Spanish wines to feature at Vinisud 2016

I received an email the other day announcing that “Spanish Wines” will be featured at the next edition of Vinisud in 2016. For those unfamiliar with this event, it takes place in Montpellier and I went to it for the 2014 edition which was when it was still being run every other year. Essentially, it’s an impressive event with over 1,000 wineries from the South of France as well as a few others from outside the country in attendance. Tasting everything in three days you will not do. I went with a mission to taste one or two regions in the Rhône fully, met some great people from Châteauneuf and was generally overwhelmed while at the same time greatly informed. And this of course with everyone saying that it was smaller than the 2012 edition…

As Spain has few events that garner this much attention they appear to have wanted to latch on to Vinisud and I while I have zero confirmation on this (Spain is completely opaque in public funding), I have to assume that ICEX and their Foods & Wines from Spain marketing arm are given a very healthy “donation” to the event for the privilege. This may seem like good news for Spanish winemakers, but honestly, it’s weird news. There generally is a contingent of Spanish wine producers at Vinisud already although they are usually from Catalonia given that the rest of Spain has pretty squalid language skills.

The other problem is in how ICEX works. The main big complaint I’ve continually heard from winemakers is that if you go to an event with ICEX then you have to wait out something like 2-3 years before you can do another. And of course, it’s often the huge producers that seem to get in on the events time and again allowing them to grow ever larger which smaller producers keep finding their asses dragging in the dirt.

This is going to make for a weird situation as I’m sure there will be producers that would much rather use ICEX’s quite large war chest to get promoted in say Asia which is seen as a growing market as opposed to France where almost no one from Spain bothers to sell. Sure, there is the chance that people taking part in the ICEX stand (which was noted as being “front and center” in the Vinisud email) may get seen by the wine buyers who come from around the world. But those who are looking for Spanish wine would probably go to the Spanish section that’s always been at the event.

So, who on earth is actually going to be in this amazing stand which will total 20 producers who will have paid 2,415€ each for the pleasure? I’ve no clue, but I’d already planned to go in February and so this will be interesting to see, especially as they’ve extended registration for the pleasure despite the “limited spaces” available. My viewing of it will indeed be brief though as I make a beeline for Cornas, Côte Rotie, St. Joseph, and too many others to name.


Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
97+ 3 Stars

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
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

Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
95+ 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
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

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
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
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

Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
93+ 3 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
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 of the Bee - Cuvée 2015
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

Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
93 2 Stars