19-05-2017

Alta Alella – Mirgin Opus Evolutium 2013

At the age of 19 I was in awe when staring at a pair of bright yellow soccer cleats in a shop until I realized that I would need skills on the field far beyond my current, “Um, why don’t you just play defense” in order to pull off such a flashy set of kicks. And one needs to take this in to account when looking at the Cava bottles of Alta Alella with their very signature, long, fluted shape. If you’re going to try and pull that off, does the bubbly inside warrant it? In brief, yes.

Earlier this year, Alta Alella decided to sell off the “Privat” label to Castell de Perelada in DO Empordà. If you’re wondering how a cellar from DO Empordà is making Cava from wines produced by a cellar in DO Alella which are both nowhere near Penedès (which forms the heart of Cava production), on the other side of Barcelona well my friend, welcome to the vagaries of DO Cava.

So now with Alta Alella, there is just organic “Mirgin”, a Cava I’ve tasted on several occasions and been readily impressed with. What they’ve done here with this Gran Reserva, the Opus Evolutium is something exceedingly special however. It’s an ethereal, beautifully-balanced wine that sings the praises of not only the cellar but also their little piece of land where they grow their grapes on the coast just north of Barcelona. Probably the most shocking aspect to me is the fact that while it is based on Xarel·lo, it makes ready use of Chardonnay as well which is amazing given how little I generally like Chardonnay south of the Pyrenees.

Some may balk at the price of 25€ but as I often tell people, I simply don’t buy Cava for less than 15€ these days as once crossing that threshold, the quality jumps in massive degrees and this wine is simply worth every cent. I dare anyone to find a Champagne at this price that’s anywhere near the quality and I’m damned sure one that’s vintage, like this is would be at least three times the price.

This bottle was provided as a review sample by the winery

Mirgin Opus Evolutium 2013
Light chalky, sage, wild herbs, gentle lemon citric notes, apple blossom, and a little almond nuttiness. Light and very balanced on the palate. Excellent acidity and weight with a lengthy autolytic aspect in the finish. Fine bottle that’s very well priced for the extremely high level of quality.

Xarel·lo, Chardonnay 12% 25€
*** Q

WINES

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014 95
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015 94
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016 93
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
93 2 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012 93
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015 93
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015 93
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
93 2 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014 93
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars

Domaine Fontanel - Prieuré 2014 92
Dense ruby with brick flecks. Crisp red fruits, lifted by a waft of volatility making for a light nose with a spicy licorice and leather component. Crisp and lively with red cherry fruit in the mouth and a nudge over medium acidity. Nice, lingering finish.
50% Syrah 25% Grenache 25% Mourvèdre · 14.5%
92 2 Stars

Cave Abbé Rous - Cornet & Cie Blanc 2016 92
Peach, orange peel & blossom, honey, dried apricot, and a hint of green apple. Very nicely balance in the mouth, green apple notes more prevalent, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish. Fresh, lively, very pleasing wine to drink.
60% Grenache Gris 25% Grenache Blanc 5% Marsanne 5% Roussanne 5% Vermentino · 14.5%
92 2 Stars

Clos Henri - Petit Clos Pinot Noir 2016 92
Earthy, red cherries, young, crisp cranberry, light herbal notes, leafy, minor chalk. Medium tannins and medium plus acidity as well as length. Light sweetness on the palate but with a very pleasant, lingering structure and lightness to it.
100% Pinot Noir · 13.5% · 16.50EUR
92 2 Stars