It’s not like there are that many of you interested in what I have to say anyway but I have been a bit more quiet than I’d like of late and I apologise. Not quite doing the full-on dryathlon some subject themselves to but I figured if there is a time in the year to give your liver a rest, might as well be when most people do. I did give in this weekend though, and ended up opening a strange, enigmatic-looking bottle I found in the cellar.
On the simple front label was written BARBAZUL, as if it was named after a dark tower straight out of a Tolkien fantasy story, foreboding power and magic. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was magical (I wish!) but the power was there all right.
Luscious, dark and deep red going on purple, looking into it intensely I swear I could have summoned some dark spirit from this winey abyss. It was slightly chilled when I opened it and so a bit shy on the aromas at first but still, the 5 years in French oak gave off those toasty smells carrying black cherry and plum fruit. Letting it air a bit in the glass and the rest of the bottle in the decanter, the volatile alcohols (that bad boy clocked 14.5%) started tickling the nostrils bringing raisin or some sort of cooked dried fruit aromas with it. That lusciousness was found on the palate too but the firm tannins and ripe fruit matched the alcoholic strength quite nicely. A crisp acidity kept it fresh and alive and the mouth was left with a peppery/warm spice feel, simply perfect when the bones could feel the announced, but nonetheless dreaded chill of the next few days. So altogether quite a bit to say about this wine which is a good thing.
This Vino de la Tierra de Cadiz, a sub-appellation de Andalucia, was another discovery from Reserve Wines. It is made of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and … Tintilla de Rota. This local grape, named after the town of Rota on the other side of the bay from Cadiz, is apparently rarely found in still wines and is normally used in a fortified wine called Mistela (never heard of). From a DNA perspective it is also a sister of Graciano which for all you Rioja aficionados may ring a bell.
The Syrah, Cab. Sauv. and Merlot were fermented in stainless steel vats whilst the Tintilla was fermented in 5,000 Litres wood vessels (all from the website). The blend was then aged for 5 months in French new oak barrels which means this wine is classed as Joven (for a wine to be Crianza, it has to be aged at least one year in barrels and more for Reserva and Gran Reserva). It’s a shame it doesn’t specify the percentage of each grape as they are all supposed to offer very different characteristics and the blend is no doubt responsible for the complexity of this wine.
Don’t get me wrong, it cost 10 quid and is the entry level of the winery which produces close to 200,000 bottles of the Barbazul so we’re not quite in FINE VINO territory here. But it’s definitely good value for money and I’ll look out for more Tintilla de Rota.