The goodness of Celler Frisach
Another winery we were pleased to make the acquaintance of at the DO Terra Alta tasting in Barcelona two weeks ago was Celler Frisach. They’re a three year-old winery with a lengthy family tradition of winemaking. They cull their grapes from 40 hectares of vineyards that they own down in Corbera d’Ebre. While most of what they grow is Grenache (yay!) they also have Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Carignan. Their vineyards range from 15 to 50 years old, which is always a difference that you can taste in the glass. Also something you can taste in the glass is the fact that they farm organically and they apply a general, “don’t screw with it” method when it comes to making their red and white wines.
Selecció 2011 is 100% White Grenache. That’s always an interesting start, but what makes this wine more interesting is the fact that it’s produced from two harvests of the vineyard. I’ve seen this method popping up here and there throughout Catalonia, but it’s usually to contend with a bad growing year. Such is not the case with Frisach who normally harvest this way for the white. The result is naturally a wine with a bit of a dual personality. There are great, fruity touches of pear all over the place, but they’re floating on top of a great deal of mineral elements as well that are stronger. It definitely works though and makes for a very interesting white wine. 13% 5€
Cupatge 2011 is another interesting wine made from their oldest vineyards. It’s 50% Grenache with a good degree of 40% Carignan–always a happy marriage–and 10% Merlot. Instead of blending in the cellar though, they make the blend in the field during picking, which is actually how it was done generations ago. So, instead of a shotgun marriage at the tanks, you get more of a loving courtship wherein the grapes get to know each other through every step of fermentation and bottling. It’s a young wine that sees no oak aging. While bright in the glass with a nice brace of acidity (most likely from that 10% of Merlot), it’s surprisingly spicy and mature in the body with a clean finish that gives a touch of sweetness to it. Enjoyable and quite happy to pair with just about anything you’d like to toss at it. 14% 5€
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
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
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
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
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
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
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%
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
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
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
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