viernes, 5 de abril de 2013

Bodegas Piqueras (Marius) - D.O. Almansa, Spain


BODEGAS PIQUERAS (MARIUS) - D.O. ALMANSA, SPAIN

DO Almansa lies about 100 kilometres inland from Valencia and Alicante, east of Albacete. It is an area of 10,000 hectares and the vineyards lie 700 metres above sea level. The soil, basically calcareous, and the climate, extreme continental with cold winters and hot summers, are ideal for the cultivation of the Tempranillo (known locally as the Cencibel), Monastrell, Syrah and Garnacha Tintorera grape varieties. The average annual rainfall, 410 mm, is low and together with the cold winter and spring nights results in a low yield and grapes of excellent quality.

Bodegas Piqueras, the driving force behind the creation of DO Almansa, was founded in 1915 by Mario Bonete. Bottling began in 1961, followed by a successful export market. His son, Juan Pablo Bonete, having studied oenology and worked closely alongside his father, eventually took over as the energetic, young proprietor and winemaker, assisted by his brother Angel - their only objective being to produce eminent wines in limited quantities. Bodegas Piqueras is a medium-sized producer with 190 hectares of its own vineyards and another 500 hectares contracted from growers. The annual production of red wine is 1.5 million litres. In 2002, they moved into a modern, immaculate, purpose-built bodega in Almansa designed and equipped to produce top quality, exciting wines.

ALMANSA WINE REGION

Almansa DO (Denominación de Origen) is the most eastern wine region, and one of the smallest, in the Castilla-La Mancha autonomous community of Spain. It was the frontier territory between the Moorish and Christian kingdoms of Aragón and Castilla.

Almansa was awarded DO status in 1966. The designation draws its name from the largest town in the area, known for its imposing 14th Century castle, the Castillo de Almansa.

The region is geographically and stylistically closer to the neighboring Levante areas of Comunidad Valenciana and Murcia, bordering Jumilla and Yecla in the south and Valencia and Alicante in the east.

Viticulture has taken place here continuously since the 16th Century. The dry, hot and arid conditions of the vast central Iberian plateau also prevail in Almansa, and the overall climate can be considered to be extreme. Despite its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, the climate is strongly continental, with high temperatures throughout the growing season, although the sea does lessen the harsh conditions more than in other parts of Castilla-La Mancha.

The soils are generally poor and stony, with a healthy lime component, which critically retains water effectively. With less than 14 inches (350mm) of rain falling each year, this is essential. Most vineyards are planted on largely flat terrain around 750m above sea level. This altitude tends to mitigate the heat and lengthy sunshine hours somewhat.

Overall, these conditions favor the production of red wine, and only red-wine varieties are preferred, according to the local Consejo Regulador (wine authority), although some white varieties are authorized.

The dominant grape variety in Almansa is the regional specialty Monastrell (France's Mourvedre). Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) is also widely grown, and produces deep-colored wines with plenty of dark-fruit characters. Because of their rich color, these wines have been popular as blending agents, although they are now being appreciated for their individual qualities. Other important varieties include Cencibel (Tempranillo), Cabernet Sauvianon and Syrah. The authorized white varieties are Chardonnay, Sauvianon Blanc, Verdejo and Moscatel de Grano Menudo (Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains).

The powerful reds of Almansa have been growing in reputation since the creation of the DO and are now exported to more than 25 countries. The designation is considered a promising one.



MARIUS GARNACHA TINTORERA AGED IN OAK 2010 - ALMANSA

- Wine making: 100% Garnacha Tintorera aged 4 months in American barrels. (Screwcap available).

- Tasting notes: "Opaque purple colour with red tinges. Full-bodied, intense flavours of ripe plums and black pepper, blended perfectly with spices and a toastiness on the palate". burridgewine

- Price: £9.00

GARNACHA TINTORERA

No matter what color their skins, the great majority of wine grapes have clear juice. Although they may appear red on the outside, their insides remain clear and pure. Garnacha Tintorera, or Alicante Bouschet, is one of the few grapes with a brilliant, red-pigmented, free-run juice. It’s also a highly-productive blending grape, sometimes used – discreetly of course – with nobler grapes to add color, depth and roundness. In Spanish, we call these types of grapes, Tintoreras, literally “dyers”. All of our wines owe their greatness to this very special red-juice grape, not only because of its red pulp, but also because of its productivity, able to yield 12 tons per acre.

You can also find Garnacha Tintorera planted in France, Portugal, Corsica, Tuscany, Calabria in southern Italy, former Yugoslavia, Israel, North Africa and California.

Characteristics
- The Grape – Dark, inky purple-skinned grape with thick, durable skin and a vibrant red interior
- The Wine – Dark ruby in color with notes of black pepper, rich black olive, dark chocolate with an undercurrent of red fruit. Spicy in the mouth with herbal notes, bright acidity and nice chocolate/charcoal flavors. It’s an overall fruit-driven wine showing layers upon layers of varying red fruit.

ALICANTE BOUSCHET (GARNACHA TINTORERA)

Alicante Bouschet is a teinturier grape variety widely planted in France (particularly in the Languedoc-Roussillon region), Spain and Portugal, and, to a lesser extent, in parts of Italy, Israel, Macedonia, North Africa, Chile and California. The variety is a crossing of Petit Bouschet and Grenache, first cultivated by viticulturalist, Henri Bouschet, in 1866.

