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New Vintage White from Alemany i Corrio: French Inspiration with a Catalan Soul

Alemany i Corrio “Principia Mathematica” (Penedès 2017) White
Special 6-pack Price: $140 (~$23/bottle)

Travel south and west down the coast of Spain from Barcelona past golden, powdery sand beaches before heading inland to the Massís del Garraf – a mountain range characterized by limestone outcrops and calcerous soils from which swells an impenetrable scrub of holly oak, strawberry tree, rosemary, gorse, butcher’s broom and dwarf fan palm. As the Massís del Garraf resolves into the gentle slopes of the Penedès Plain you’ve entered ancient wine country.

The most inland and mountainous subzone of the Spanish appellation of Penedès is appropriately named the Alt Penedès. This Mediterranean region is characterised by relatively low yield and high quality. It is where passionate wife-and-husband winemakers Irene Alemany and Laurent Corrio are producing a range of world-class wines. Their true “garage” winery is located in the center of Vilafranca del Penedès where they vinify by variety and batch. The couple, who met at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, apprenticed in vineyards in France and California before settling into the Penedès region in 1999 to start their own operation using Irene’s family vines. Today, the two are recognized as being among the top winemakers in all of Spain.

The 2017 vintage of “Principia Mathematica” is produced from 100% Xarel·lo (shah-REHL-loh), a grape indigenous to Penedès that most sparkling wine drinkers will recognize as the principal variety that makes up Cava. 55 year old Xarel·lo vines from plots in Subirats and Garraf see fermentation in new French oak barrels of 228 and 700 liters. A third of the wine is then aged for nine months in stainless steel on the yeast (sur lie) with the remaining two thirds aged in oak barrels with occasional stirring (battonage). The result is a wine of freshness and depth that fully expresses a Burgundian style of winemaking alongside high coastal Mediterranean terroir. Dried stone fruits and subtle floral aromatics exude from crisp and balanced juice finished by hints of citrus and hazelnuts.

The name and label art for the cuvée “Principia Mathematica” are taken from one of Irene and Laurent’s favorite albums by Àlex Torío, a Catalunyan singer-songwriter, theoretical physicist, and mathematics professor. The album title refers to the work “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica” published by Isaac Newton in 1687 and considered one of the most important works in the history of science.


 

The Physique of Saint-Émilion and the Soul of the Alt Penedès

 

Alemany i Corrio “Pas Curtei” (Penedès 2013) red
Special 6-pack Price: $135 (~$22/bottle)

A bold wine, “Pas Curtei” is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Carinyena, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 14 months in a mixture of one, two, and three-year old French oak barrels.

There are many interpretations for the term bold: big ripe fruit or crunchy young tannins to name just two. In any case, bold should not mean unbalanced. A wine that is bold should have the shoulders to pair with the burliest of cheeses and the most marbled hunks of red meat but it should not be cumbersome or tiring to your palate. “Pas Curtei” is bold and balanced.

In a glass the lush aromatics of the herbal maquis shrubland, licorice, cassis, and spicy cedar precede the wine’s deep structure and long finish. Full of sunny, ripe red and black fruits, its power and sumptuous body are balanced by a vein of acidity.

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Posted on 2019.02.21 in Penedes, Saturday Sips, Spain DO

 

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