La cuesta de enero


From my latest column on Barcelona Metropolitan, I offer up a selection of wines with a great quality-cost ratio. There are many here in Catalonia and as space was limited in print, I’ve included the full text plus a few more options below.

Broken, battered, spent–and that’s before we get in to the state of our wallets after the holidays. In January, we always find ourselves at the point wherein we have to dig ourselves out of what happened during December, shameful, shameful December… I find that wine is an excellent companion for these endeavors and given the state of most budgets this month, I’d like to recommend a series of wines all under 10€.

Altavins Almodí 2013
Licorice, cloves, red fruit, menthol. Even in the body with good balance. Touch young still and dry finish that will hopefully smooth out a little.

100% Hairy Grenache 14.65% 7€

Altavins Ilercavònia 2014
Peach, apricot, lychee to the nose. Balanced on the palate and delicate with slight citric notes in to the finish.

100% White Grenache 13.65% 8€

Mas de les Vinyes Criança 2010
Elegant, light aromas of white pepper, red fruits, and herbs. Balanced in the body with chalk and clay textures that lead in to a clean finish with slight lingering bitter notes of lemon peel.

20% Cab Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 20% Grenache 15% 8€

Coca i Fitó Jaspi Negre 2011
Complex mineral notes with a touch of fresh balsamic aromas in the nose. The body is full in the mouth and well balanced between fruit, oak, and alcohol. The finish is full of dark fruits and spice notes from the oak.

45% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 15% Cab Sauvignon, 15% Syrah 14.5% 8.50€

Castell de Perelada 3 Fincas 2013
Initially neutral in the nose but opens up to reveal a granitic nose. Very balanced in the body and light on the palate with a good body and excellent, lingering acidity.

Grenache, Carignan, Cab Sauvignon, Merlot 14% 5.50€

Castell de Perelada Cigonyes Negre 2013
Dark fruits, cloves and brambly with a toss of tart cherry although the malolactic treatment may be a bit forceful. Initially healthy acidity that comes in over the young plums in the body and lingers in to the finish. Super easy to drink and pair.

Grenache, Syrah 14.6% 7.50€

Coll de Roses Blanc 2013
Citric lime notes and clay. Steely Chablis quality. Crisp in the month with excellent acidity through to the lingering finish. No end of enjoyable for any time of the year.

Chardonnay, Macabeu 12.5% 9€

Coll de Roses Negre 2013
Expressive red fruits with a touch of limestone, cedar, and black pepper. Smooth and even in the mouth with a touch of cloves into the finish.

Grenache, Tempranillo 14.5% 9€

Espelt Vidivi 2012
Light cocoa notes with dark fruits and white pepper. Dark fruits in the body with pronounced tannics that lead in ti a dry finish with lemon peel notes.

Grenache, Merlot 14.5% 8€

Cellers d’en Guilla Magenc 2013
Grapey nose from the Muscat with notes of clay, lime peel, raspberry, sandalwood, very light minerality. Strong acidity in the mouth with an astringent finish.

White Grenache, Macabeu, Grey Grenache, Muscat 13.6% 6€

Cellers d’en Guilla Rec de Brau 2013
Blackberry, menthol, currants to the nose. Light dark fruits in the body that’s a bit empty in the mid-palate. Young boysenberry notes as well as good acidity that trails in to a long finish.

Carignan, Grenache 14.5% 7€

Roig Parals Mallolet 2013
fresh red fruit notes with a touch of tobacco. Fruit forward in the mouth with giod acidity in to a short finish. Bit brash as it opens.

Carignan, Grenache 13.8% 5.50€

Roig Parals La Botera 2011
dark and red fruits, cumin, cedar, cigar box light. Full across the mouth, good acidity, cloves, medium tannins that carry in to the finish along with red fruit notes

Carignan, Grenache 14% 9€


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