June 2024 Crianza Wine Club

2019 Barco De Piedra
Ribera Del Duero

Regular Price: $17.99
Club Price: $15.29

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The name ‘Barco de Piedra’ (translates to stone boat in English) refers to Peñafiel Castle in the wine region of Ribera del Duero. Located in the Valladolid province, this “stone ship” or fortress was constructed in the 10th century. Today it still stands guard on the cliffside dominating the landscape above the Duero river. Not far from the castle (and just 7 km east of the legendary Vega Sicilia) the single estate vineyards of Bodega ‘Barco de Piedra’ are planted on mostly limestone soils with a small percentage of sandy clay near the surface.  This is a wine that hides nothing and is one of the truest expressions of a Ribera del Duero red I have had in a while. A fine example of quality for value in my book.

Barco De Piedra is made from 100% Tinto Fino (also known as Tinta del País) a clone of the Tempranillo grape that exists here in Ribera Del Duero and noticeably different from Tempranillo in Rioja.  After harvest, clusters are hand selected and cold macerated for 2-3 days before a cool fermentation takes place. An extended maceration takes place for about a week after fermentation. This process of extracting more phenolics contributes to the wines overall color density and hue, tannin level, and texture. The wine is then aged for 4 months in large, neutral casks (85% French and 15% American). While we typically see this style of winemaking with thinner skinned grapes like Pinot Noir and Grenache, Barco De Piedra showcases more modern winemaking techniques in order to ensure aging potential and less bitter tannins on the palate. 

In the glass this wine is expressive with intense aromas of black cherry, cassis, licorice, smoke and just a hint of cocoa. With all the structure, tannins and alcohol this wine possesses, I’d be curious what this wine could be in 4-5 years (maybe something reminiscent of a Vega Sicilia?). Drink now with an aged Manchego cheese or a pork tenderloin. AP


Mustiguillo 2021 Mestizaje
Red Blend

Regular Price: $16.99
Club Price: $14.44

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How FUN.  This month, we had two of us wine staff members write a piece on this wine.  For those of you who like New Yorker length pieces, read both.  For the rest of you, who do you like better, Bastian or Alessia?  LOL!


Bastian's writeup:

Picture yourself getting started in a wine growing area as a newcomer.  All your neighbors have been growing grapes forever, and because the grapes they grow are sold to large estates making bulk wines, growers grow as many grapes as they can per hectare because they get paid by the pound.  You, idealistic and intent to leave your mark on the world, see that there is a better way.  You know that by dropping fruit off the vine and reducing crop, you can get better wine.  So you do it, and you become the laughing stock of the area. "The fool's not from here, and look at him cutting money off his vines", they say.

Well, that is the story of Mustiguillo founder Toni Sarrion, who began a one man crusade to change how the indigenous variety Bobal was grown and to coax it from qualitative obscurity and rusticity to the forefront of truly world class wines.  Staring in the 1990s, he worked to transform his family's country retreat in the Utiel Requena area about an hour's drive west of Valencia into a first class winery.  Starting with his grape thinning and 4 unsuccessful vintages, his quest culminated in a first commercially successful vintage of his 'Quincha Corral' wine. A short 3 years later in 2003 things really took off.  That year Mustiguillo obtained an I.G.P. (Protected Geographical Indication) Vino de la Tierra de Terrerazo - the first Spanish estate to obtain an I.G.P. within a D.O.P (Protected Designation of Origin). In 2004, the influential critic Robert Parker rated the 2001 'Quincha Corral' with an impressive 95 points - a first for a Bobal-based wine.  Now it was Toni who was laughing at his neighbors.  "In 2010, precisely on the 17th of September, a day that many had waited for finally arrived. In recognition of the estate's unique location, altitude, soil types, climate and surroundings, Finca Terrerazo was granted a Denominación de Origen Protegida - D.O.P. Pago El Terrerazo, making it the first vino de pago (single-estate wine denomination) in the Mediterranean region." writes the Mustiguillo estate proudly.  

While Mustiguillo makes highly evolved, super concentrated Finca-level wines from their low yielding mountain Bobal vines, we chose their simple everyday Bobal blend for the Crianza Club.  It is a very enjoyable blend of 75% Bobal, 15% Garnacha, and 5% Syrah.  Deep in color with an intriguing nose of black fruits, violets, cedar and black pepper. The fleshy dark fruit flavors of blackberry and black currant are lifted by brink mineral acidity (this is where those limestone soils come through) and fine tannins. It leaves you on a nice sweet and spicy finish, a perfect pair with anything cooked over fire & smoke. And, despite its generous fruit, it only clocks in at 13.5% alcohol.  With all that, I have never met someone who didn't like this wine.  To me, it's the quintessential answer to "what's a good wine to have with paella".  And at this price, it's a case-purchase, stock up for summer wine. - BMS


Alessia writeup:

Did you know that Bobal is the 3rd most planted grape varietal in Spain? The name Bobal (pronounced bow-bal) comes from the Latin, ‘bovale’ meaning “in the shape of a bull’s head.” Take a look at the photo below to see for yourself – this tightly packed cluster with its distinct shape sure packs a punch! While I love a Tempranillo, Bobal may be my new favorite. Although we rarely see this red wine in restaurants, shops and wine bars, it has so much to offer us.  Soft tannins, medium to high acidity, juicy berry aromas and relatively low ABV – yes please! It really is the perfect vino tinto for your next paella party.  

Hailing from the DOP El Terrerazo in the Valencia Region, the vineyards of Mustiguillo use organic and sustainable farming practices such as dry-harvesting and cover-cropping. At an altitude of 800-824 meters (2625- 2703 ft) the estate comprises 89 hectares (about 220 acres) of contiguous vineyards on predominantly Dolomite limestone soils. The climate is Mediterranean with a strong continental influence and drastic diurnal shifts. Winds vary with cool sea breezes from the east to hot La Mancha winds from the west. The climate and terroir  here is best suited for Bobal.  I find it very noticeable in the glass making it stand out from other reds I’ve had from Valencia. 

Made up of 75% Bobal, with the remainder Garnacha and Syrah, each varietal is vinified separately and undergoes malolactic fermentation in a mixture of oak and stainless steel. The final blend spends 12 months in French oak foudre and 500L barrels.  The result is a balanced wine with low sulfites that is also certified organic and vegan. 

Don’t let the deep ruby red fool you into thinking it will be mouth-puckering and austere.  Think of ripe blackberries that burst in your mouth with a hint of English Breakfast tea and Mediterranean herbs.  It's fresh and lively with a sweet and spicy finish that makes you want to come back for more.  Ready to drink now AP

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