After recently receiving the Geoffrey Roberts Award 2016 —a bursary for research in emerging wine regions—I spent a month travelling around Georgia, researching a new book for my Vinologue series. For those unfamiliar with the wines of Georgia, there are some rather unique varieties.
While 98 percent of Georgian wines are produced using similar methods to the Spanish, there is a small faction that employ an 8,000-year-old technique using large clay vessels, called kvevri, submerged in the ground. Although there is evidence of this method being used in Spain several thousand years ago, an interest in non-oak-barrel ageing has only recently been rekindled. This month, I present two Catalan wines crafted in this manner.
Sicus - Sons Monastrell 2013
Eduard Pié vinifies this wine with clay amphorae buried in his vineyard in the lower Penedès region. It shows wonderful complexity with floral notes sitting on top of dark fruits. This method takes a great deal of the rustic, rough edges off the Monastrell to produce a truly intricate wine. €40
Mas Martinet - Els Escurçons 2013
This has been an ongoing project by Sara Peréz, and while the 2012 was uneven, the 2013 vintage shows the fruit of her labours—a wine that has been aged between clay amphorae and glass demijohns. One hundred percent Grenache from a high altitude vineyard in Priorat, the red fruit notes of the grape are immediately apparent, but there is a good deal of lift and grace to the wine. Herbal notes come into play and the wine manages to stay light on the palate. €70
Miquel Hudin is a sommelier originally from California but now based in Barcelona. He founded the Vinologue series of wine books.