Wine has an amazing unifying nature. The sociological aspects ae fascinating as different peoples come to appreciate the history and growing conditions of a wine. The English speaking peoples – England and America love Spanish wine, nowadays. The more broad-minded French and Italians would accept that Spanish wines can be exceptionally good. And what about the Asians and Spanish wine? On a very basic level, if one can like the taste of a wine from o foreign country and can associate it with something familiar within one’s own (and different) culture, then the connection has been made.
Our good friend, Label-Kay gifted SWMBO and I a bottle of 2007 Scala Dei ‘Cartoixa’ Priorat. I didn’t really believe her when she said “I don’t really know what it’s like”, as she is a lady of impeccable taste, and knows wine like the back of her hand. Priorat is one of those ancient Spanish regions with a history of superior wine, lost, but regained. Dry and dry-grown bush vines, some quite venerable. Tiny yields and intensity and quality. The best wines incredibly black and concentrated, but modern winemaking has tried to make them more accessible. This wine was Garnacha, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, so a bit of old and a bit of new. Scala Dei, a respected producer making its way in the new world order.
SWMBO and I opened it with our Asian family. “Chen Pi Mei” was the phrase. Chinese preserved plums was the flavour that we all recognised. Europeans would say ‘Dutch Liquoice’. We all loved the wine and it brought back childhood memories of eating these Chinese sweets. And thoughts turned to the wine. How could this Spanish wine be so Chinese? The wine was black as black and pretty sturdy with depth and concentration. But the tannins were ripe and smooth, if not substantial. Masses of liquorice and plum flavours evened it all out. And the 15.0% alcohol? Barely noticeable.