Earlier this month Josep Roca, sommelier and co-proprietor of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, the best restaurant in the world, led a seriously interesting tasting at the San Sebastián Gastronómika Congress. There were only three wines but with a dimension that goes far beyond mere colour, aroma and flavour, wines which “help one to think and to live” as Josep put it.
The first two wines were from Catalunya. Carinyana de Capmany 2012 from the bodega Arché Pagés in Empordá, made from vines which had suffered in a fire years ago and which imparted amazing smoky aromas. Then came Pau 2008 from the Proyecto Ilusión+del Priorat, made from vines which had been attacked by ELA (a deadly fungal disease). Kept going by its acidity, it was lacking body but interesting nonetheless for its unusual balance.
|Josep Roca with the ancient wine (foto:elmundo)|
The third wine was the really interesting one: 1805 Sherry from González Byass, bought by the González family in the same year as the battle of Trafalgar, before the foundation of the bodega. Only a very few arrobas of this wine remain at the La Cuadrada bodega in Jerez. Josep pointed out that the wine, from a half bottle and served in drops on the hand from tiny plastic bottles, showed that Jerez is so much more than piles of barres; it is capable of making “immortal” wines. He described this intensely concentrated wine as “salty tears dressed in copper with a prickle of iodine, a long gone spring, a duel between earth, time and wood, a wine which has eaten away at the old seasoned wood. It grips like a knife on the palate a sea fossil sprinkled with sunshine.” Unusual tasting notes, but I haven’t had the opportunity to try it myself!