Tag Archives: Alicante

Resurrection (Alicante, Spain)

Alicante just ain’t what it used to be. At one point it boasted one of the most important wines of Europe, found in cellars of royal families, even referenced in books by Alexandre Dumas. Back in these day most wine was being sold in bulk to other parts of Europe to be bottled or blended with other wines, but this changed at the end of the 19th Century. The first enemy was the phylloxera epidemic, and the second was changes in markets and politics domestically and overseas. There are two main areas for viticulture in Alicante, and they each have a major indigenous variety. Closer to the coast where it is lower in altitude and a bit warmer and more humid grows moscatel, used to make sweet wines. Further away from the coast is where you find a bigger range of varieties, most importantly monastrell. I visited two estates in Alicante that represent a resurgence in interest in the region, but one is in a modern and the other a traditional model.
Fireworks over the beach in Alicante

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Primitivo Quiles – 28/06/2012

Blanco “Cana” (white cask) 2011 (100% airen)
Quite traditional slightly yeasty aldehidic nose, very oxidative and yet still fresh. Very dry, fresh pure, very little fruit character. A really good light aperetivo wine to get the appetite going, easy to drink, perfect in the hot summer. Very reflective of the culture and the place.

Rosado Virgen 2011 (100% monastrell)
Again, very oxidative notes, interesting fruit aromas, showing some flor characters somehow. Very different flavour profile, not at all modern. I certainly hope the wines are supposed to taste like this because ordinarily I would suggest they were oxidised.

Tinto Cono 4 (100% monastrell, blend of the previous two vintages, more of the previous than the current)
Fascinating aromas, very wild and old, earthy, olives. Much more fruit in the flavour profile, but not bold and sweet fruit, assured and wild fruit. Soft but very expressive. I’ve never seen wines like this before, very traditional old-world style. There should be more like them.

Roble Monastrell Merlot 2010
Very noticeable difference with the oak, particularly as it is mostly American. That slightly chocolatey sweet overripe banana skin, with dark ripe black fruits. Slightly more modern international style, oak and merlot probably the biggest influence in this, but still retaining that interesting freshness and acidity I can’t really describe.

Crianza Monastrell 2007 (one year in new oak, 80% American, 20% French)
Insane nose, like nothing I’ve ever experienced, not even sure how to describe it. Blows off slightly, but somehow meaty, cheesy, yeasty. Quite well structured and unique on the palate, very drinkable. I think most people may be put off by the aromas.

Raspay Tinto “Brut” 2005
Maderised oxidative, dry sherry style wine. More and more traditional, fascinating. I need to understand how they make the wines and get this character. Maderised, oxidative, flor influence, but fresh and drinkable. Very interesting with food.

Fondillon 1948 solera
Very complex subtle rancio toasty caramel notes, actually very fresh and vibrant, but different fruit profile. Has the impression of sweetness at first, but then the really complex characters start to show through, tea. Need to have much more experience to pick the notes of this type of wine. So unique and so interesting.
Post-tasting at Primitivo Quiles

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Enrique Mendoza – 27/06/2012

Merseguera 2010
Fruit-driven, fresh and bold. Reminiscent of riesling, good citrus lime and minerality. Good acids, interesting texture and structure.

La Tremenda Monastrell 2009
Dark forest fruits and wooded groves, open and wild yet bright and fresh. Soft but full-flavoured, quite dese and expressive, on the warm side with some clear ripe red fruit characters, good purity and drive with some nice lingering fresh fruits and bright tannins.

Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Reserva 2008
Dark purple fruit nose, slightly smoky tar and aniseed. Balanced fresh intense fruit, nic structure and floral elements. Unique yes, but unique to Alicante? I don’t know the region well enough to say.

Moscatel 2010 Pasa
Lovely spicy pot-pourri nose, honey, molasses. Wonderfully rich and sweet, very viscous and creamy, warming and caressing, nostalgic. Complex and yet vibrant and fresh. Traditional style that is totally out of fashion but wonderfully delicious.

Enrique Mendoza box

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