I know it seems silly to say it’s a wine weekend when every weekend includes wine at some point. But hey, it’s Friday, and I have had a rough couple of weeks so just go with it. The wines I am talking about today are incredible treats. I know I say that all the time but that is one of the great things about wine. There is a surprise waiting for you inside every bottle. And that is what makes wine so exciting and unlike any other beverage. Just when you find a special treat, it is gone, and the search has to start all over again. You will always find a new love, but you will also not forget the ones that came before.
Los Bermejos Listán Rosado 2016 Lanzarote
This wine caught my attention when reading an article by New York Times wine critic 20 Wines Under $20: The Savory Side of Rosé. So I reached out to the local distributor who had tweeted the article because they sell five of the wines mentioned in the article. My job… find them! I did find all five, but this one was the first that we tasted.
Canary Island wine? I was so intrigued. I never thought of islands off the coast of Africa as a wine making region. But hey, the Spanish are industrious so why not. That is right; the Canary Island archipelago is actually part of Spain.
Digging Deeper – literally
So I decided to dig a bit deeper. What I learned was that most vineyards on are the largest island of Tenerife. But this wine comes from one of the smaller islands (and the furthest east and north). It has a unique history as well. You see, in 1730 there was a volcanic eruption that lasted for a month. A third of the island was covered in lava and ash making it impossible to grow traditional crops.
Grape vines are resilient, so wine producers adapted and found a way to make the vines grow. Thus they started digging holes to plant the vines, but they had to reach the soil below all of that ash. These holes can be 8 feet deep. Then because of the harsh winds off the Sahara desert, they then had to build rock walls to protect the vines from this additional force of nature. The result is some incredibly unique and sparse vineyards and some unique wine.
This rosé wine is made from the indigenous Listán Negro grape. The color is a pale orange/pink. The nose is of citrus. The first sip is overly acidic, but that calms as you continue. This wine is very refreshing. Perfect in the heat of the summer. On the palate, we are graced with the taste of mandarin oranges – acidic but also sweet. The sweetness is in the flavor, not from the sugar as this wine is quite dry. This was a diamond in a pile of stones, and I am thrilled we tasted it. I will be heading back to Monarch Wine Merchants to pick up a couple more bottles since our summer has a couple more months to go.
Famille Dutraive Chénas lieu-dit Les Perelles 2016
A couple of weeks back there was a wine tasting at goat.sheep.cow.north featuring David McCarus wines. I had spoken and corresponded with David in the past when looking for one of his wines. So I was really looking forward to meeting him at this tasting. We did end up getting a couple of the bottles that we tasted that evening, but I also asked David, what really got him excited. He quickly pointed to this wine. Gary’s eyes widened, so I knew it was coming home with us.
Chénas (pronounced shay-nah) is the rarest of the Beaujolais appellations with only 525 acres. The wines produced here are full bodied wines made from 100% Gamay grapes. We could have sat on this wine for 6 to 10 years, but I knew the minute I paid for it, it would not last a week.
And yes, early the following week I got a text from Gary, put a chill on the blue label. I want a treat after a long day at work.
This treat has a fruitful nose that ranges from dark plums to chocolate. The color is classic Gamay – crystal clear and ruby red. Gary tasted earthy cherry cola on the palate, although that was not my experience. For me, my inexperienced palate struggled to explain what I was tasting. All I kept saying was, “wow, this is so good!”. “Damn!” and on and on and on. What I could articulate was bright and acidic with a more generic dark red fruit on the palate. We both got black licorice on the finish.
I fear we drank this bottle way too soon and may trot back to the store to pick up a second bottle and sock it away for a few years. I imagine that it will be well worth the wait.
Rare and Limited
This wine is only sold at goat.sheep.cow.north. All of the McCarus allotment went to this store. If you are a fan of Beaujolais and want to try a wine that does not cross the pond in large quantities, go here and go now. I have no idea what the stock levels are, but I hope there is at least one more bottle on my next visit.
Find your wine and enjoy it. It could be gone too soon, and then the search starts all over again.
Here is to your wine weekend.
That is all for now.