Sunday, January 29, 2012

Quinze Roures

Seeing as how much we enjoyed the Chapel Hill Grenache from Oz the other night, we figured there'd be no harm in crossing the globe and trying a different take on a bottle of Grenache - albeit on the lighter side of the spectrum. Yet another wine has risen to the surface from boxes hidden away now that Boo has me on my No Buy Leash. This is a good thing - no?

1052. 2006 Espelt - Quinze roures (D.O. Empordà - Spain)

Another new winery and Spanish appellation to me, I don't actually recall how we came into possession of the bottle. It's likely the fact that I saw the wine was made of Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc and hoped that there might be another addition for the Wine Century Club totals. I've already added Grenache Blanc as part of my original application. So, it was much to my dismay that I've discovered that the powers that be don't consider Grenache Gris to be a unique varietal. It is only a mutation of the standard Grenache varietal.

On that note, we were left with hoping that the wine was good enough that there couldn't possibly be any grounds for disappointment. That wasn't exactly the case either.

As mentioned, I don't recall having run across Espelt previously. Turns out that the winery is relatively new and was only built in 2000 - despite the fact that the vineyard has been worked by the Espelt family for a century or so. Located in Spain's northeast corner, in Catalonia and close to both the French border and the Mediterranean, the winery quickly became the largest in the region. More than a few online articles have pointed out that the winery was practically on the doorstep of El Bulli, one of the world's most famous restaurants before it shut its doors.

Espelt grows 17 different varietals and produces an assortment of styles across the spectrum - red, white, rose, sparkling, you name it. Half their production is exported - and they're obviously hoping to crack the Vancouver market - so, I'm a little surprised they didn't present their wines at last year's Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival when Spain was the featured region.

As for the wine at hand, I very much doubt that Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc is a blend that we'll find being made in our home vineyards. If the two grapes are anything like the more common red Grenache varietal, they just need heat units to ripen that can't be reliably expected vintage after vintage - even in our southern Okanagan vineyards. There is a little bit of Grenache being grown in the Okanagan, but I don't know if a white version would command as much attention.

Not really knowing what to expect, I'm not certain if our bottle was bang on or a little off. The web seems to indicate that the wine sees some oak while being aged - and that definitely came through - but the website description of "light with slight green hues," "sweet and ripe with a lasting acidity" was far from the wine in our glass. Our wine almost had an oxidized sherry like quality and I don't know if either Boo or I would go out of our way to pick up another bottle (even if I were allowed to at present).

No new varietal and not a favourite wine - guess I'd best just assume that the bottle was past its prime and move on to the next bottle.

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