To a new vintage
Year 13, No. 18
My apologies to those in the north (to which this is definitely not news), but here in the south of Europe, we have indeed arrived to winter.
There’s frost on the ground and the snip of pruning shears has started. The most eager are out cutting back the vines, despite the leaves still not fully having fallen. Surely the plants are now as dormant as my inbox suddenly became this week?
Admittedly, winter in Spain officially starts not with the vine pruning (of which there are thousands of theories as to when the ‘best’ time is), but when you finally turn on the heating. Due to this, many days I find myself cursing at the clouds that often hang over the Catalan Litoral Range, blocking the sun from my solar panels that largely power the heat pump. If I were to step out of my body, I’d be seeing myself slipping into a “Man yells at cloud” Grandpa Simpson state of existence far too early in life.
We’re in that last stretch of gift giving and if scratching your head for someone on your list who enjoys wine, have a look at the Wine Book Reviews as well as Wine on Film to get some potential ideas. We also have several gift guides for some extra ideas.
And of course, you can give the gift of a Hudin.com subscription. To use it, when arriving to the check out there’s a new function to put in the email of your well-chosen gift recipient. Please contact us if you have any issues as it was just introduced a few months back.
As you’ve probably heard from just about any newsletter you’re subscribed to, this will be the last posting for the year. Taking off a bit of time to recharge the word juice is always a bit needed in case the cloud angst wasn’t sufficient proof.
What to drink during these days of relaxation in a winter sun?
In case you missed it, there’s the Top 100 List for 2023 (*) that offers up some quite stellar selections.
I’ll be happily opening a great number of reds given the cold weather that’s now upon us. They’re admittedly not as much fun to drink in the 40C+ weather that Spain has been presenting as of late so it’s time to take advantage of our ever-slimming wintertime.
There are surely some bottles from Sandra Bravo’s Sierra de Toloño in Rioja hiding away in the cellar and waiting for their day to shine as well.
Or then, bubbles as it is the festive season and Torelló’s Gran Torelló as well as Recaredo’s Turó d’en Mota are both potential options as they were brilliant gems in the extensive, sparkling report for Catalunya this year.
In closing out the year however, we look to… the latest news?
One of the largest items is that Mike Grgich died this month at the age of 100, which was interestingly, one of his life goals (probably the biggest one I’d assume), so well done sir. But it reminded me that I did a focused interview with him back in 2008 when researching a book on the wines of Dalmatia. While the book had a few of his quotes, here I’ve run it in a bit fuller version (*) as he talks about his Croatian wine project and how it came to be after so many years being very successful in Napa Valley.
Also in the news, the Catalans have heavily expanded their single-vineyard wine classifications under the Vi de Finca auspices (*). And then in what is bigger, excellent news for writers as much as wine book readers, the Académie du Vin Library bought the assets (*) of the Classic Wine Library.
I’d just like to mention in passing that sharing a bit of space with the ‘adventurous’ Cul de Cuvée headquarters (or Têtequarters as they’ve decided to ‘cleverly’ call themselves) can be a touch trying although we’ve generally made it work because our in-house barista is seriously top flight. (**)
I must say though, that the office parties have gotten out of hand and maybe the lubed baby alligator wrestling, edible-induced cake decorating, and python shots would be fine on their own, but in one hedonistic orgy, it’s a touch much.
We’ll see where things are headed, but definitely keep an eye out on this front.
Best wishes for the holidays and seeing the New Year in as fine a form as you possible can!
(*) Free to read (**) If only. There’s a self-service kettle in a corner of the kitchen alongside a reliable yet not fancy espresso machine.
And Now This
If looking for a fun film to watch with wine at its core, do check out La Dégustation (*) as while originally French, it appears to be available internationally now.
Have a view of the entire portfolio of Marqués de Griñón from the center of Spain.
Or look to these more playful wines from DO Somontano in Aragón by Paso Primero.
From the upper reaches of València, here’s a look at the wines from Hispano Suizas who produce some of the highest-altitude Cavas in addition to a great number of local-variety still wines.
If in the mood for some Gran Reservas from Rioja, check out these from Bodegas Alvia.
And lastly, if interested in some still wines from the Penedès region, the folks at Mastinell (owners of the quite fine hotel in Vilafranca) are doing some fine work.
Drink well, be well!