Montepulciano.
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