Friday, 18 February 2011

Blisteringly good

We bought the following wine almost a year ago at an Iberian wine tasting event; its time finally came recently. Remembering how inordinately minerally it tasted back then, we were looking forward to matching it with a nice slab of steak.

Doing steak, there is always a fine line between triumph and disaster. Prepare it for too long, and the meat will end up rubbery and hard. However, taking the steak off when you think it's sufficiently done (medium-rare in our case) is always a bit of a dare. That uncertainty until you finally cut through the steak can be unnerving. This time, the meat was perfect.

And the wine?

Joan Simó, Sentius 2006, Priorat DOQ, Catalunya
Opaque cherry/ruby with a minty and - yes, you've guessed it - minerally entry on the nose. It's not so much fruit that I come up against, but a complex wall of tannins instead. Full-bodied, soft and creamy on the palate. Said tannins are massive but velvety. They envelope the mouth and give off minty, greeny peppery notes here and there. Meanwhile, the minerality is positively blistering. The whopping 15% alcohol is hardly noticeable, though you already feel the effects after one glass. If there was ever a red wine that cried out for oak, this is it. Yet, what roasted notes there are remain discreetly in the background.

Grown on Priorat's slate soils, this is a blend of Garnacha, Cab Sauv., Merlot, Syrah and Carignena - and for the price (CHF 28.50), it's a top wine. Drinking very well at the moment, but I have no doubt it will continue to improve for some years. For the moment, everything is humming away behind a monolithic wall of radio disturbance. [Blimey, did I just write that?] If I were to borrow an analogy, I would probably pick the following song by Oasis. The year is 1996, and Liam and Noel are at their zenith but about to slide down the slippery slope of self-parody. Not that this wine is anywhere near the slippery slope yet, I hasten to add. Anyway, nifty helicopters.

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