Mediterranean Chic: a tasting of 11 wines from around the Med – a Texsom seminar

Wayne Belding and Christy Canterbury introduced this Texsom tasting, involving 11 diverse wines from various Mediterranean wine regions.

Christy and Wayne

To the ancients, the Mediterranean was ‘the sea’, Wayne explained. It has almost 1 million square miles of surface area and has an average depth of 4900 feet. There are more than 3000 islands, and the entry and exit point is the 9 mile wide straits of Gibraltar.

Christy added that there are 22 countries in the region and the coastline is huge. Here the African plate meets the Eurasian plate, so there are quite a few volcanoes in the mix. The idea behind this tasting was to take us on a wine tour around the Mediterranean.

Raventós i Blanc Brut Nature De La Finca Vinya dels Fossils 2018 Conca del Riu Anoia, Spain
60% Xarel.lo (1964 plantings), 25% Macabeu, 15% Parellada. Bright and focused with a lovely citrus drive showing purity and precision. There’s some mineral detail here with fine-grained structure. Really refined. 93/100

Château Simone Blanc 2018 Palette, Provence, France
Just 43 hectares in Palette, with three-quarters owned by Simone. Limestone soil, old vines of Clairette (80%) with some Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Ugni Blanc and Muscat. Aged for a year in foudres. Full golden colour. This has notes of peach, pear, toast and nuts. There’s a mineral twist here, with nice freshness. Combines richness, ripeness and bold texture with a nice mineral undercurrent, so it’s bold but still refreshing and has some ageing potential. Lovely depth to this wine. Honeysuckle and acacia, too. 93/100

Château Pradeaux Rosé 2022 Bandol, Provence, France
Mourvèdre and Cinsault from limestone/clay soils, fermented and aged in concrete and stainless steel. Full pink/orange colour. Rich, lush and quite delicious with a sweet core of peach and strawberry fruit with some ripe pear, too. There’s a hint of tea, with a bit of peppery structure. Has a touch of negroni, too. Lovely texture to this wine: it’s easy and joyful but has a serious side, too. 94/100

Fakin Wines Malvazijja 2021 Istria, Croatia
Malvazija Istarska, stainless steel. Fresh but fleshy with sweet pear and green apple, as well as a touch of table grape. Nice weight (but just 13% alcohol) with a rich texture. Crystalline structure with a hint of saltiness. Very expressive with good weight. 92/100

Rizman Tridibrag 2017 Dalmatia, Croatia
13.5% alcohol. Limestone soils, aged in older barrels, pH 3.7. This is Zinfandel, with a bit of Petit Verdot in the mix. Sweetly aromatic with hints of raisin and black tea, as well as sweet mulchy herbs. The palate is sweetly fruited but has a nice underpinning with grainy tannins and some earthy hints. Finishes dry and a bit of grippy, with good definition. Very appealing. 92/100

Gavalas Vilana 2021 Crete, Greece
12.5% alcohol. Vilana has large compact bunches. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Quite taut and fresh with a slight pithy edge to the lemony fruit, with some mandarin and lime oil, showing good acidity. Pure and fresh with a slight stoniness. Has a purity and presence: compact with a touch of mint. 91/100

Gaia Thalassitis 2021 Santorini, Greece
13.8% alcohol, pH 2.97. Assyrtiko. Bright, vivid and lively with sweet citrus fruit and a touch of green apple. Lively with nice acidity and weight, showing a mineral dimension. High-ish alcohol but very low pH. Has a lovely tapering finish. 93/100

Pasaeli Old Vines Karasakiz 2021 Agean, Turkey
13% alcohol. 35 year old bush vines. Aged in older French oak. Large-berried, late-ripening grape with good acidity. Pale red in colour, this has a lovely fresh red fruit character. Cranberry, red cherry and some nice acidity. Just enough structure: this reminds me of Cinsault. Such a lovely pure, fresh, sappy, drinkable wine. Finishes dry and a bit grippy. 93/100

Margalit Enigma 2018 Israel
14% alcohol. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot from Kadita Vineyard in Galilee and Binyamina Vineyard on the Coastal Plane. Aged in barrel, one-third new. Supple and fresh with some stony, mineral notes and some tea, with a savoury twist to the cherry, plum and berry fruit. Has a little development. Nice grip here: there’s plenty of tannin. Finishes spicy. 92/100

IXSIR Grande Reserve 2015 Lebanon
14% alcohol. From the Batroun district. Four vineyards, 950-1150 m, clay/limestone soils. A blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweetly aromatic with stewed berry fruits, a hint of raisin, and sleek cherry and plum fruit. The palate is concentrated and has a mineral, spicy underpinning to the ripe, lush fruit. Lovely sleek black fruits with dried herbs, a hint of mint, and some peppery detail. Warmth and depth here, and evolving nicely. 93/100

Gonzalez Byass Apostoles 30 Year Old Palo Cortado VORS Jerez, Spain
This is really the Atlantic, but so what, it’s amazing. Has a little Pedro Ximenez in the blend. Full brown/bronze colour with some gold hints. Highly aromatic with tar, raisin and spice, as well as some notes of old furniture and wax. The palate is just off-dry with complex spicy notes and some spice, raisin, tea and old wood notes. Lovely complexity and depth here. Very fine. 95/100

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