Tasting Cat Negre 2012
A couple of months ago I wrote that 10 Sentits had released a new wine called, Cat Negre. A blend of selections from 10 Grenache vineyards from the 10 denominations of origin in Catalonia (minus Cava which is technically Spanish and DO Catalunya which is akin to Vin de France) they tried something rather wild in putting all 10 Grenaches in to the blend with equal parts that had all been fermented in their own barrels. It may seem elementary but probably 50% of the “awesome” in that bottle you’re drinking is due to the enolog knowing how to blend well and the more disparate the regions and soils, the harder it is.
Due to a long list of reasons that mainly revolve around tasting all of the DOQ Priorat wines for the forthcoming 2nd edition of that book I never got around to tasting this wine although I was no end of curious to do so. It just so happened that Victor at La Vinícola (a very wonderful new wine shop in Barcelona’s Eixample district that focuses on Catalan wines, including those of old, Catalunya Nord aka Roussillon) was hosted a tasting of it with one of the “sentits” who gave a compact narrative of the whole project to date with their various experiments.
This Cat Negre is probably one of the most curious as they’ve generally focused on single grapes like Sumoll and while this is a indeed single grape, the diversity of the soils (from limestone to slate to granite to clay and more) tosses a big fat monkey wrench in to the mix. When it came time to taste it, I was pleasantly surprised though as the wine does indeed work. Many comments I’ve seen about it are calling it the “truest expression of Grenache!” and I find that to be a bit overzealous as I would probably prefer a wine made from a single vineyard or region. That said, they managed to stop two sins from happening.
The first would be to bash all the various aspects of the different soil types in to one cohesive wine. You see this in regions with their lower end wines coming from different vineyards and they do whatever they can, whether ugly or natural to make the character of the wine be singular as they can. The other thing that the Sentits managed to avoid was having “Grenache vomit” wherein they would just toss everything together, hope for the best, and get the worst. Amazingly I can still taste the various soils in this wine which is no mean feat given how prominently Grenache loves to flash its mineral bits to the crowd. I’m kind of at a loss as to how to explain it other than to say, it works, it’s enjoyable to drink, and it was a very solid experiment made by 10 Sentits.
Cat Negre 2012
Typical red fruit notes to start with red cherry that eventually gives way to a bit of prune and dried fig. Also quite herbal and mineral with pretty much any manner of soil type able to be found in the aromas. The body is full and even but stops short of obliterating the palate and shows good roundness from the aging regimen. Generally clean finish with light, lingering fruit notes.
100% Grenache 15% 15€
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 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 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
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
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Rouge 2015 92
Medium ruby. Fresh red cherry, raspberry, and young strawberry, lifted and breathy, saline tinge along with light stoniness and rosemary and garrigue. Fresh red fruit on the palate, medium acidity but still light on the palate, fresh, and while the alcohol sticks out a little, holds and excellent, long finish.
Grenache Carignan Mourvèdre · 14.5% · 20EUR
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%