Friday Feature: 9/13/13: Crazy Good Spanish Red from Montsant

Hello and Happy Friday!


It is a very happy Friday for Sheb as she continues her vacation in Napa Valley.


I’m holding it down here at the store – getting excited as we are starting to see all kinds of great new arrivals hit the shelves.


Speaking of which, today’s newsletter focuses on a wine and winery that I hold very near and dear to my heart.  Read on to hear more about a very special Spanish red.




Please note, Routier is on strike while Sheb is on vacation.  So we won’t have our usual Friday night tasting this evening.




A quick note about upcoming store hours, tomorrow – Saturday, September 14th, Perman Wine will OPEN AN HOUR LATE – store hours will be NOON – 7 PM.


Also, Monday, September 16th, Perman Wine will be CLOSED.


Sorry for any inconvenience this causes.




I hope you have a great weekend!





Friday Feature  

2011 Celler Vendrell Rived “L’Alleu” Montsant, “Vinyes Velles”

Wine is a very personal thing for me.  I enjoy the relationships – representing farmers that put their blood, sweat and tears into their wine, harvest after harvest.

It is always an extra plus when the producer that you are representing shares many of the wine philosophies you do.

A shining example of this symbiotic relationship is Josep María Vendrell Rived.  I met Josep María through our mutual friend, Albert Jané, winemaker and owner of Acústic Celler in Montsant.  It was at the Vendrell Rived cellar in the Montsant appellation that Albert made his first wine, an example of the generosity of Josep María and his family.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Montsant appellation, it is a region that surrounds the more famous Priorat appellation, due west of the ancient port city of Tarragona.  If you have ever travelled to Tarragona you know that this was the capital of the region during Roman times.  The Romans were often thirsty, so it makes sense that into the hills to the west, vines and crops were planted.

It is also important to point out that Tarragona enjoys a Mediterranean climate, well-suited to Rhône varietal grapes such as Grenache and Carignan (aka Cariñena or Samsó in Catalan).

Which brings me back to Celler Vendrell Rived.  This is a very small winery, with 12 hectares of vineyards in Montsant, located between the boundaries of Marçà and Capçanes.  The total production in bottles is typically between 15,000-20,000 per year.

The secret of the estate lies in its many old-vine holdings.  It is part of the reason why these wines over deliver for their price.

The winery itself is nothing fancy, quite tiny, with fermentation tanks on the top level that feed by gravity to the barrel room below.

Josep María makes two wines.  Seré is a wine that I recently featured on my Six for $60-Something sampler.  The top wineof the estate, and the one featured today is called “L’Alleu.”

It is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Carignan.  The fruit is pulled from the oldest vines on the estate, between the age of 40 to 80-years old.  Naturally these are low yielding vines, and it shows in the intensity of the wine.  Fermentation is done in tank, and it is aged for 10 months in new French oak barrels.

The 2011 L’Alleu is flat-out delicious!

Beautiful aromas of fresh raspberries, plum, violets, cocoa and a little cracked pepper.  Medium weight on the palate with black raspberry and mineral notes, and just a whisper of tannin on the long finish.

Having tasted a lot of wines from Montsant, there are very few that are able to match this for its combination of richness, complexity, freshness and sheer drinkability!

If drinking now, pair this with grilled duck breast or a grilled porterhouse steak.  If you plan to hold on to bottles, it pairs nicely with game birds like Squab and Quail as it integrates.

I urge you to purchase multiple bottles – if not cases of this one!  Drink copious amounts now through 2019.  Don’t miss this great Spanish value!


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