Bodega Edetària tasting at Bodega de Alicia

A really enjoyable tasting at La Bodega de Alicia on Wednesday 25 January. There were several reasons. For one thing, it started bang on time and went along at a rollicking pace. So often such things start half an hour or so late and then meander along and take all night. Most importantly, of course, the wines from Edetària (not from the Valencia region, but DO Terra Alta as close as you can get in Catalonia’s southernmost province of Tarragona) were also direct and uncluttered – aiming to express the qualities of their bit of DO Terra Alta and their red and white garnacha. Finally, and this may be mumbo-jumbo, but I just felt very sensitive to the wine, and when I got home I checked the biodynamic calendar in “When Wine Tastes Best 2012“, and sure enough 25 January 2012 was a top winetasting “flower” day.

Joan Àngel Lliberia began the tasting with a fascinating bit of Roman history which gives the bodega its name. You can read it for yourself on the website. I’ll try to be as refreshingly brisk as the tasting. There weretwo whites and two reds. First up was Edetana Blanc 2010. Joan Àngel emphasised the wine’s fidelity to the bodega’s garnacha blanca, but I thought there was a lot going on in the glass. There is viognier and muscat à petits grains in with the garnach, and though just half the wine is placed in cask for only four months, there was a definite oak presence. The challenge in this Mediterranean climate is to get enough acidity, and that was there, coming in after an initial creaminess.

Next up we had Edetària Blanc 2009 (85% garnacha blanca, 15% macabeo) . This wine is barrel-fermented, a more intense version of the first wine, more sumptuosly creamy, but matched with a bracing minerality. Joan Àngel emphasized throughout that his wines were made to work with food, to clean the palate and to have your mouth asking for more of both.

If last Monday’s tasting of Spanish white wines focused on archetypes, these two white wines were more about specific vineyards and the bodega’s desire to communicate its distinctive personality and, of course, that of garnacha blanca.

The first red was Edetana Negre 2009 (garnacha, cariñena, garnacha peluda ["hairy garnacha] and ull de llebre – aka tempranillo). This wine was also presented as being straightforward, and it was certainly fresh and full of fruit, but again it had a mineral backbone. There were plenty of tannins, as my furred-feeling teeth told. The wine will soften further in bottle, biut it is already delicious – approachable but at the same time serious.

The last wine was the red Edetària 2008 (garnacha peluda, syrah, cariñena and cabernet sauvignon), and was a sumptuously powerful wine that at the same time offered elegance and freshness.

It was great to be able to nip up to the centre of town and pop into such an enjoyable, and free, tasting. I’ll certainly be spending some money on getting hold of these wines again, though.