Spotlight on Spain: Finca Allende Calvario 2002

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Let’s speak of vintage. 2002 is considered by pretty much everyone in the wine world as a horrendous vintage for most of Europe. Lots of rain and snow and poor ripening along with plenty of rot ruined the crop for most vintners. But what, we might ask, is in a vintage? Time, history, climate, geography? Archaeological evidence suggests that the Romans started producing wine in Rioja thousands of years ago. The Moorish occupation of the Iberian peninsula did not put an end to production, and instead tolerated it. What did vintage mean to these peoples? What vintage can represent the diverse histories of a tradition?

The Christian reconquista of the 15th century saw the return of higher volume wine production in Spain, and Rioja. And the rest, well, that’s become the development of the modern industry in Spain. So, I ask again, what’s in a vintage? Can we think of it merely as the expression of the climate and geography of the few fleeting moments between dormant winter and fervent autumn? Or is vintage also history, ghost-like and ungraspable as it is?

Who’s to say, but this 2002 Calvario from the ‘new wave’ Finca Allende (started in 1995), spoke of wine making more than vintage, with dusty dark cherry notes and rich modern espresso. Hugh Johnson calls this wine “exuberantly fruity”, but he does not mention its density, which is formidable. The tannins give a masculinity to the cherry fruit and herbal finish. A difficult wine from a difficult time, inked in with little moments of pleasure.

Very Good
$70 at BCLDB, Marquis ($48 on sale)

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