Producer: Bodegas Quinta da Muradella
Title: Alanda, 2016
Grape: Mencia, Bastardo, Garnacha Tintorera, Dona Blanca
Location: Spain, Galicia, Monterrei
Monterrei is an area within Galicia in northwestern Spain. Within Galicia, it is one of the regions furthest from the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the rain shadow effect produced by the Sierra de Larouca mountain range, the region receives less rainfall, and has hot & dry summers and cold & dry winters. The Tamega River (a tributary of the Douro) is essential to the area as most vineyards are planted in the river valleys along the Tamega.
The long history of this region takes us back to gold-mining with the Romans. Mineral exploitation was of great importance then (just as it is now) and the Romans conquered the tenacious people of the
Asturias (albeit with some difficulty) in 25 BCE. As they began mining for gold, they also planted vineyards to supply their endless thirst for wine.
At Quinta da Muradella, winemaker and proprietor Jose Luis
Mateo has done excellent work recuperating old vineyards, and works with varieties that are connected to the region’s long winemaking history. All his vineyards are organic and the wines undergo fermentation is with indigenous yeasts. This is essential to
maintaining the grape’s freshness of flavor as well as the essential personality of the vineyard’s terroir. The wine is then aged for 14 months in 2-year old French oak barrels. It is best paired with grilled or roasted red meats, as well as game animals like rabbit, venison or pheasant.
Producer: Forlorn Hope
Title: Nacre, 2014
Location: USA, California, Napa Valley
What makes art interesting is that it holds many possibilities of interpretation within its singularity. As one revisits a loved painting or a piece of music, for example, new feelings and responses emerge because the work can be experienced differently over time. Matthew Rorick is an eclectic winemaker who started Forlorn Hope in 2005 and often works with varietals not commonly grown in California. To create wines that express the possibilities of the land, one must give great attention to the combination of soil type, climate/site and variety so that wines can be created requiring no adjustments, additions or manipulations in the winery during fermentation. The Forlorn Hope “Nacre” comes from 80+ year-old vines, spends18 months in a barrel, and then 2 years in the bottle (unfined & unfiltered) before being released. The Semillon varietal reveals itself anew with each passing vintage. There can be a purity and vivacious expression of fruit in youth, that evolves into a wealth of aromas and rich flesh as the wine ages.
Nacre refers to the hard pearly inner layer of certain mollusk shells, also called mother-of-pearl. It takes thousands of microscopic layers of nacre to build up in order to form a pearl. Nacre is what gives the pearl its lustre. As light interacts with a pearl, it penetrates through each crystalline layer of nacre, which in turn refracts the light, breaking it up as it is sent back to the surface. This is what makes a pearl so unique and valuable as a gemstone.