Saturday, May 17, 2014

Eye of the Hare

2010 Casa Mariol Ull de Llebre Criança 12 Mesos | DO Terra Alta

I've been in this country, this amazing city now for 9 months. And what have I learned so far, here in Barcelona? Silly question. It's far too late, and I'm far too sober to answer that properly. Bueno. But we've drunk some great things, no? I'm still getting my head around Catalan wines, but this is a delicious one. 

So ull de llebre is simply Catalan for tempranillo, and is literally eye of the hare. It's from Terra Alta, which, from the DO website, is in:

... the south of Catalonia, between the River Ebro and the borders of Aragon and includes the 12 municipalities of the county of Terra Alta. The landscape has all the features of an interior region near the Mediterranean Sea: Pre-coastal limestone mountain range (Ports d’Horta, Pàndols and Cavalls mountains), small rivers (l’Algars i el Canaletes), rocky conglomerate mountains, holm oak and white pines woods and, above all, the agricultural soil coloured by typical mediterraean farming: vineyards and almond and olive groves. Here we must add the three agricultural landscapes that are clearly defined: the plains, plateaus and valleys.

The cultivated soil is generally of medium texture. Its common denominator is its limestone richness and its lack of organic material. In the DOTA’s catalogue there are 17 soil profiles, the most prominent is el Panal (the type of soil peculiar to the Terra Alta).

Another feature of the character of the mediterranean interior is the climate. Abundant sunshine and little rainfall which make two distinguishing characteristics: a unique balance between two prodominating winds, el cerç (NW) i les garbinades (seawinds from the south) and a cold winter that is typically continential.

Very cool. Casa Mariol also has a wine bar here in Barcelona, which I really, really should go visit. I hear they pour their vermut too. This wine is aged 12 months in Hungarian oak. Bright orange label, because really, we buy wines on price and label. Intense, powerful wine, and although not altogether complex, an authentic hot climate wine, full of that richness and density that tempranillo can bring. Soft texture, some heat from the alcohol on the way down. A Spanish wine, if I dare be a little political.

Man. Nine months. This Friday was graduation day for the second years. Time flies, and although I haven't been really drinking tonight (yet), it's a trip. Need to get my act together a little, in all those things - academic, professional, personal. Otherwise I'm going to leave here having had the time of my life with nothing to show for it. Had this conversation last week ... have we really changed? Do we just do these programs and take for granted that we develop, we somehow just become better? Nonsense. It's a process that we have to invest in, that we have to commit to, and it takes much more than just lip service to achieve betterment ... much more. So we keep going, we keep pushing ourselves to be uncomfortable, to be a bit anxious, to be hungry. Eye of the hare baby.


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