Wine of the Month
Featured Wine: Marco Abella Loidana Priorat
Grape Variety: 55% Grenache, 35% Carignan, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Denominacio’ d’Origen Qualificada
Vinification: Fermentation in concrete
Aging: French Oak for 12 months
Color: Wild Blackberries
While I was sipping a most lovely Spanish blend, Loidana, I got a text from my dear old friend Lori; a friend from what seems like a million years ago, a million lifetimes ago, a million experiences ago, telling me her daughter is now living in Spain. What are the odds? Probably the odds aren’t even worth calculating, but I thought it was serendipitous just the same and it was nice to muse over while exploring a gorgeous wine; it was at this moment that I began to admire the label.
I know I stress on the fact that labels should not impact your choice of wine, but that doesn’t mean the labels cannot be admired and this label is extraordinary; created by and pays homage to the very talented, late artist, Josep Guinovart. So yeah, the label is worth mentioning. It is beautiful, vibrant and textured.
Let it be noted, I let the wine breathe for 20 or so minutes. I don’t always let a wine breathe. My motivation to do so is sometimes very spur of the moment, based on what I am greeted with when I open the bottle; if I am greeted with a lot of powerful musty earth, I most definitely will let it breathe. Most old-world wines deserve to breathe.
Upon reflection of Loidana’s beautiful deep blackberry color, I thought to myself, the color of this wine is nearly as beautiful as the label. The nose is full of earth, brown sugar, ripe red cherry, wild flowers, lilac, and raisin. The first sip greeted me with this brief surprise of a subtle effervescence, which I wasn’t expecting, but always enjoy. Then my attention was quickly diverted to tart red cherry, dried plum, ripe red cherry, fig, raisin and brown sugar. The finish is long, dry and floral, accompanied by medium acidity represented in the tart red cherry while the medium tannins wrap everything up with a pretty bow. This is a meaty, juicy wine and after each sip you will feel warm and satisfied. The floral notes of this wine are subtle, most likely coming from the Cabernet Sauvignon, not off putting at all, more adding a beauty, a depth that is barely traceable but much appreciated.
I paired Loidana with Codfish and French Fries, it was perfect; one reason being, I am really tired of cooking. Another reason is a new chip shop opened up in town, but mainly I chose this pairing because they tasted so good together. The simplicity of the fried fish along with the potatoes, the grease of it all; Loidana took on the challenge and made it so nice. Loidana cut into the oil and saltiness. Even the malted vinegar and tartar sauce went well. My second pairing was with grilled chicken, served with a creamy tarragon sauce, and this pairing was equally as good. The creaminess of the tarragon sauce made a fine companion to Loidana.
Our evenings are on the cool side in June and all of the creatures are really going crazy in our yard. As soon as the sun goes down, I prefer a seat on my favorite outdoor bean bag, listening to all of the creatures in our garden, sipping wine, sometimes having a bite to eat. Loidana is fine on its own, but I say pair it with some fish or grilled chicken, or just a bowl of French Fries with Béarnaise. Make a simple meal to go along with this complex wine.
I wish I could enjoy a glass of Loidana with Lori, but she is on the other side of the country, living her best life with her beautiful family. As I was sipping the wine, eating dinner and listening to scurrying creatures, I was thinking about how Lori’s daughter, Noa, (the one in Spain), is around the same age we were when we each took off to begin becoming the adults we are today. Please do share Loidana with a friend, someone who makes you feel like the amazing person you are. Place the bottle nearby, make sure you can see it, your guest(s) can see it; the bottle is your centerpiece.
When a wine comes together so beautifully, like Loidana does, I love to think about each aspect of the wine, how each piece of the process added to this final harmonious outcome; the brown sugar from the oak, the effervescence most likely from the bio-dynamic practices used by the Marco Abella winery. Making wine is quite like developing a friendship, especially one created in youth, there are so many little experiences and simple moments that inevitably solidify the relationship or create a beautiful wine.
Long ago, I returned to Pittsburgh for my father’s funeral. While I was there, I sat down with Lori (and beautiful newborn Noa). Lori asked me, ‘What are you going to do now?’ I told her I had no idea, I was lost, and she said, ‘I think you should go to Thailand.’ So, I did! For two glorious, healing months. I took her advice because she knew me and I knew her and she wouldn’t have suggested it if she didn’t believe it. That is some of the best advice I have ever received. That’s a good friend!
I hope you have at least one friend who knows you in the same way, that your friendship is complex and beautiful, just like Lori, just like Loidana.
RIP Wayne Sommerfeld