The New CVNE Monopole Clásico 2015 Released – Reinventing the Past For a Future Generation of Wine Drinkers…

The world of wine is a big place with countless grapes, wine styles and production techniques. Indeed, wine has never been more mainstream and more popular than it is now. However, with this populism has come a growing tendency towards homogenisation, taking the safe option and producers not pushing boundaries any longer. A comment from UK wine journalist Jamie Goode recently sticks in my head… “just because most consumers drink boring commercial rubbish a lot of the time, doesn’t mean they don’t actually want to drink exciting, edgy, innovative wines too.” That’s where wonderful wines like the CVNE Monopole Clásico come into their own.

This Monopole Clásico white was produced from a blend of white varieties, hand harvested in 20kg cases at optimum ripeness. Softy pressed, as in the 1960s, the must went into concrete tanks for their debourbage / settling, then into stainless steel tanks for the alcoholic fermentation. Once completed, the wine was transferred with its fine lees into wooden vats and botas of 300 litres and 500 litres that had previously been used two or three times. The wine was then aged for around 8 months.

The uniqueness of this wine lies in the contribution of a small quantity of Manzanilla sherry, developed by the traditional method of crianza under “velo de flor”. The wines’ ageing contributes to its peculiar organoleptic characteristics, adding aromas of chamomile tea, dried fruits and nuts, and a long and salty aftertaste with a marked acidity.

The 2015 vintage proved to be one of the best in recent years, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Starting slightly early and proceeding at pace, throughout the vegetative cycle the weather conditions displayed classical textbook seasonality. A rainy autumn, a dry winter with heavy frosts, a rainy spring and a summer with large diurnal temperature shifts between day and night. Weather during the harvest was exceptional and allowed for a harvest with great quality, superb ripening and very healthy fruit.

CVNE Monopole Clásico Blanco Seco 2015, Rioja, 13.5 Abv.

A wonderfully tangy saline nose full of crunchy pear, sea breeze, oyster shell, almond skins, nutty Manzanilla flor spice and caramelised orange peel. Plenty of tension and coiled spring energy, this wine is known to flesh out further with an extra 6 to 8 months in bottle. The palate revels in its nutty, saline Intensity with oxidative Manzanilla sherry nuances whispering in the background, all the while tempered by pithy gooseberry and white stone fruits, chamomile and a dusty, chalky texture. So characterful and deliciously mouth watering, this is an admirably unique wine style that everyone should experience. Drink now to 2035+

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

An Exciting New Palomino White Wine from Bodegas Hidalgo In Andalucia…

La Gitana is one of the most iconic brands of Manzanilla and the flagship wine of Bodegas Hidalgo in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and today, fresh off the plane from South Africa, I hooked up with Luis Hidalgo to taste through not only his beautiful Manzanillas but also an exciting new still wine venture using Palomino.

The Palomino grapes for the Manzanilla wines are harvested in the bodega’s own vineyards in the areas of Balbaina y Miraflores, two of the most respected zones around Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Besides their classic La Gitana, the same bodega has an older, single vineyard Manzanilla Pastrana, and since 2011, there has also been a highly limited Manzanilla La Gitana En Rama, a less filtered and more intense Manzanilla expression that is bottled twice a year.

The new Las 30 del Cuadrado still white wine is a homage to a unique 30 acre plot of old vine Palomino that are found inside the sought after district of Balbaina Alta. Using Palomino for still, non-sherry style wines is growing day by day, perhaps spurred on my the massive success of the Listan Blanco (aka Palomino) whites of Tenerife. This is an all together more exotic, fleshy, opulent style than the volcanic wines of Tenerife, but its definitely worth tracking down.

Bodegas Hidalgo Las 30 del Cuadrado 2016 Blanco, Andalucia, 13.8 Abv.

Rich straw yellow colour, this is no run of the mill white wine from Jerez. Made from grapes from average 70 year old non-trellised Palomino vines, the juice was fermented in old Manzanilla Pastrana Single Vineyard casks using indigenous yeast with battonage daily. 10 Bote were made and this bottling was from Bote No.3, which yielded 523 bottles (total production around 5,300) at 13.8 Abv. The nose is opulent and dense, layered with smoky, waxy yellow peach stone fruit, bruised apricots, dusty limestone, and hints of sea breeze and oyster shells. Wonderful, nutty, smoky, buttery nuances. The palate is rich and fleshy, round and full bodied, but also shows super saline, briney freshness, a sake rice wine umami note and spicy, burnt citrus, blossom and almond skin spice. There is lovely focus to the wine, fantastic fruit concentration and a long, salty, peachy, musky finish. An unusual wine, but oh so delicious.

(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)