Summer Glou Glou from Australian's Most Exciting (?) Producer

 Glou Glou to the max.

Glou Glou to the max.

Ochota Barrels
"Texture Like Sun" Red/White Blend
Pinot Noir, Grenache, Merlot, Gewurztraminer
$35
Recommended but overpriced


First, in case you are curious what the hell Glou Glou is, check out Sprudge's explanation here.

Now, moving on. You may recall my revelatory review of Ochota Barrel's 2012 Syrah. I've been a big fan of their wines since and was thrilled to get another bottle in my Garagiste shipment last fall. Ochota Barrels inspires a dramatically wide range of impressions from the wine drinking world. Some herald Ochota's wines as the second coming, lauding them for blazing their own natural wine path in a heavily trodden and rather boring Australian wine scene (at least in terms of what is available to US consumers). Others see past the sexy branding and trendiness and proclaim that, across the board, the wines are overpriced and simplistic. I was firmly in the first camp until having this wine but after tasting this over 4-5 hours this evening, I think this quality can be found at wines half the $35 price tag. 

Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderful wine, one that I would happily drink gallons of on a warm summer evening... But it's not worth anywhere near $35. There is some mild complexity to it but it's mainly light, fruity, juicy, and chock full of acidity (leaning toward astringency), dominated by bright red fruits, some plumminess, and forest floor funk. Nearly electric on the palate. Grapes are destemmed but fermented whole berry and aged in stainless steel. It's relatable to Beaujolais, especially Beaujolais Nouveau, but I've had a lot of natural red wine blends from the Rhone Valley that are comparable at $15-20. Did I like it? Sure did. Would I buy it anywhere ever for $35? Nope. 

http://ochotabarrels.com/

 


 

Off the Beaten Track in Northwest Spain - 2013 Domaine del Urogallo 'La Fanfarria'

lafanfarriaredwine

Dominio del Urogallo 'la farfarría' Red Blend
Asturias, Spain
12.5% Alcohol
50% Mencia, 50% Albarín Tinto
$15

Recommended

There are a lot of places to buy wines these days and even more wines to choose from. The Walgreens near me sells over 100 bottles, almost all of which are drinkable but generally uninteresting, uninspiring, and excessively branded (e.g., the forgettable Cupcake Wines). Your best chance at finding super interesting and great value wines is to befriend the staff at your local wine shop. Unless they have a snobby predilection, they should help you figure out exactly what you like and respect the price point you'd like to explore. Your other option is to explore the world of wine online. There's no shortage of options here either but there's rarely anyone to guide you... that is unless you've already discovered the inimitable Jon Rimmerman. Jon somehow sells $30+ million worth of wine each year through his Garagiste email. He travels the globe to find wines that are offered few other places in the United States and focuses on terroir, character, and natural production. 

I'm confident in saying that no Walgreens in the world stocks this wine. There is little chance I would have gotten my hands on this bottle from Dominio del Urogallo if I hadn't ordered it from Garagiste. It's not like wines from the Asturias region in northwest Spain are commonly available in Chicago, or anywhere for that matter. Your more likely to find some tasty bottles of sidra asturiana.

The blending of Mencia grapes, often vibrant maroon in color, and Albarín Tinto, a dark grape that makes deeply colored wines, results in a beautiful violet color with bright edges. This benefited from sitting in the glass for 30 minutes. After only a few minutes, the aromas began to creep out of the glass and overflow, hitting my nose from 5 feet away; I could smell it from 5 feet away. Beautifully integrated with cool blue and red fruit dominating the wonderfully alluring nose. There are also notes of mild baking spices, floral, earth, and a hint of dustiness.  

The palate mimics much of the nose and the fruit continues to dominate. Ripe tannins, a pleasant juiciness, and a soft mouthfeel with medium to high acidity that carries through to a very long, well-balanced, and lively finish. This wine goes down incredibly easily and is very drinkable, but is also complex in its own right. I was drinking solo the night I opened it and, not feeling very ambitious, I plugged the bottle after a couple glasses and let it sit until the following day. I'm glad I did, because it was even better on day two. This is a trend I've noticed from Garagiste bottles; they rarely call it quits before day two or three. What's the logic and reasoning behind this? All I know is that it's a good thing. 

This bottle was one of the most unique red wines I've had from Spain, both because of the vineyards location in Asturias but also it's flavor profile. Though there are a growing number of exceptions to this, many Spanish red wines, especially cheaper ones, are still dominated by big fruit and American oak barrels, not exactly a prescription for terroir-focused wines. While the fruit here was plentiful, it was also complex and well-integrated, and combined with a pleasant earthiness and 12.5% alcohol, I only wish I had bought more.