Jean Smullen reviews 2018 Tradición de Aresan and 2018 MontRubí Black
Dry January is almost over but with plant based and plant strong diets growing in popularity, so to is the demand for vegan and organic wine. Today on Movies & Booze we’re going to look at organic and vegan wines from Spain.
2018 Tradición de Aresan €9.99 (half price offer)
Stockists: Eurospar (60 stores Nationwide)
A recent visit to Navarra to take part in an international wine show highlighting organic wine production in Spain was a bit of an eye opener. Spain has a very good track record when it comes to producing organic and biodynamic wines, it helps of course that most of their key wine regions have an arid dry desert climate or a Mediterranean one. 90% of organic grapes globally come from European wine regions, Italy leads with way with organic wines accounting for 15.9% of all wines produced there; Spain comes in second place with organic wines accounting for a total of 11.6% of their total production. 80% of organic wines produced in Spain are now exported.
Organic farming is mostly about growing vines without the use of synthetic chemicals. Soil improvement and crop fertilisation is achieved by using decaying organic matter such as manure. Insects are controlled using natural enemies, weeds are kept down by mulch and cultivation.
This wine is made from a blend of one Spanish and two French grapes, Tempranillo (Spanish) and Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot (French) in the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain.
This is a Vino del Terra de Castilla which defines it as "New Style Spain" a similar status to IGT in Italy or IPR in France. One of the key developments in the Castilla regions is that La Mancha has proven that it is not just a sea of cheap wine that sells at rock bottom prices, there are now so many high quality small estates and co-operatives now run by qualified enologists making very good quality wine. It also helps of course that the climate is dry and arid and so they are ideally placed to make organic wine.
So what makes a wine vegan? Most modern commercial wines are bright and clear with no “bits” floating around in them. This is because nearly all wine produced today are filtered. There are various methods used to filter wine, the wine is spun in a large machine which takes out most of the particles, then before bottling they use a final clarification process to remove any residual cloudy particles. There are a number of produced used, they include egg white albumen power (dried egg white), Isinglass, a power derived from fish; gelatin, which comes from animals and casein which is a milk protein. Vegan wines are wines are filtered using non-organic products such as charcoal, or bentonite, a form of clay.
Natural wines, which are usually wines that do not go through the filtration process are also vegan friendly but they will not be clear and bright.
This wine has lovely blackberry and black fruit on the nose, with a lovely vanilla character showing through. It has lovely pronounced black fruit flavours on the palate, which goes on forever. Why not try it with “Tortilla de Patatas” a Spanish Omlette made from gram or chickpea flour instead of eggs, and potatoes and onion fried in olive oil.
2018 MontRubí Black €19.00
Stockists: Whelehan Wines, The Silver Tassie, Loughlinstown, Co Dublin
MontRubí Black is an award winning organic wine produced in a small town called L’Avellàthe in the Alt Penedes in Catalonia. The winery has high mostly altitude vineyards (800 metres above sea level) and is about 60km from Barcelona. This high quality boutique winery was founded in 1984 and they are known for their organic viticulture practices and for making wines from indigenous grapes.
MontRubí Black is made from Grenache (or if you want to use its Catalan name Garnatxa, or Garnacha as we more commonly know it. The Garnatxa grape originates in Spain though it is one of the most widely planted and used red grapes in terms of production in most of Mediterranean Spain and France (where it is known as Grenache Noir). Aromas of black cherry with peppery notes are a charachteristic of Garnatxa and it can either be soft and fruity, or powerful and meaty.
This wine is made from 45 year old grapes, the vineyard was orginally planted in 1975 and Black is a young and lively wine with an intense aromas of wild berry and plum fruit. They use partial carbonic masceration in the wine making process which gives the wine its intense fruity character.
This is a Vina Joven (young wine) it is a modern Spanish style of wine making that usually does not involve wood age.
Because of the lovely levels of ripe fruit in this wine it would be ideal to serve with any vegetarian dish. Vegetables have an earthy flavour to them and they need a fruity wine to give the dish a lift.
Grenache goes well with cooked tomato and aubergine and it is also great with cheese. A simple dish to make, all the ingredients are easy to get. Aubergine, cheddar cheese, herbs (basil), garlic, onions and olive all. Bake em all together for a simple, effective meal that will match perfectly with this super Spanish organic wine.
Wine Events: Quinto do Crasto Tasting with Wines Direct
Wines Direct have been representing Quinta do Crasto from Douro Valley in Portugal on the Irish market for over 20 years and they are delighted to be holding a tasting of their wines at their wine shop within Arnotts Department Store on Friday 7th February, 2020.
More details in the wine diary https://jeansmullen.com/WineDiary/Index/1644