Originally designed as a blending grape to improve the depth of color of such popular 19th century grapes as Aramon, Alicante Bouschet quickly became popular, not just for its intense coloring but for its generous yields. With its high-yielding, easy-to-grow vines, Alicante Bouschet was used to help rebuild the devastated European wine industries following the aftermath of the phylloxera epidemic.

During the time of prohibition in the United States. Alicante Bouschet was often grown in California and sold on the east coast as table grapes. The variety's thick skin made it sufficiently robust to withstand transportation in crates, and its juicy flesh enabled illicit winemakers to press the grapes several times, ensuring that nothing went to waste.

In the latter half of the 20th century, Alicante Bouschet developed a reputation for producing uninspiring wines that lacked varietal distinction. Modern producers in Almansa, Spain and in Alentejo, Portugal are working hard to change people's perception of the variety and prove that, when grown properly, it is capable of making great wine that is fruity, fresh and balanced.

In a blend, Alicante Bouschet contributes soft texture and desirable color. However, its ability to ripen and produce large crops very early in the season comes at the expense of depth and alcoholic strength. With controlled yields and diligent site selection, Alicante Bouschet can produce excellent wine at an attractive price.

Synonyms include: Alicante, Alicante Henri Bouschet, Garnacha Tintorera.

Related grape varieties include: Petit Bouschet, Grenache, Alicante Ganzin.



MARIUS RESERVA 2009 - ALMANSA

- Wine making: Selected Tempranillo (30%), Monastrell (30%) and Garnacha Tintorera (35%) with Syrah grapes, and matured in American oak casks for 12 months and 10 months in bottle.

- Tasting notes: "Wonderful dark cherry red colour, intense, blackberry, spice and toasted aromas, very full, concentrated, rich wild berry fruit on the palate with finely balanced vanilla undertones, and well integrated tannins, great depth with a persistent finish. A wine to grace any table and attractively priced". burridgewine

- Price: £10.00

MOURVEDRE (MONASTRELL)

Mourvedre (Monastrell in its native Spain, Mataro in Australia and California) is a black-skinned variety that has been grown in vineyards all around the western Mediterranean for centuries. Thought to have originated in Spain, it is now grown extensively throughout the Iberian Peninsula, southern France. California and South Australia.

Mourvedre likes warm, dry climates and has small, thick-skinned berries - the textbook combination for making wines with intense color and high tannin levels. In fact, it is the variety's mouth-drying tannins that earned it the French nickname Etrangle-Chien (the dog strangler).

Mourvedre's meaty, herby aromas are very distinctive, as are its strong tannins. These qualities make it a potent ingredient for blending, most often with vibrant, rich Grenache and structured, spicy SYrah (see Grenache - Mourvedre - Syrah (GSM)). Other classic southern French varieties such as Carianan and
Cinsaut are also frequent blending partners for Mourvedre, more because of tradition and convenience (they grow in similar places and ripen almost simultaneously) than flavor or aroma.  

Single-variety Mourvedre or Monastrell wines are not particularly common, but as the curiosity of the average wine consumer increases, so more and more producers are experimenting with making wines from 100 percent Mourvedre.

In France, Mourvedre is a key variety in both Provence and the southern Rhone, where it is a regular constituent of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape blend.

The variety was hit very hard by the phylloxera epidemic of the 1880s, to the extent that it was largely eradicated from some vineyard areas. Its notable strongholds during this time were around Bandol. which has sandy soils that phylloxera cannot survive in (it prefers heavier soil types, particularly clays). Today, Mourvedre vines still line the coastal hillsides of Bandol, and the variety constitutes at least one half of the region's tannic, meaty red wines and its gently spicy rosés - some of the finest in the world.

In Spain, modern viticultural fashions have shifted the focus towards Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvianon, though Monastrell is regaining some of its former importance. At one time it was the second-most-planted red-wine variety in Spain (behind Garnacha). Spanish Monastrell wines tend to be rich, dark affairs, frequently showing flavors of blackberry and black cherry.

In Australia and California, Mourvedre is often called Mataro, although the prestige associated with its French name has encouraged many producers to abandon the term Mataro. Australian and Californian examples of the variety are typically richer and more fruit-driven than those produced around the Mediterranean.

Growing Mourvedre is not recommended for vignerons without a great deal of patience. The vines take several years before they begin to produce fruit of any quality - sometimes five years can pass before a Mourvedre vine yields its first harvest. The variety is also a late-ripener, one of the very last to be picked. In the coastal hills of Provence (particularly around Bandol), Mourvedre is deliberately planted on warmer, south-facing slopes to speed up the ripening process, while Syrah and Grenache are planted on cooler, north-facing slopes.

Synonyms include: Monastrell, Mataro, Esparte, Etrangle-Chien.

Popular blends include: Southern Rhone Blend, Grenache - Mourvedre - Syrah (GSM), (GSM), Mourvedre - Syrah, Grenache - Mourvedre.

References: burridgewine and wine-searcher

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