No matter how old you get, you never seem to get over the back-to-school feeling that comes with September. In a way it’s almost more of a fresh start, or a clean slate, than January 1st. After the summer break you feel ready –theoretically – to seize the day, to make this year bigger and better and more successful than ever. At least, that’s as much as any of us can hope for.
Still, it’s also the start of the wine season when the jóvenes from last year's harvest are released and the crianzas and reservas from previous years reach maturation. 2008 was a good year for Catalunya generally, though it was classified as “very good” for regions further north like Rioja and Navarra, but you can get an overview of what’s new locally at the annual Mostra de Vins y Caves de Catalunya (www.mostradevinsycaves.com) at Maremagnum over four days starting on September 24th 2009.
In the meantime I’d like to highlight a bottle from a small production winery I had at a tasting earlier in the year that focused specifically on Spanish wines for under €10, and which, to a large extent, inspired this blog. The one that we all raved about was the Novellum 2005, Toro made using ancient Tinto de Toro vines (a regional variant of the better-known Tempranillo), some of which are reported to pre-date phyloxera.
What it reminded me of was standing in my grandmother’s kitchen in Sussex as a university student, at about this time of year, making blackberry jam. Dark purple with pretty violet halos, this wine is bursting with fruit, juicy and a little sweet with nuances of vanilla from the oak, yet it isn’t overpowering or remotely heavy. It would do just as well with roast chicken as beef say, for lunch or for dinner, but it’s also something you could easily quaff at a party.
So here’s to September. Salut!