Altaroses DO 2011
After reviewing and greatly enjoying the A Portella – (a 100% Mencia grape from Spain) I was intrigued by the Altaroses which was suggested to me by the wonderful folks at my East Nashville B&M. The Altaroses comes from the region of Catalonia which is in the far Northeastern corridor of the country, due West of Barcelona and just north of the Balearic Sea. This is the region where many Spaniards can be heard speaking with a Castilian lisp, which – as rumors have it – is a cause of a former king who spoke with a lisp, which inspired those he lead to do the same as to not make him feel inferior or as if he had an actual speech impediment. Ok, the history lesson is over.
Even through the region is very Mediterranean by location, it has dry summers and about 25 inches of rainfall annually. The soils are known to be very rocky with high levels of clay, all elements which are sure to affect the terrior in this bottle. Also, being 100% Grenache (or Granatxa in the old tongue) rather than a blended wine, this bottle is sure to have some awesome and unexpected characteristics. Altaroses is also an uncertified biodynamic wine which means that the growing process is an organic method that has an emphasis on the soil, plants, and animals all working in harmony with one another. Enough dilly dally, let’s open this guy up and start this journey.
I am again excited to try a bottle of 100% Grenache from Spain. Most Spanish wines typically blend a number of grapes, but I’ve had some fantastic bottles recently that were 100% of a certain grape and I’m highly anticipating the Altaroses.
The bottle has a crimson, yet atypically shorter foil around the cork. The label is an off-white with the same crimson font and border. Once I corked the bottle, I noted that the cork wasn’t even saturated, but that the inside cap of the cork has a deep purple and slightly brown tint to it. Are there going to be some rich fruit, soil, and wood in the profile of this wine? Let’s find out.
Upon opening the bottle, the first few whiffs were big and exciting. Hints of rose petals were present right off the bat. Rich cherry and dry saw dust were also present. I’m certain this is going to be a delightfully complex wine. A few big swirls of the glass later the aroma hadn’t changed much, so I decided to get right to the fun part.
As alluded to by the aroma, the first few (and big) sips were big, rose petal floral flavors, fruity, rocky (slightly chalky), earthy, mildly dry, and sensibly spicy. Despite its complexity, the Altaroses is extremely smooth in the mouth and only slightly dry and spicy on the finish. Each sip created a drinking experience that requires a lot of attention to all of the perfectly balanced details. Ensuing sips, although I knew what was going on in regards to the flavor, were surprising each time. The bigger the sip, the better sense of the intricacy of flavors this wine offers.
The second glass was equally delightful, never knowing what flavors were awaiting ready to dazzle you with its harmony and surprise you with its brilliance. It’s like Doug Flutie dropping back for his Hail Mary pass for Boston College in 1984. Where is the ball going to end up? Will they win the game? Touchdown, Boston College! It’s like watching David (Big Pappi) Ortiz at bat in the bottom of the ninth in a deciding game 7 for the Red Sox. You know the pitch is coming, you see the swing, and….back, back, back, gone! Homerun! Such anticipation and ensuing excitement. P.S. We love you, Boston!
Intense, unexpected, but with captivating results. Altaroses is everything a good, red wine should be. It’s big, intricate, surprising, and easy to drink.
If you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this bottle. Each smell and sip was a truly great experience and at around $15 per bottle, I’d encourage you to pick up a few bottles. Each one is sure to be a treat. This wine could be chilled for just a few minutes and enjoyed outside on a nice spring or summer day with a bowl of fresh berries and some slices of sharp cheddar.