Salón de Viñerons / Try & Buy
Last week, I was one of the lucky few to be invited to the presentation of Salón de Viñerons at Quinto Cuarta. This was a dinner coordinated by Paladar & Tomar as a lead-in to the PopUp Wine Try & Buy happening December 13th & 14th at Hotel Villa Emilia in Barcelona. This event on those two days allows people to pay merely 5€ to try the wineries presented, talk with the winemakers, and then buy the wines directly from them just in time for the holidays (and keep the glass to take home.)
For those unfamiliar with Quinto Cuarta, it’s a quasi-clandestine delicious dining experience. I need to emphasize the “quasi” aspect as in this day and age, nothing is truly hidden and you can check in there via whatever App you desire on your phone. Run by chef, Alessandro Castro in his home, the dinners are Italian in foundation, but generally Mediterranean in spirit with a great deal of experimentation on his part. Everything I tasted was fantastic, starting with the creamed buffalo mozzarella seen above and ending with the cake of orange and pistachio. The full menu was as follows:
- Creamed buffalo mozzarella with dried tomatoes
- Olive tapenade with floral aromas
- Anchovy with flambeed mango
- Panzotti with scallops and shrimp in a pantesca sauce
- Carpaccio of bresaola with arugula pesto
- Lamp chop with a puree of chestnuts
- Strudel of white sausage and figs
- Crumble cake of orange and pistachio
Of course, the food was just one part of this as a “Salón de Viñerons” is indeed an evening spent with the winemakers and their wines that were all perfectly paired with each of the dishes. Dishes 1-3 saw Massimo Marchiori pouring the Inquieto he makes at his Partida Creus winery down in Bonastre, Baix Penedès. It’s a genius natural red sparkling wine made from the Mourvèdre grape that they call Garrut locally in the area. A truly wonderful pairing that showed the power of this wine when had with a meal.
Dish four was paired with Ivo Pagès’ Sirenes white that is part of his Vinya Ivo wines and provided a great, fresh contrast with the seafood pasta. While light and fresh, it wasn’t watery and is a fine example of the white wines produced up in Empordà. Dish five was had with the Ca’Vernet by Marco Bernava of Bernaví winery in Terra Alta. The hearty, earthy qualities of the wine were great with the bresaola as while showing a solid backbone, it wasn’t the least bit overpowering.
Dish six saw us shift to Priorat and the Clos Figueras red, Font de la Figuera that Christopher Cannan and his winery have been dutifully making in Gratallops for many years now. It was a reminder as to why we set off on our Priorat adventures last year as the wine is a wonderful example from the region and was happy to be had alongside the lamb chop.
For dish six, we veered out of Catalonia to the Campo Alegre area from Bodegas Fraçois Lurton in DO Toro. Hearty and different, it was indeed a punch up in body from the Font de la Figuera, but it provided a good peak to then come back down to the seventh dish and back to Partida Creus with their Vi Dolç Natural. Again, a great example of what Massimo is doing with his turn to full natural wine production.
This isn’t just to read about, though, because if you’re in Barcelona, check out the Salón de Viñerons event next week. Of course be warned that if you mix in enough wine with enough time, things get a bit, well, crazy.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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%
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%
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