Perman Wine Selections Friday Feature – 10/14/11

Hello and Happy Friday!

This week I was handed an offering for several top notch 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s. This region is one of the great places in the world to seek out Rhône varietal reds.

There were plenty of great wines on this offering, most of which ranged in the $600 to $1200 a case range. I’m not saying that these wines aren’t worth the tariff, but it made me think about how other parts of France and the world are making top-notch Rhône varietal reds at a fraction of the price.

Today’s Friday Feature focuses on an outstanding Rhône varietal red from the Spanish region of Montsant.

I highly encourage any of my Rhône fans to stock up on this fantastic wine!

Have a great weekend,


Josep María Vendrell Rived is one of the young, exciting winemakers that in part has helped put Spanish wine into the forefront of the wine world in recent years.

His tiny estate is located near the village of Marçà, in the Montsant region of Southern Catalunya. Josep and his father have been growing grapes for some time, selling off the younger vines, and keep many of the older vines for production of two red wines.

This is a tiny winery, with only 15,000 – 20,000 bottles produced annually. Having visited the winery on a few occasions, I am always struck with how small and bare bones the winery is. A quick tour reveals a few stainless steel tanks on the main level, and a small room of barrels downstairs. Tasting at the estate isn’t done in any fancy room, perched on a hill, rather, usually standing up among cases of wine that are being prepared to ship out to a customer.

Everything starts in the vineyard for Josep. He owns three different vineyards, each with its own terroir. He grows only two types of grapes, Grenache and Carignan. While most of you are very familiar with Grenache, Carignan is a noble variety grown in places like Montsant and Priorat. Good quality Carignan comes from old-vines, and Josep is blessed with many old-vines in his vineyards.

L’Alleu is the flagship wine of Celler Vendrell Rived. Josep blends 60% Grenache with 40% Carignan from vines that range in age from 40 to 80+ years-old. The grapes are gently pressed and the juice is macerated for 3 to 4 weeks depending on the variety.

Malolactic fermentation is in barrel, and the wine is aged for 10 months in French oak barrels of various ages.

Give this a little air and the nose begins to explode out of the glass with notes of dark berry fruits and black cherry. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied with intense but not candied red fruits, white pepper and clove notes.

I paired this with a grilled quail dish prepared by X-Marx at my recent Wine-O’s In the Woods event and it was a giant success. A definite meat wine!

Don’t miss this delicious Rhône varietal red from Spain! Only 4600 bottles were produced, and it won’t be around forever.
$23.99 BTL. / $287.88 CASE

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