333/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Alella – Alella Vinicola – Marfil Molt Dolc, Solera 2003
Whops! Wine number 333 and it feels like I started with no. 1 just yesterday! The song, is with us as usual, the wine, this time sweet, is with us as you have gotten accustomed to, but then I decided to change the rules a wee bit. You can’t stop me from shooting the breeze, I always say and do as I please. But don’t stop trying, you know I’m gratifying. My promise to you was merely that I would write about wines from Catalonia, one a day, and so far that has worked out well. You have gotten used to getting one or, in some few cases, several wines that have been to my liking and so I decided to share them with you, my fellow wine lovers. Changing the rules implies that something is going to be different this time and that’s quite true. Keep on reading and you will understand, but first let’s do todays wine!
I can honestly say, I am not a sweet wine guy, but when I get my hands on a sweet wine like this one, WOW! Lovely dark amber color with traces of red gold. Dense and solid tears. The nose offers a variety of aromas, noticeable sweet acacia honey, ripe apricot, hint of citrus, orange blossom and a very nice and sweet chocolate aroma. It continues the way it started in the nose, with the same impressive weight and taste in the mouth. Chewy, dense, sweet but with a trace of very nicely integrated acidity and plenty of flavors. Candied fruits, caramel and dried fruits. Long long after taste and probably one the best sweet wines I have had here in Catalonia. What I would recommend to pair this wine with? Nothing at all! A glass of this beauty goes along way! If you want to know more about the winery making this wine, follow this link.
So there! The wine has been explained as best I can and know. And now I have a query, question, wondering that I’d like to put forward to you guys, my readers. This is the part that, if you have been following my blog, is out of the norm. Hence, I changed the rules……,
I’ll start of with a short story, maybe this will keep the interest alive for a while? The following is true and I have only changed the names to protect the innocent. In a small village in the D.O. of Montsant, lays a cooperative winery, as is the case in many small villages in Catalonia. One of the winemakers, let’s call her Aurora, she is not working there anymore, is at the grape reception area. She is checking the quality of the grapes coming to the winery by tractors, delivered by the numerous vintners that come every harvest season to sell theses small deposits of grape juice.
The year is 2009 and Aurora just graduated from the local University of enology. She is full of newly acquired knowledge and very passionate about her job and wine in general. The cooperative winery that hired her, is not known for any high quality wines, as they are doing it the same way it has been done for decades, hardly changing anything, going at it the safe way. Aurora is happy nonetheless, due to the fact that this is her first appointment and figures she’ll have plenty of time, in the years to come, to produce wines with a personality. Some things are quite easy to conclude, after the fact! Let’s continue.
So, as I was saying, the reception area is her area of responsibility and the sixtyeleventh tractor arrives. She checks the grapes, shares a few words with the farmer and is stunned when she realizes that liquid gold, in the form of Carignan grapes, are about to be offloaded and mixed with the lower quality grapes. Surely, there has to be a mistake, these grapes must be destined for an exquisite wine, a wine that will make a name for itself, and not be blended with the cheap stuff? She’s young, she’s ambitious, she has to bring it to the attention of the manager, and so she did. Disappointed, as she receives the information that, these grapes are indeed to be presses with the rest! We do as we have always done, no changes, no exceptions and none shall be treated differently, pay the man his 0,30 cents (Euro) per kilogram and let him be on his way.
During the year to come, Aurora is continuing to work at the same place, but something is bugging her and before the harvest starts in 2010, she approaches the vintner, visiting his vineyards, discovering that he has both Carignan and Grenache vines older than 60 years, of perfect quality and with a very low yield. She can not let history repeat itself, so she offers him a higher price than he could ever have dreamt of. The deal is done and she buys just enough to make a singular wine of, in her mind, a very high quality. New barrels were purchased, a place was allocated for the aging and just recently she bottled the 2010 harvest, the one and only vintage of this wine. It got to spend 36 months on French oak and a year in the bottle before she decided it was time to let wine lovers have a go at it. I have a bottle and the wine is being tried tomorrow, so the story will continue. Why not other vintages? Well, after the vintner got wind of what he really had, he sold his coming harvests to a winery that could pay even more for the grapes the Aurora could. And this dear consumer of wine, is why you will, in the future, pay even more for wines made of these grapes.
Now here comes the question, and it has to do with “Wine as an investment”. What would you be ready to pay for a wine like the one described above, not the one with the tasting notes but the one that “Aurora” made? “Wine as an investment”, bares to question the value of a wine. Sure, the market decides and supply and demand is a key factor but why do some people, some of you too?, pay hundreds if not thousands of Euro for a wine that they/you will never taste? Frequently, the usual suspects are Chateau wines from Bordeaux, Super Tuscans and some really great Burgundy and California reds. The name, the label, the history and the points given by “wine connoisseurs” are deciding factors why the prices are as high as they are, but how much would you pay for a wine like the one I have just described? One vintage only, high quality grapes, a knowledgeable (but not known wine maker) and only 1065 bottles produced and from a region that year by year churns out great (if not exceptional) wines.
55 to go!