Highlights: Cas a Balaguer Salicornio Moscatel 2020 Alicante, Spain

Casa Balaguer-Vinessens is the winery responsible for this expressive skin-ferment Moscatel from Alicante in the south of Spain. It formed by the merger of Casa Balaguer (from natural winemaker Rafa Bernabé) and Vinessens (the project of Andrés Carull and Marta Ribera, who have been making the wines since 2017).

This is from La Mata Natural Park right next to the sea, with vines planted ungrafted on sandy soils. The proximity of the sea (50 m away) might explain the saline nature of this wine. It’s really salty, in a nice way. [Salicornio = samphire.]

In the winery, there are five days of cold maceration and then fermentation begins on the skins in concrete vats. Half way through, the wine is pressed and then fermentation finishes in concrete vats where a flor layer (velo) grows on top as it ages for a further five months.

Casa Balaguer Salicornio Moscatel 2020 Alicante, Spain
12.5% alcohol. Yellow/gold in colour, this is aromatic with waxy, floral citrus fruit with some ripe pear notes. The palate has a bit of tannic grip, and some lovely saltiness, as well as lemons, dried herbs (a touch of rosemary and lavender) and some lemon, orange peel and apple notes. It’s an intriguing and delicious wine with a dry, savoury finish. I really like the savoury, salty character here. 93/100 (UK agent Les Caves de Pyrene)

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com