Wine of the Month
Note: Create joy, one sip at a time.
Featured Wine: Ludovicus Tinto
Denominacio’ d’Origen: Terra Alta
Grape Variety: 100% Garnacha
Sub Region: Terra Alta, Spain
Vinification: grapes are picked in early morning, de-stemmed and crushed. Prior to fermentation they receive four days of maceration in 10,000-liter tanks at 43’ F
Aging: once fermentation begins, maceration with skins takes 25 days in stainless steel tanks. Then the wine is aged four months in 300-liter French and American oak.
Price: Under $20
Right after the cork popped from the bottle of Ludovicus and as the wine began to open up, a very vivid memory came to me. A long time ago in Hollywood, after my friend had a devastating break-up, she dragged me to a club on Sunset Blvd. She set her sights on a man and sent him a drink. Well, it worked and she was off to the dance floor for the rest of the night. There I was, sitting on a large plush couch in some silly club, when five guys from England approached me and asked if they could sit with me. Before I knew it, I was laughing my head off and having an incredible time. There are a lot more details, but what ended up happening was I exchanged numbers with one guy, Jez. He called the next day to say, they had to leave L.A. early as they lost their place to stay; on a whim, I invited them to stay with me in my tiny little dump in North Hollywood. Five guys arrived at my 500 square foot spot. They were so grateful and proceeded to cook me a giant feast of pasta, salad and lots of wine. I remember when they opened the first bottle of Spanish wine, one I had never had before, as the aromas danced around me, it was intoxicating, all of it. My memories have always been triggered by smells and this was really a perfect memory to have, to remind me of how things once were, how, more than once I have brought stranded travelers to my home and it has always been an amazing experience.
I have no memory of what that wine was, but can only assume it was Garnacha and most likely some sort of mass-produced wine since they probably got it at the grocery store. And although Ludovicus is not mass produced, they still produced 9,000 cases, so it isn’t a small vineyard. As I poured the Ludovicus into my glass, I admired the lovely light burgundy color and was immediately filled with the aroma of ripe stone fruit, earth, fresh herbs and could almost predict the minerality in the wine. Alas, I was not surrounded by a bunch of Englishmen cooking me dinner but, it was still pleasing. I pictured all of those guys and smiled, took a sip and my palate was introduced to a very fruit forward medium bodied wine, very true to Garnacha style. There was some perfume of lilac and rose but subtle; it was mostly ripe black cherries, a touch of tartness and my nose tickled with the minerality and a hint of herbs. Medium tannins and fruit stood out in the long finish. This is a well-balanced wine.
I first paired the wine with a Cobb Salad. The blue cheese and grilled chicken of the salad flowed really well with the wine. For my second pairing, I was more thematic and created some tapas with sharp cheese along with grilled meats and shrimp; all was right in the world.
As I still had some wine left and a dessert planned, my final pairing was with a Panna Cotta of vanilla, toasted sesame, strawberry and chocolate and it was the perfect conclusion to this tasting. But believe me, this wine is easy and stands strong without food.
Speaking of perfect, this is the perfect Fall wine on a budget, easy to sip, warm and cozy. Yes, I liked this wine, no, I did not love it. Would I drink it again? Yes. This is a good ‘go to wine’ when you are not sure what your guests enjoy. This is a wine that I think many people would enjoy and I hope you are one of them. As our weather is now cold and we have even had snow, our only option for flowers is at the store; I love Mums and we have bunches of them all over the house. To me, this is a great date/small gathering wine, curled up on the couch, watching old movies, sipping wine, eating tapas.
By the way, a year or so later, I decided to take a solo two-month trip to Thailand and although I am adventurous, I was a little nervous; wouldn’t you know it, Jez was there at the same time, scooped me up and accompanied me on quite a few amazing adventures, easing me into Thailand, before he was off to start a new life.