A friend's Mayfair tasting is, quite simply, a "must attend" sort of event. In the course of a couple of hours one has the opportunity to taste an eye-opening collection of Spanish beauties, many from wineries of which one has never heard. At this year's event, these Sei Solo wines quite simply rocked my world.
(N.B. I am off to the region next month, but allocations have to be confirmed to the winery within the next few days, ergo I am offering these now.)
We're in La Horra here: the beating quality heart of the Ribera del Duero. And we're in the company of an erstwhile partner in one of the greatest names in the entire appellation: the mighty Aalto.
Since leaving Aalto to set up on his own, Javier Zaccagnini has built up and sold a white wine project and has, in parallel, developed a red wine brand based on the Tempranillo grape, here known as Tinto Fino.
And it is here in the Ribera del Duero that Tempranillo reaches its apogee of character and complexity. The best wines of the region - as here - combine big, assertive, slightly sauvage fruit with fine freshness and stunning balance. They are very much a product of their landscape: wild things of an almost blood-like density and pronounced minerality.
With bold food they make exciting drinking indeed!
N.B. These wines see no new oak and are aged in large oak casks: unusual for a region seemingly obsessed with small barriques. This could, in part, explain the superb refinement of these liquids.
2015 Preludio, Sei Solo
£108 in bond per 6 Drink 2018-24 (magnums available at £39 per one in bond)
Aromas are really very pretty, of fresh and domestic fruits - dark cherry and plum - adorned with a light floral scent. And it crosses the tongue cool and a touch creamy, showing dark fruit and a fresh, mineral core. This is one seamless package, hard to spit. A very long thing that becomes really juicy; in fact, it offers fabulous freshness from front to back. Just a stunning bottle of red wine.
2015 Sei Solo
£225 in bond per 6 Drink 2020-30
The floral aspect is immediately apparent here, prettifying that slightly chocolate-y nose that includes a tangy, citrus, orange note amongst the plums and cherries. This smells simply divine. In the mouth, the plush, velvet entry quickly attracts a core of assertive, crisp and firm acidity: a thread that winds its way along to the stunningly long finish. The tannins are bold, too, but subjugated to the dense, wonderful dark fruit. This has refinement, but character in spades. Superb.