Wine of the Month
Note: Create joy, one sip at a time.
Featured Wine: Envinate Lousas Vinas de Aldea
Denominacion: Ribeira Sacra
Grape Variety: 80-95% Mencia 5-20% Brancellano, Caino, Souson, Garnacha, Tintoreira
Production Zone: Ribeira Sacra, Spain
Vinification: hand-picked, foot trodden, fermented with wild yeasts using whole clusters
Aging: aged in old French oak barrels and concrete for 11 months
The nights are finally cooling off and although it is pleasing, it is a sign that the cold is coming and that means winter is around the corner and I am still in Flagstaff, AZ; it frustrates me leaving me discontent. I think of places to go, especially Italy. But then, with this month’s wine, Envinate’s Lousas Vinas de Aldea (Village Wine), I wonder if I should go to Spain and meet the dynamic foursome of Laura Ramos, Jose Martinez, Roberto Santana and Alfonso Torvente, who created such a gorgeous wine. The foursome met in oenology school and started this project in 2005; seeking out old vineyards and indigenous grapes in remote areas of Spain to recreate what must have once been a wine lover’s dream.
Lately, the wines I have been sampling are created using authentic old- world techniques and I find them so fascinating; this wine is no exception. As I peeled off the true wax sealing on the bottle, I was already intrigued. When the cork popped, the air filled with mustiness, earth and red fruit; to me, the musty aroma is always a sign that you need to decant or at least give the wine time to breathe.
Once in my glass, the color was so very pretty, the colors of beet juice, maroon and crimson; I spent a little longer than usual holding it up to the setting sun; as I swirled this medium bodied wine, new aromas drifted around me, red-fruit, persimmon, clove, pepper, earth and a sharp acidity.
When I took a sip, and felt the wine spread throughout my mouth it was pure bliss. The red fruit and persimmon seemed to welcome me first, there was even this subtle bit of citrus, then the tannins begin and grow, but remain delicate, while the spices start and are reminiscent of Christmas spices, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. The acid and minerality grow as well, existing in the leathery, peppery, spicy, long finish. The finish is tart but not in an unbalanced way, this is an extremely well-balanced wine. The wine is aged in old French oak barrels as well as concrete, but I got zero oak via nose or palate. As I had decanted the wine and let it sit for some time, it had warmed a bit; it is my opinion a slight chill on this wine is ideal.
I was making Fettuccini Alfredo for dinner and it paired perfectly; rich food with not too much seasoning is a great match. The fresh parsley and ground pepper were just enough and still allowed for the wine to be appreciated. The acid cut into the heavy cream, parmesan and Romano cheese making everything wonderful in the world. I also paired Vinas de aldea with roasted chicken thighs garnished with olives, lightly coated with olive oil, fennel seed, salt and pepper along with a zucchini souffle and it too was wonderful. I feel like rich foods and/or roasted/grilled meats with rice or potatoes are a natural companion to this beautiful wine.
While my dinner was cooking, I sat out on the deck, listening to the birds and my main friend in Flagstaff, this one raggedy looking Raven came by to visit me. I gave him some left over spaghetti Bolognese and watched him eat and make a mess while I sipped and felt my discontent easing. This wine is lovely on its own, yet can turn a simple meal into an extravagant dining experience.
As Fall takes over, I find myself already anxious for Spring and want to pair this wine with jars of sweet peas and daisies; it somehow feels like a Spring wine, where I always become hopeful and feel my bones slowly warming after the long winter. In actuality, this wine is an any season wine because it is delicious. It is always better to enjoy a special wine with other enthusiasts, this is one you should definitely share with someone who has an opinion about wine rather than just a thirst.; no matter what, you should try this wine. For music, it has to be Lee Scratch Perry as he was one of my favorites when it comes to reggae and he recently passed away.
Rest in peace Lee Scratch Perry and Michael K. Williams.