MCF Rare Wine
Anna Espelt's Glorious Catalan Purity
The beautiful Pla de Gates Blanco and Negre of Anna Espelt were some of our favorite wines on the shelf last year, so I was very excited to meet her at the Bowler tasting last month.
It offered me the chance to taste her new wines, but, more importantly, I allowed me to tell her just how much we loved what she's doing.
Let me just say that she's both a wonderful winemaker and a wonderful person, and. like nearly all of the producers we sell, she cares deeply about her wines and the land they come from.
Anna got her start at her family's estate in the Empordá DO of Cataluyna, called Espelt Viticoltores, in 2005, but while hiking around the Cap de Creus Nature Reserve, she recognized not only its natural beauty, but the potential for reviving some of the ailing vineyard sites. She also realized that there's evidence of humans being there since the Bronze Age, so she knew that it was an extra level of special.
She now has 25 hectares of vineyards known collectively as Mas Marés and, in her words describes them as 'a land of granite, wind, blue skies and the smell of wild herbs and sea spray'.
Dunno about you, but, to me, that sounds pretty much like a viticoltore's paradise...or even just plain paradise for that matter...
But anyway, all the evidence that you need to realize that it is, in fact, winemaking paradise, sits in the bottles of these three stunningly engaging wines.
First, we have the Pla de Gates Blanc 2021, which is 100% Lledoner Roig & Blanc...Catalan for Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc. Situated close to the sea in the Mas Marés, the constant briny winds result in smaller bunches and smaller berries, thicker skins and, most importantly, higher acidity.
The resulting wine is floral, pure and beautifully textured, with a perfectly granitic/briny nuance lurking throughout.
The corresponding red, the Pla de Gates Negre 2019, is made entirely of Lledoner (Grenache), and in that 'New Spain' style of medium weight, supple texture and maximum purity. It's bright red, juicy, balanced, mineral and just so elegant and delightful. The herbaceous character of its home terroir shines through beautifully.
Finally, the Pla de Tudela 2020, her top wine, is made from the Picapolla grape, which is not to be confused with Southern France's Picpoul. It's actually a local grape linked to Clairette, that's prized for its ability to retain bracing acidity in warmer climates. And bracing acidity, a dense stoniness and wonderful briny/spicy nuance is what this utterly gorgeous wine is all about.
Think of a sternly mineral, salty white from Santorini, but then dial up the texture and add a touch of the floral, and you've got a pretty good idea. I can't wait to see how this one ages, too!
Cool wines, from a cool lady, who does cool things in a cool place...
Pla de Gates Blanc 2021
Pla de Gates Negre 2019
Pla de Tudela 2020
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MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10011
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