July 2024 Tinto Wine Club

Espelt 2020 Pla De Gates Negre

Regular Price: $29.99
Club Price: $25.49

Meeting Anna Espelt was a cool surprise. Her importer set up a last-minute tasting with me here in the Berkeley shop, and I jumped at the chance to squeeze it into my day. Her family’s wines were some of the first wines I was introduced to when I started at the Spanish Table. Anna came in, warm and welcoming, and introduced me to her wines from Empordà where she’s all about organic and regenerative farming.

Anna has always made it a priority to align her values with the farming practices at her family’s expansive 200-hectare estate but she’s also pursuing something more personal — a project focused on 25 hectares of vineyards called Mas Marés in the Cap de Creus Nature Reserve. While hiking there, she saw the potential to revitalize old vineyards and discovered evidence of human interaction dating back to the early Bronze Age including a megalith stone featured on the labels. This discovery made her realize the special significance of this place and this ancient stone tells stories of the humans that erected it 4000 years ago.

When I asked about her work in Cap Creus, Anna described a land of granite, wind, blue skies, and the smell of wild herbs and sea spray. She didn't even mention vineyards at first because they’ve been part of this landscape forever. Anna’s dedication brings her vineyards back in balance with nature, honoring centuries of human touch.

As she poured, I watched wine catch the light as it hit the glass, Anna gently said “I make the house wine for the best restaurant in the world.”— I paused then responded, “Wait. What?” Then I realized she was talking about Disfrutar, the restaurant in Spain recently named the best in the world. I was blown away — and, you actually have to pass through her property to get to the restaurant. How cool is that! 

100% of the Lledoner Negre (Garnacha in Catalan) for this wine comes from Anna Espelt's personal vineyard, Mas Marés, where the vines are organically farmed in granite soil and surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean where the sea breezes give the wine a vibrance and freshness, with fresh herb notes, a mineral streak, and a hint of salinity in the finish. Pla de Gates is a new-school style of Garnacha growing increasingly popular in Spain. Pair this with a day hike to the beach.JML


Prats + Symington
2020 Post Scriptum

Regular Price: $39.99
Club Price: $33.99


The name ‘Chryseia’ may sound familiar for those who follow the top 100 wines lists, professional reviews and accolades–it has a prestigious reputation as being one of the best table wines of Portugal. And I agree! After tasting dozens of Portuguese wines the past few months, I reviewed my tasting notes and found that the 2020 Post Scriptum was one of my favorites.  It meets my strict criteria of balance, length, intensity and complexity. Also importantly, it represents a great quality for value. I’m really excited to present this wine to the Tinto Wine Club this month because I truly believe that wine can be egalitarian and unpretentious. 

The collaboration between Bruno Prats (former winemaker of the famed Château Cos d'Estournel in Bordeaux) and Charles Symington results in an expertly crafted red wine that is exemplary of Bordeaux style winemaking practices and indigenous Portuguese grape varieties. While this all sounds good and well, I have to say, I’m more interested in dirt and pairing wine with good food and company. What I will say about this wine that is important to note is, all grapes (a blend of 51% Touriga Nacional 34% Touriga Franca 10% Tinta Barroca 5% Tinta Roriz) come from the same Quinta de Roriz vineyards that go into the illustrious Chryseia. The schist soils on this particular site here in the Cima Corgo, Douro are actually sprinkled with tin and gold residue from old mines that used to reside at the top of the estate. Whether or not it contributes to a distinct and unique minerality, the verdict is still out. Let’s talk about aspect for a moment because I believe this and the soils are contributing factors to this wines overall balance and finesse. Quinta Roriz encompasses 42 hectares (about 103 acres) with a northerly aspect forming a natural amphitheater providing cooler temperatures for the grapes to grow in. The result: a fresh, rich and intense red blend. I find this wine to start off with notes of wet slate and iodine, which is unusual for a Douro red.  I certainly get aromas of violets, black plums and blackberry, along with high tannins and full-body, which I would expect from Toriga Nacional. The 12 months spent in French Oak adds complexity and depth to this wine. The results are in:  a sophisticated and ambitious wine that won’t break the bank. Saúde–AP


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