Wine Notes – March 2021
Mesquida Mora, 2019
Let the Terna sit for a moment before drinking! What starts out as almost two separate wines, a floral and fruity upper note with a salty dryness down bottom, does eventually join up—though, fair warning: the combined force definitely makes for a bold Mallorcan orange. In the bottle you’ll find a 50/50 blend of Prensal Blanc and Giró Blanc, two of the local varieties that winemakers have started recovering in recent years, and while the grapes haven’t received more than 10 days’ maceration, they somehow yield a huge spectrum of flavours and elements: orange and candied fruit, apricot and acidity. Bàrbara Mesquida runs the winery responsible for Terna, located about half an hour east of Palma, and came into the venture around 2012, having taken on the family vineyard years before, when she was 24, then going her own way to start from scratch and eventually offering us this incredibly interesting bottle.
This pét-nat is the Larry Poons to sparkling wine’s Jeff Koons, an earthy, pretence-free bottle that’s no lesser for it, and the label, Flui, is in fact a joint effort that brings together Rodrigo Felipe of Humus (whose red Carbonica we shared in our January box) and Emanuel Frutuoso of Safado Wines. The latter helps out at the Humus winery a few days a week, but for this project the pair decided to use grapes from an old parcel of vines that was first planted by the grandfather of Frutuoso’s wife in 1975. They’re based around Montejunto, to the north of Lisbon, and in the Pét-Nat we have a field blend of local grapes that changes slightly from year to year, but in 2020 they’ve included a mix of Alicante Branco, Seara Nova, and Vital, ending up with a yeasty, savoury palate, but with a little peachiness to sweeten things up. After a direct press, the grapes were fermented about 60% of the way before bottling.
The concept behind Viamic has as much to say as the wine itself; in the bottle you’ll find a blend of 75% Garnatxa, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cartoixà (aka Xarel·lo) that’s been macerated for 15 days and fermented in stainless steel, a medium-bodied red that keeps a slight acidity and doesn’t sit too heavily, despite the mix of varietals. For the concept, ‘Viamic’ blends two Catalan words meaning ‘wine friend’, the labels have been designed as a permanently loading Instagram image, urging you to focus instead on what you see and taste before you, and each bottle in the range is named after a different ‘type’ of friend—this one being Invisible, perfect if you’re into a glass alone. The winemaker behind Viamic, Jaume Jordà, might also be familiar to those already subscribed in January, being one-third of the team responsible for Amor per la Terra, another project putting out great wines in the region.
Domaine de l’Immortelle, 2018
A fairly robust red from the southwest of France, in the region of Roussillon, where a bunch of warm red fruit makes the Madinina a good bet for the last days of winter, either because of or in spite of the sunniness you can feel in the glass. On top of that, you’ll find a decent amount of oak in the mouth and some smokiness on the nose, which maybe push the wine towards the current seasonal direction—though here in Barcelona we’ve almost left all that behind. Made with a blend of 60% Carignan and 40% Grenache, the grapes were harvested from old vines planted around 1945 and were partly aged in oak barrels for a year, hence the woodiness. Delphine and Yann Bouvier are the couple heading up Domaine de l’Immortelle, relative newcomers both to the region and to winemaking, having made the switch from running a paper business in Martinique in 2015.
Prolonging the theme, Lammidia’s Bianco Anfora is another structured wine that still goes down very easily and that’s been made by two old friends, this time in the Pescara province of Italy (the other side of the boot from Rome). The winery also takes its name from a practice involved in the winemaking, with Davide Gentile and Marco Giuliani starting the harvest every year with a ritual to ward off the evil eye (‘mmidia in the local dialect) after the move cured an unfortunate start to their very first winemaking venture in 2010. This particular bottle is made from the local variant of Italy’s Trebbiano grape, one of the country’s most widely planted whites, but in the end we have an orange wine with a week’s maceration, the grapes also having been fermented and then aged for 10 months in clay amphorae. It’s big and aromatic, with tropical fruit and good acidity and flavours that persist in the mouth.
Agricola La Mision, 2018
Direct from Chile, our first wine from outside of Europe and the result of an infallible collaboration between Elena Pantaleoni of La Stoppa, in Italy, and her old friend Nicola Massa that takes the easy-drinking País varietal and invests it with depth and length, the same way that Chilean personnage Alejandro Jodorowsky takes a Wikipedia bio and invests it with three lines of descriptors, ending on ‘spiritual guru’. With beautifully balanced tannins, red berries, sour cherry, and herbs, this is a wine you should feel free to age even further, to let that structure develop. It’s made from ungrafted vines planted 100-plus years ago, a global rarity, and the pair started working on the project back in 2016, from its base in the Coronel del Maule region, close to where Pantaleoni’s mother has lived for the past 20 years. The Pisador grapes were foot-pressed (in Spanish: pisar), received a long maceration, and were aged in used barrels; all in all, a well-rounded, but by no means heavy red.