The final part of Ferran's report on wines of particular interest tasted when he was confined to his Barcelona home by the pandemic. See also Spain 2020 – exciting newcomers and Spain 2020 – established players' news. Above, Sota els Àngels in Empordà in the far north-east of Spain.
The 12 wines below are listed in alphabetical order by producer, but you can reorder them as you wish.
40-year-old Bobal vines located at 400–600 m above sea level in Requena, Valencia. Aged for 4 months in French oak and 2 months in clay eggs.
This has a rather organic-compost-like nose completed by blueberries, a herbal minty note, smoke and white pepper. It is all about freedom of expression and fluidity: unforced. Slightly harsh tannin, very well-managed bitterness and crunchy acidity. Very fun and a pleasant wine to enjoy while it is young. (FC)
The name comes from the 92 barrels where the wine has rested for more than 300 days.
Lots of ripe and youthful black-fruit aromas. Quite complex with toast, smoke and a particularly attractive orange-peel note. Animated acidity, despite its evident ripeness. Very voluminous wine with a trace of bitterness on the aftertaste. (FC)
40% Carabuñeira, 20% Sousón, 20% Brancellao, 10% Espadeiro, 10% Garnacha. Destemmed grapes. Spontaneous fermentation. Duration of fermentation: 10–12 days, with punching down three times per day. Aged for 14 months in French oak barrels of 300 and 600 litres.
Plentiful red fruits and a white-pepper touch. Easy drinking, well-managed oak, a no-risks wine. On the palate, it is delicate and has vivid fruit expression. However, I wouldn’t wait much longer to drink it. Earthy profile. (FC)
40% Caiño Longo, 40% Sousón, 20% Brancellao. Blend of 2013 and 2014 harvests. Ageing in French oak. Production of 440 bottles. Sweet wine without fortification.
Characteristic dry raisin notes on the nose: figs, raisins, caramel, burnt sugar, toffee and a hint of nail varnish amplifying the complexity. However, the surprise comes on the palate, less sweet than expected and way more complex. The toast from the oak is more present with magnificent positive notes of evolution. It has brilliant acidity that makes the wine agile with gorgeous drinkability. A sweet wine not only for dessert. Astonishing! (FC)
Viognier and Verdil. The latter is quite a rare variety, difficult to find and native to Valencia. There are currently only 50 ha in the world.
White and tropical fruit, apple, pear, mango, dry flowers and a hint of honey. Lovely oily texture with refreshing acidity. Nicely made, genuine and consistently managed. However, not particularly deep. (FC)
Macabeo, 50% in stainless steel and 50% in French oak barrels.
Pretty sweet and lovely perfume on the nose! Ripe apple, citrus peel, lavender, honey and waxy character. On the palate, it is complex displaying dry flowers, toasty oak, smoke and dry nuts. Beautiful creamy texture with racy acidity. (FC)
60- to 80-year-old Bobal. Certified organic. Oak aged.
This is an intense wine in a modern style. Blackberries and blueberries followed by noticeable oak, toast and smoke. Superb acidity, making the wine very pleasant and easy drinking, yet also complex. I am not sure I recognise the grape in the wine, the oak dominates the Bobal expression. However, the bitterness often found on this variety is very well managed. (FC)
Old-vine Bobal. Vinified in concrete eggs and large French oak casks.
Modern style. Expressive nose showing violets and well-ripened black fruits, together with noble oak, vanilla and cedar. On the palate, it has appealing acidity, firm tannins and generous intensity of flavours, displaying ripe plums in the background. Very controlled bitterness on the aftertaste. I can see great ageing potential here. (FC)
Spontaneous fermentation in 10,000-litre stainless-steel tanks after cold soaking. Further 20 months’ ageing in 225-litre French and American oak barrels. 8,000 bottles.
Elegant sweet dark-fruit profile, well-integrated oak, sweet spices with a hint of cinnamon. A perfect combination of deep concentration and elegance, very silky tannin, with a serious structure, all expressed in a fluid way. I am impressed by the texture of this wine. This project is progressing well, presenting a wine that’s much more refined than the 2015 vintage. (FC)
100% Garnacha Blanca. Very gently pressed to obtain only the first fraction of the must. It is stored in French oak barrels where the fermentation finishes. Aged for one year in the same barrels on its fine lees, with soft bâtonnage. Very gentle filtration.
Please, allow me to put the reader in the picture. This is a wine that highlights the positive attributes of evolution. Beautifully golden colour. It shows cooked apples and pear, honey, dry nuts, dry flowers, brioche, smoke and chalkiness. On the palate, it is so Mediterranean! Warm, immense and deep. I can taste and feel the creamy texture of the lees and the complexity of the oak over a mineral aftertaste of wet earth. It’s an idiosyncratic wine that for sure has its own public. Truly gastronomic. (FC)
Manual harvest in 15-kg boxes. Pre-fermentation maceration in order to preserve all the aromas of the grape. Matured in concrete tanks and French oak barrels simultaneously for 4 months.
Pleasant ripe black fruit, although not especially precise. Easy to drink, hints of toast and smoke adding complexity to the palate. It is intense and savoury. A well-made everyday Ribera. (FC)
The Tempranillo grapes come from two vineyards, Carrascalón and Haza, located at 900 and 1,000 m elevation respectively. The wine ages in first- and second-year barrels of French (80%) and American (20%) oak for 13 months.
It has a very intense ruby colour in line with the concentration and vigour shown on the nose: dark-fruit expression, blackberries and plums. The oak is clearly present, showing vanilla and toast notes. It has a classy touch. Sweet tannins and well-covered acidity. This wine will evolve nicely. A modern and well-made Ribera style. GV (FC)