12-01-2015

It’s impossible for the little cellar in Spain

vines

If you haven’t seen it, there’s a very good read by Jancis Robinson about how the marketing shift for European Union wine funds is towards promotion in the Asian markets. Of special note in regards to Spain is the following quote:

The country that had the most money to spend last year, €353 million euros, was Spain, although the EU censured Spain for giving far too high a proportion of funds, 88%, to six big companies that already had a presence on distant export markets. The whole point of this initiative is to make life easier for small and medium-sized companies.

For an American winery and probably even an American reader, this amount of money, doled out by the government to promote private initiatives seems ludicrous as private wineries promote themselves with their own private money. Or at most, they band together to promote say Paso Robles or Finger Lakes as a region. That’s how you do it. You spend what you can out of your own budget to then earn this money back through foreign sales. Seems pretty simple.

This money, which is actually 1.15€ billion in total is ludicrous as the entire export market is 8.6€ billion and thus they’re spending nearly 14% of what is being made to promote wines that in reality most producers have already been promoting as shown by these “big six” in Spain who took their lion’s share of the money to do who knows what with. And this is problem with being a small winemaker (essentially anyone making less than 100,000 bottles a year) in that you’re just not going to get access to that money whereas someone like Torres (who I presume was one of the six as they’re gigantic) has full time staff dedicated to hunting down these funds, applying, receiving, and thus growing more. Why they don’t have the wineries apply through their respective denominations of origin is beyond me as what they really need to be doing are promoting specific regions as opposed to specific wineries.

As an American who is more accustomed to the “boot strap” approach to business the only real solution I see is to cut all of this money off given that if you read the article you’ll see that France and Italy aren’t really any better than Spain. Large companies see free money and they do what it takes to get it because it’s there for that. Amazingly, despite these failures they’ve actually been increasing this fund over the years as it seems that one of the few things people still want out of Europe besides visiting old shit are the wines, so again, many thanks to the Romans.

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