It’s back to Melbourne and dinner at MoVida, this time it was MoVida Aqui their newest creation, I will say little about the food as it does not need another review, except to say the truly great, innovative food they serve makes the good, taste average, if their Prawns; Gambas A La or Beef Cheek Carillera de buey were on any other restaurant menus they would be stand out dishes, but next to the Bocadillo de calamares; Calamari sandwich with Basque guindilla and mayonnaise they are transformed into the mediocre.
The wine was quite the revelation as to what can be found on the other side of the Pyrenees, the Spanish side. (If you look into my wine room you will only find wines from the French side of the Pyrenees and a growing collection from the other side of the Alp’s, Italy.) Now this is when one has to trust the wait staff as hopefully they have more knowledge than I do, (not hard when it comes to Spanish wine) and a good palate. We started with a white (Vino blanco) and were mulling over maybe another chardonnay as we had a very tasty drop at the Prince Alfred Hotel for lunch, but before any decisions were made our waitress suggested one of her favorites the 09 Maranones ‘Picarana’ Albillo Vinos de Madrid, Spain the grape is Albillo*, she even said if we don’t like it she will pay for it and take it home with her after work. Now that’s confidence in her own opinion or the best sales line I have heard for some time! The ever so slightly skeptical DB asked her “do you like Sauvignon Blanc” with the reply of “that’s Yucky” we ordered a bottle. It was no Sauvignon Blanc (there is a place for Sauvignon Blanc, but not at a restaurant) more in the style of a Southern Rhone with the addition of big alcohol 14% that helps the fruit come forward but not in that sweet overly apricot way. This has a long finish with hints of caramel and is great with the food more suited to a winters evening than a summer lunch, not cheap but well worth the $71.00. Jancis Robinson has a very good review**.
We were mulling over a red maybe something based around Grenache either from Spain, Southern Rhone, or the Barossa, when low and behold another waitress not shy with her opinion suggested something not on our radar an 08 el Wanderer Caranyena Emporda, Spain, never heard of this grape either, though Caranyena did turn out to be the Spanish name for Carignan which I have heard of and have only drunk a Chilean version which did not impress. This, like the white was a wine that again reminded us of the Southern Rhone, Châteauneuf du Pape region, with a similar style to a Grenache Syrah blend, good strong dark fruit with a dryness running over the top of it (stops that cherry bomb experience) nice tannins, good with food and a wine that needs a little time to see if it can pull out some surprises.
Some notes from the wine makers who are based in Oz!
El Wanderer is a single vineyard wine made from hundred year old bush vine Carinyena vines. Carinyena is the local Catalan word for Carignan, a red grape variety found along the Mediterranean rim that produces medium bodied fragrant wines of rustic charm.
The wine has been made according to The Wanderer’s minimalistic handling principles. The grapes were hand picked early in the morning. They were destemmed not crushed and left to soak cold for a week. Maceration of the fermentation was as soft as possible to preserve the fruit and build texture without the extraction of excessive tannin. At the completion of fermentation the wine was run into one year old French barriques and left on lees for one year until bottling.
So it seems that a longer look over the Pyrenees is a worthwhile endeavor. More on the similarities in the wines in a later post.