Wines to see the summer out

The second half of August in Spain forms a downhill sprint to September/reality. Everyone is tanned, well swam and well, kinda “over” the whole beach thing at this point. Many just want to chill, usually in the less busy points of civilization such as the villages, while the return to work looms ever more defined on the horizon.

The heat is still with us however and much like past years, the humidity as well. I don’t like the premise that you can’t drink red wine when it’s hot as I say that when it’s too hot to drink red wine, just don’t drink. While that works for a personal credo, always having a couple of bottles of something fresh and crisp around the house goes a long way to win over guests who may not share in my no-wine summer beliefs. If you don’t believe me, try offering multiple rounds of “fresh, cold water” and see how many repeat visitors you get. NB – offer fresh, cold water whenever you don’t want to have repeat guests.

The following wines are all well priced and form a cross section of various complexities from around Catalunya. Castell del Remei in DO Costers del Segre is a larger producer but they have a nice range of wines and are working to define and market just what the territory “is”. Pascona is a cellar in DO Montsant but this wine isn’t as it comes from grapes just outside the region. Winemaker Toni Ripoll has dubbed it, “Mòra la Nova Terres de l’Ebre” which I’m pretty sure isn’t an official IGT but explains that it’s, “river wine” quite well. It reminds me a great deal of what you find in some of the warmer Roussillon blends.

The last from Cara Nord is quite interesting. Hailing from DO Conca de Barberà, it’s a bit atypical as it’s a white that includes a bit of Trepat (a red) but I think it works quite well overall although it may be borderline in terms of that fresh, pool pounder and is more of an evening option but I leave that up to your own discovery and ultimate conclusions.

Castell del Remei – Gotim Blanc 2017
Fresh, crisp, lively citrus notes. Refreshing but not incredibly lengthy persistence although great for a cold glass when needed.
Sauvignon Blanc, Macabeu 12.5% 6.50€
* 86

Pascona – La Germana 2017
Straw colored. Lychee, plump ripe apricot, ripe melon, lemon pith, grapey notes, light saline bitterness, small degree of tart green apply, minor clay mineral notes. Much more citric and thick on the palate, oily feel, melon bitterness picks up and trails. Medium plus acidity, medium finish.
Macabeu, Muscat à petits grains 13% 8€
* 88

Cara Nord – Blanc 2017
Nearly meaty in the nose with a good degree of depth, citric notes, floral, light crushed mint touches. Body holds much more structure and even lets on a dash of red fruit notes. Downright tropical in some respects with a bit of pineapple and grapefruit. Excellent acidity and overall a very refined, elegant wine for those who like a bit of backbone to their whites.
Macabeu, Chardonnay, Trepat 13% 10.50€
** Q 91


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