Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Wines of Catalunya Lunch at Jaleo

Wines of Catalunya Lunch at Jaleo


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I have been anticipating the Wines of Catalunya Lunch and Tasting for a long time. It was originally scheduled for Tuesday, 30 October 2012 but the widespread forces of Hurricane Sandy caused it to be delayed until yesterday. This event was organized by Nuria Ruiz Mila who is the Export Manager for the Associacio Vinicola Catalana.  Holly Hansen of Holly Hansen Public Relations and Gastronomic 34 handled the PR. Approximately two dozen wine and food writers and buyers were invited to sit down for a pre-tasting lunch at Jaleo. The lunch featured wines and dishes from Catalunya. The menu was selected by José Andrés with the wines matched by Wine Director Lucas Paya.

Our lunch turned out to be a leisurely two-hour progression of eight courses with wine. My companions included Kelly Green of Girl Meets Food, Todd Godbout of Wine Compass, and Christopher Prawdzik of Prawdzik Group, along with Michael Birchenell of Foodservice Monthly. At the other table was the familiar Dave McIntyre, the Washington Post Wine Writer and author of Dave McIntyre’s Wine Line along with new acquaintance Michael Cavanagh of Chasing Pangea. The lunch was generous in all meanings with attractive flavors, substantial portions, and large pours of wine. A bottle was always left at the table so we could revisit the wine. José Andrés stopped by the table prompting the conversation to immediately turn to his advising the Hannibal series. He walked away encouraging all of us to drink and eat. I had plans to taste through the large number of wines being poured at the afternoon tasting but I succumbed to the lunch. It was a bright day which made the food look all the more attractive. The warm, summer temperatures and certainly the wine created a festive air. I decided to only visit a handful of producers after the lunch. I shall leave descriptions of the meal to the food writers but please find the menu below.

Pa de vidre amb tomaquet
Xatonada
Coca de recapte amb anxoves
Bacalla amb samfaina
Esparrecs amb romesco
Canelo de sant esteve
Fricando amb bolets
Pa amb oli & xocolata

As for the wines the 2008 Gonzalez Byass, Vilarnau, Albert de Vilarnau Chardonnay proved a strong start with balance between yeast notes, fruit, stones, and acidity. It is actually a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The second Cava 2006 Caves Llopart, Leopardi, Brut Gran Reserva was fruitier which made it a good contrast. At one point I peered towards the other table where I saw one gentleman wearing the most ridiculous sunglasses I had ever seen. A few minutes later the 2007 Torello, 3D by Custo, Brut Gran Reserva with a riot of a label was poured. Francisco de la Rosa Torello handed out 3-D glasses and it all made sense. The nose was very aromatic in this expressive Cava which captured Francisco’s personality.

The single white wine 2012 Agusti Torello Mata, Subirat Parent XII was of interest because it was made from Subirat Parent. This is actually Malvasia and carried white tropical fruits on the nose and in the mouth.

The red wines were off to a seductive start with the 2010 Miguel Torres, Salmos, Priorat. This was the most approachable of the four reds of which I appreciated the savory flavors and grip. The 2008 Abadal, Abadal 3.9 was deep with mixed berries and earth. It was a touch more forward than the classically structured 2008 Pares Balta, Gratavinum, 2PiR which will benefit from a few years in the cellar. The oldest and final wine 2005 Castillo de Perelada, Gran Claustro Tinto bore an old-school, savory profile. I have only drunk a handful of wines from Emporda so I was pleased to enjoy this wine.

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2008 Gonzalez Byass, Vilarnau, Albert de Vilarnau Chardonnay, Cava – $80
Imported by the San Francisco Wine Exchange. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which was aged for 36 months. Alcohol 12.0%. The nose was yeasty with some ripe, yellow fruit. In the mouth there were yeasty flavors, toast notes, and whiter fruit than on the nose. There were firm bubbles which eventually just disappeared showing good acidity, levity, and chalk in the finish. Nice.

Celia Almirall I Valls, Llopart

Celia Almirall I Valls, Caves Llopart

2006 Caves Llopart, Leopardi, Brut Gran Reserva, Cava – $25
Imported by Fine Estates from Spain. This wine is a blend of Macabeau, Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Chardonnay aged for at least 4 years. Alcohol 11.5%. The nose bore a subtle yeast note with perfume and some berries. There was an earthy note to the start before fruit bursts in the mouth with a fine bubbly mousse. This made way to more firm and ripe fruit in the finish. A fruit driven Cava.

Francisco de la Rosa Torello

Francisco de la Rosa Torello

2007 Torello, 3D by Custo, Brut Gran Reserva, Cava – $87
Imported by United Cellars. This wine is a blend of Xarel-lo and Macabeo aged for at least 4 years. Alcohol 11.5%. There was an expressive nose with some yeast and nuts, living up to the 3D name. The flavors fill the mouth with moderate bubbles which softly burst. There was a toast, yeast note before the flavors became drier and savory towards the finish.

Antonio Alvarez

Antonio Alvarez

2012 Agusti Torello Mata, Subirat Parent XII, Penedes – $23
Imported by Mata Wines. This wine is 100% Subirat Parent which was aged for six months in oak. Alcohol 11.5%. This had a fruity nose with a hint of tropical, white fruits. In the mouth there were focused, gentle tropical white flavors with a bit of subtle stone in the finish. Good mouthfeel and flavor but not the most complex.

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2010 Miguel Torres, Salmos, Priorat – $42
Imported by Dreyfus Ashby & Co. This wine is a blend of Garnacha Tinta, Syrah, and Carinena which was aged for 12-14 months in oak. Alcohol 15%. The nose revealed sweet, ripe black and blue fruit. The mouth followed the nose with savory, weighty, expansive flavors. It tilted towards a more seductive, international style. There was a little grip in the finish along with ripe, sweet tannins.

Mireia Crespillo, Abadal

Mireia Crespillo, Abadal

2008 Abadal, Abadal 3.9, Pla de Bages – $31
Imported by Classic Wines, Inc. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah sourced from Plot 3, Parcel 9 which was aged for 12 months in oak. Alcohol 14%. There were deep aromas of mixed berries and earth which tightened up with air. The wine was more structured in the mouth with purple and red fruit, a wood note, and tart red fruit. The acidity caused some salivation in the finish. Though young with structure it was still easy to drink.

Oriol Bargallo, Pares Balta

Oriol Bargallo, Pares Balta

2008 Pares Balta, Gratavinum, 2PiR, Priorat –
Imported by Broadbent Selections. This wine is a blend of Garnatxa, Carinyena, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah which was aged 14 months in oak. Alcohol 15%. In the mouth there were firm, drying tannins with good depth to the fruit. Young. There were some wood notes along with sweet, finely textured ripe tannins. This needs a few years in the cellar.

David Begg, Castillo de Perelada

David Begg, Castillo de Perelada

2005 Castillo de Perelada, Gran Claustro Tinto, Emporda – $50
Imported by Perelada Commercial. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Garnatxa, and Samso which was aged 14 months in oak. Alcohol 14.7%. This The nose was pungent with raspberry aromas. The mouth gave a sense of age but still has future development. The flavors bore some density and darkness in this savory wine. It was a touch old-school in profile. The structure started to come out as the tannins dried the inside of the lips. It left impressions of cocoa powder.

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  1. April 11, 2013 at 9:40 am

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