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Malvasia by any other name & sparkling Rioja?
Year 12, No. 08
Throughout Europe, the picking bins are being scrubbed one last time and the pruning shears being tossed in a drawer until next year. Yes, that collective sigh is making its way around the wineries as the 2022 harvest season largely draws to a close.
And what a strange year 2022 has been with ongoing, massive heat waves washing down upon pretty much all wine regions in Europe as well as North America. There were fears of brutal sugar levels and possibly a very crap vintage but it seems our wonderful friends the vines must have said, "Enough of this, I'm shutting down." and they just let their grapes hang in an overall chill state. I say this as while yields are down a little, it's by no means a wash out. We'll see where we get in the coming months once what is currently sugary juice becomes the wine it will be--the latter of which can't happen soon enough given the stank rising from a rather sloppy cellar nearby.
IN THE NEWS
I'm pleased to announce that we've just passed the third anniversary of Hudin.com (*). Many thanks to everyone who continues to be along on the ride and now there are even some new features and membership options. There's always more work happening on the site, but now we have nearly 6,000 tasting notes in the database as well as 1,300 articles.
This month it's all about the fascinating story of Malvasia de Sitges. You might have very well encountered this grape variety before under one of its many, many synonyms. But, along with this narrative journey, there's an extensive tasting report covering what is for me, one of the most exciting varieties to be on the up and up in the Penedès region of Catalunya.
FOOD THROUGH WINE
From there it's a cross-country trip to the other corner of Spain where I have a look at the great culinary scene in Córdoba that features some excellent dining, including this establishment that's far outside the historic center. If you have a future trip to Andalucía, you'll definitely want to take a look at this.
AND NOW THIS
Some of you might be aware that Rioja has a "single vineyard classifications" (if not, here's a quick review) but many don't know that Rioja also approved the production of sparkling wines under their auspices, something that was previously only done under the now ill-famed DO Cava. But... would it be possible to produce a single-vineyard sparkling wine? It most definitely would and it has come to be.
From some of the recent tastings, there were a good number of interesting wines that stood out and I wanted to draw attention to the series of La Nit de les Garnatxes from the Capçanes Cooperative in DO Montsant as well as a selection of very fine white wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape that probably don't get as much attention as they deserve.
I always feel that Portuguese wines don't get enough attention so I've also reviewed a selection of Ports from Quinta do Vallado (*) and then native variety wines from Herdade Barranco do Vale in the Algarve--a region that's thankfully getting known for more than just beach tourism.
We close this newsletter with a book review of "To Fall in Love, Drink This" by the always-polemic natural wine writer, Alice Feiring.
(Also, a small note that you may have noticed the format of the newsletter changed a great deal based upon feedback and interactions. Let us know what you think!)
Drink well, be well.
(*) articles are free to read