Seal of Ap­proval

Prestige (Singapore) - - TALK -

re­tains abun­dant nat­u­ral acid­ity. It also means that the fruit ripens slower, build­ing up an arse­nal of aro­matic and flavour com­pounds while al­low­ing for tan­nic ripen­ing.

What else? Un­like the range of soil types through the south­ern Rhône, famed in par­tic­u­lar for the galets, or al­lu­vial white pud­ding stones of Châteauneuf du Pape, the Sierra de Gre­dos are largely made of granitic sand. Gran­ite is found in pro­pi­tious sites through­out the north­ern Rhône, which is Syrah ter­ri­tory, but sel­dom in the south of France. Th­ese soils al­low for drainage while ab­sorb­ing heat, a bal­anced coun­ter­point to the re­gion’s al­ti­tude and a vec­tor for op­ti­mal grape ripeness. There is also slate and schist, which though lack­ing nu­tri­ents do re­tain and re­fract heat, while quartz pro­vides a cool­ing ef­fect to the vines ir­re­spec­tive of air tem­per­a­ture.

And yet, de­spite th­ese virtues and the litany of gnarled, old vines that are scat­tered through­out the re­gion, the Sierra de Gre­dos is not well-known. This is more re­mark­able when one con­sid­ers the speed at which in­for­ma­tion is shared to­day.

The re­gion’s anonymity is due to a num­ber of fac­tors, chief among them a lack of wealth, which has meant wines were con­sumed lo­cally rather than sold to dis­tant markets. Things have changed, how­ever, and the re­gion’s wines are at last be­com­ing fash­ion­able, largely driven by West­ern som­me­liers ea­ger to share their new­found en­thu­si­asm with con­sumers.

After all, Gre­nache here is of a dif­fer­ent world and of­ten ethe­real, del­i­cate and dainty, its fruit more blue than black. In higher zones, the tang of red berries in­fuses the wines with an ef­fu­sive crunch. The acid­ity is higher, too, run­ning the scales across a skein of white pep­per to pro­vide fur­ther en­ergy. The tan­nins of the best wines, such as those noted be­low from Bodega Marañones, are de­tailed and sandy. More­over, the ma­jor­ity of wines spring from the glass — like Pinot Noir laid across a bed of vi­o­let and strewn herbs. What’s not to love?

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