Club Little House - June 2017

Cerro Encinas – Bodegas Marenas (2015)

Grape Variety(s): Monastrell

Style: Dry Red

Region: Cordoba, Andalucia, Spain

Winemaker: José Miguel Márquez Soil: Albariza

Age of Vines: 20 yrs

José Miguel Márquez is on a mission to recover the old winemaking traditions of his native town Montilla in Cordoba. As an aficionado of everything natural, genuine, and authentic, he makes sure his vineyards and wines are treated with the same care and respect they deserve. Nothing but fermented juices extracted from the different varieties of grapes, without filtrations or additives of any type. Result being natural wines expressive of their land and climate.

As with most winemakers, his life revolves around each harvest but it’s the passion and dedication he lives them with that set José Miguel apart. It’s as if his wines were his children and each one of their personalities a product of that vintage. He’s actually named wines from certain vintages after his daughters or nephews. It’s no surprise that when he sold his first bottle of wine, he felt like he was shipping one of his kids off to boarding school. Although one of the youngest producers in the region, he is making some of the most exciting wines in the region and recovering other indigenous varieties like Montepila amongst many other projects that are in the works.

If this story sounds’re right. We told you about Marenas last month. We just can’t get enough of these wines and wanted to show off one of his reds. This Monastrell (also known as Mouvedre in other areas of the world) has a freshness and drinkability that is just begging for summer consumption! Pair with Grilled steak (or portabella) with Provencal spice rub and fennel with lemon and shaved parmesan.

Clar – Finca Parera (2015)

Grape Variety(s): Xarello/Chardonnay/Geewurztraminer

Style: Dry White

Region: Penedes, Spain

Finca Parera is located in the upper Penedes region, characterized by its calcareous clay soils. Rubén converted his family’s 10h estate from organic to biodynamic farming, continuing the natural process into the cellar while applying the same practice to their cherries, almonds, olives, and vegetables, obtaining the rather grueling Demeter certification on their first visit. He was born into a family of farmers but it wasn’t until he finished his viticultural and oenological studies that they started making wines of their own.

His 2015’s are simply fantastic. In a short period of time he’s evolved from making textbook wines to making wines of terruño, seeking drinkability without compromising depth and complexity. His entry level white, red, and rosé are super fun to drink while his 2014 acacia aged Xarello might be one of the most interesting expressions of the grape we’ve ever tasted. It’s the first wine he makes without adding SO2. I’d bet the same professors who told him it couldn’t be done would even take their hats off to this wine. Long live the diseducation of Ruben Parera!

“Clar” is a rather atypical blend of grapes. The reason for this is the farm used to only sell it’s grape (not make wine) and was paid more for international varieties like Chardonnay. They are in the process of converting the vineyard back to native varieties (like Xarello), but still have some lingering older vines that they incorporated into this wine. All that said, it’s awesome! A nice little stainless steel aged wine that is super versatile with food. Just hint of SO2 is used at bottling to retain optimal freshness.  Pair with Vietnamese spring rolls.