Each and every time I travel to Spain, I’m thrilled to absorb new textures, both visual and palatable, new flavors, and new life-long relationships . On this most recent trip, I rekindled my friendship with Fabio Bartolomei, one of Spain’s most ardent natural winemakers. I had been sipping Bodegas Ponce wines for years and have always wanted to tread the vineyards of Juan Antonio in Manchuela (eastern Spain). That finally happened on this visit and it was better than I ever could have imagined. To top it off, I had an unexpected visit to Clot de les Solares; sparkling wines from the northeast that dare to exist and do, amongst the world’s best, natural pet nats. What’s more, Ponce and Clot de les Solares wines are finally here in Minneapolis!
CLOT DE LES SOLERES MACABEU SPARKLING 2015
I came upon Carles’s wines by chance, hearing of his crazy nature with frizzante wines that he ages in his 19th century cellar before release. As we walked his vineyard, I felt something special on the fringes of his quiet hamlet outside the village of Piera. Here, Carles is going against the grain, holding back wines until their sparkle is just right and bottling them without sulphur additions. This wine from the Macabeu grape is calm, brilliant, and chug-worthy with essences of pear flesh, white gummy bears and white grapes. Approx. 300 cases produced.
BODEGAS PONCE LAS CANADAS ROSE 2018
Juan Antonio Ponce has been refining his wines from Bobal (& a handful of other autochthonous grape varietals) for well over a decade. Playing around with wine before his 16th birthday, he knew a vocation in the fields and bodega was his destiny. This rosé is made from the Bobal grape peppered with a little Albilla, a local white grape of no relation to Albillo. This was the old method of making rosé, adding a little white and red together. Las Cañadas is stern and solid – perfect for late summer/early fall, with or without food. I’d love it in front of the tele or with a fresh pasta dish that included spring onions, eggplant, and heirloom tomatoes!
VINOS AMBIZ DORIS (CHASSELAS) 2018
Fabio Bartolomei relocated from Scotland to Spain and has never permanently returned, for the Spanish countryside is too powerful and the ability to make wine from century-old vines, too addicting. When I met Fabio in 2013, he was well on his way to making some of Spain’s best wine and way ahead of the curve: he was making wine without much temperature control, basically sans soufre (no sulphur), experimenting with clay and much skin contact. He also had a deep appreciation for local varietals including Malvar, Albillo, and this little wonder Chasselas, which Spaniards call Doré or Arbillo. We have no idea how it arrived in Spain but the results in the right hands are mesmerizing. Stainless steel keeps the wine clean as a whistle yet a couple days on the skins delivers just the right amount of sheen & funk. This chimes in at 10.5% and is as contemplative as it is slaking. Less than 125 cases produced.
Originally aired Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 on the Morning Show with Emily Reese.