Friday, December 16, 2011

bubbles and wire cages


NV Carles Andreu Brut Nature | DO Cava



2004 Fernandez Escudo de Plata Gran Reserva | DO Jumilla

Spain's always been a mess of a country but you could always count on two things from them: fine-ass tanned women and the most amazing food. But what of the wines? Sure, there's Rioja. But can any other region (besides Ribera del Duero) that can make a claim for greatness? Why is it that the most avant-garde cuisine (modernist and molecular and all that) is coming out of the Iberian peninsula but the wines seem to be stumbling and bumbling? Even Rioja is struggling, and the recent shitstorm around the Wine Advocate's Spanish coverage has shown that producers from smaller regions are absolutely desperate to get any and all coverage.

I like sparkling wine a lot - the sort of I could drink this shit all day, every day. I visited Champagne in April, and above all, was struck by how incredibly vinous the wines were. That point's been made ad nauseum by wine people, but clearly, the message has yet to sink through that bubbly is first and foremost, a wine. Cava, made in the traditional method, can deliver some of that wonderful toasty, autolytic character. Love it, but I was looking forward to the Jumilla even more. Read this, as Jumilla has been talked about as Spain's next big thing (in wine at least). Monastrell dominated, with good age and labelled as a gran reserva, intimating a certain amount of time in oak and bottle.

Both mediocre, unfortunately. It's not that I expect my mind blown everytime, but you do want some kind of excitement. Some character at least, not these macerated, clumsily confected wines. A terrible shame, especially for the monastrell. It's this huge, structured, monster of a wine . . . and yet this example shows it a whimpering, effeminate puss. And the Cava - supposedly with zero dosage, but still showing a horrifically candied mess. Yuck. Yikes. Yowza!

So you tell me . . . what the fuck is up with Spanish wine?!


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