Food, wine, travel, music
A tasting of mainly Spanish wines last week was a revelation with the introduction to Cork of producer Tom Puyaubert by Michael Kane of Curious Wines. Mike is a relatively new kid on the block with his brother Matt who while around for six years, first in Bandon Co Cork and now in Cork, have in the few months I have known them generated worthwhile wine events in Cork. Mike and Matt are starting a beginners’ wine course in February 2003 and plenty more tastings will follow. As relatively small operators Curious Wines are seeking vineyards which are too small to appeal to large importers, giving us in Cork chance to get to know some grape types a little better. They don’t always quite fit the profile of the wine drinker who follows only well known brands.
Mont Marcal Brut Cava Extremarium €19.99
The 40 hectares estate is located south of Barcelona in the Penedes wine region in the DOs of Penedes, Catalunya and Cava.
An elegant cava, it would be difficult to tell this from some Champagnes. Good fruit with a dry finish and persistent bubbles. Good value.
Bodegas Exopto was started by Bordeaux born Tom Puyaubert in 2003 having arrived in La Rioja to selling French barrels to winemakers throughout Spain. He married into La Rioja and settled there continuing to sell barrels, while learning constantly from those he supplies. He has managed to develop a range of wines which surpass many of his customers, ranging from a reasonably priced good wine to an excellent one – quite an achievement is this short time. Exopto in Latin means to desire greatly, an appropriate title for a pleasurable range.
Horizonte de Exopto Blanco 2010 €19.99
This is the only white made at the vineyard us is the full fruity style we expect of Spanish grapes which enjoy plenty of sun. Viura, allowed to oxidised for a year in barrels, some of them new, is blended with Malvasia, Garnacha Blanca and a tiny bit of Moscatel from vineyards where the white vines are scattered amongst the red. The result is a gorgeous wine with floral hints and plenty of fruit with enough acidity to make it ideal for food – fish dishes obviously, but also chicken, turkey, rabbit, and it will suit rich Asian dishes too. It’s a serious white wine and a great one to bring to dinner parties for those interested in a decent white.
Bozeto de Exopto 2011 €12.49
50% Garnacha, 40% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano blended and aged in oak for 9 months results in a wine more in the style of Priorat than Rioja, yet is full fruited and well balanced, good value and will keep a few years and taste even better.
Horizonte de Exopto Tinto 2009 €19.99
80% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 10% Graciano blended and kept in barrel for a year (a third in year old barrels, a third in new and a third in older) makes this a quite complex wine that gets more interesting with each glassful. Great fruit, well balanced which makes it good for hearty food. It will keep three years and maybe needs that to make the best of it.
Exopto Cuvée Luca 2009 €40
This is the winery’s top wine and tops many wines at this price. 2009 was a good vintage and the label has a handprint of Tom’s son who was born then, so a good year in many ways. 3,000 bottles are produced and only in good vintages. If you want to know what good Graciano tastes like, this is a way to try it, with 60% in the blend along with 30% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano. Superb and well worth the money. Buy it for someone special and for yourself for a treat. I can’t imagine a better accompaniment to roast beef.