As you may remember, some weeks ago I let you all know about a very special wine event which is held at the Conrad Hotel in Punta del Este every last weekend of January for the past years. So now, let´s quickly fly over this year´s edition, the tenth anniversary, and then focus on the most interesting wines I encountered.
Well, actually, there are two nights… in which more than 400 wines are available to be tasted at the “Salón Conrad del Vino”, a wine event that has become a favorite of wine lovers in the summer season. One of the classic images and representations of Punta del Este is the Conrad Hotel, where on the last weekend of January this major event is always held. The focus, as you may imagine, is placed on the wines of the region, with Uruguayan wineries as well as Argentinian and Chilean being the most representative. But, as Punta del Este is a magnet for international tourism, the most important wine importers of the country also present a selection of wines from other regions around the globe, both New World and Old World wines. Continue reading
Region: Napa Valley
Vineyard: Martha’s Vineyard
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Average Price: $100
Tasting Notes and thoughts: I’ve finally found a way my palate and Napa Cabernet can get along without the slightest hint of trouble. Age, this is the key to a peaceful cohabitation. The more I drink well made Napa Cabernets with 10+ years of age the more I find these often top heavy and brooding wines to find a perfect balance and dare I say “elegance”
Enate winery can easily win a “Best view from the reception” competition. It is not just a landscape, it is a stunning, unfolding at almost 180 degrees panorama which can be seen from a long horizontal window. The eye at once catches an impressionist island in the centre – a manmade forest of bended beams growing from the whitish soil. The attention then moves to small, facing in all directions vineyard plots, bare rectangles of red earth, chaotically spread bushes and trees, low wooded hills in the background, amazingly blue sky with a fleet of white clouds sailing on the day of the visit…
The company does not own the lands which constitute the landscape (except, of course, for the forest installation – Enate commissioned it to replace a burnt house, according to PR manager). But from the onset the Enate team believed that the beautiful place next to Salas Bajas village would be the best medium to transmit the essence of a new winemaking project.
I spent more time with Julie Johnson at her CCOF certified Tres Sabores than any other single winemaker during a recent three week swing through the West Coast this past spring. Why? Admittedly, because I can drink her wines all day or night, everyday. Also, because everything she does, as a grower and winemaker, just seems to make sense. My vinous sensibility is simpático with Tres Sabores.
Johnson farms a 32 year-old vineyard in the heart of the Napa Valley’s famed Rutherford AVA; originally planted to Zinfandel (making killer reds), but to which she added two acres of Cabernet Sauvignon (yielding no more than a couple hundred cases a year) after first acquiring the property in 1987. As a former partner at Frog’s Leap, her instincts were, and still are, organic, but for all the right reasons: this vineyard is also her home, her refuge, her sustenance, and an extension of herself – everything in its place, but in the opposite of a contrived, unnatural fashion.
“The essence of sustainability,” she says, “is that no part of what you do is wholly separate from the other.” So, through Johnson’s windows, you see old, gnarly trunked vines, but also stands of walnut and 150 year old olive trees, zinnias and cosmos among the buckwheat and wild grasses between the rows, tangled blackberry patches around the edges, hummingbirds, bees, sheep, and furtive jackrabbits and noisy, wild guinea hens nesting or scrambling hither and yon.
Unmistakable!! The style of Capcanes in the Montsant. The other evening we only wanted a glass each to enjoy with a movie and I grabbed the last 0,375l bottle of Costers del Gravet 2003 from Capcanes, it´s really at it´s best point.
Brand: Costers del Gravet
Varietal: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena
On a recent visit to Cujorl, the conversations that floated between the tables took place in four languages, punctuated with convivial sounds of laughter and the clinking of glasses. This newly opened Shibuya eatery, with its smart, modern interior, Japanese and Italian staff, and bilingual menu, exudes an air of relaxed, cosmopolitan chic. Despite the vaguely Scandinavian-sounding name (the “j” is pronounced as a “y”), the restaurant bills itself as a hybrid trattoria, a term that does little to convey the warmth of the space and the service, but hints at the kind of culinary Esperanto spoken here.
Winery: Emerson Brown
Appellation: Napa Valley
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Average Price: $26.00
Here we are back again in the Bordeaux area. Last time we talked about the “Left bank”, let’s talk today about the “Right bank”. Also call the “Libournais”, beacause Libourne is the major city situated in the middle of the right bank. The soils are composed of limestone, clay and sand. One of the particularities of this area is the landscape, which is very diversified, you will find some plateau and terraces, slopes and valleys, and can have the effect on the quality of the wine. The climate, like in the left bank has the influence from the ocean, with good hours of sunshine and a good humidity that helps to regulate the temperature.
Winery: Chateau Cantemerle
Varietal: 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc
Oak: 18 months new and old French oak
Average Price: $20.00 Continue reading