2011 Barahonda Barrica

Hello friends. First off, congrats to the many members of our list who are Seahawks fans, including a special shout to my childhood buddy Dan, who (inexplicably) grew up a Hawks fan despite being raised, like I was, in the suburbs of Philly. I have unfortunately been cursed with a lifelong love of the Eagles, so I know a thing or two about rooting for star-crossed franchises. But rooting for long-time losers only makes their eventual triumph that much sweeter, doesn’t it? Congrats, Seahawks fans; you deserved a game like that.

Now then, today we have a new vintage of a wine we first offered about a year ago, and one that turned into a surprise reorder hit as the year progressed. Today we return to Yecla:

This is a region with a two thousand year winegrowing history, and a transition zone between a coastal Mediterranean climate and an inland continental climate. Barahonda’s high-altitude (2300 ft) estate vineyards are substantially cooler than neighboring areas, and the soils here are limestone and chalk with clay and gravel subsoils. I can tell you that these are non-nutritive soils, low in organic materials, but this photo offers a clearer picture. It’s quite something to see those gnarly old head-trained vines growing straight out of that moonscape, and as you can imagine, this soil keeps the natural yields quite low and therefore the concentration quite high.

This is a 75/25 blend of Monastrell (Mourvedre) and Syrah from 46-48 year old vines, aged in barrel for just shy of one year. It has the Mourvedre whiff of the wild, a real sauvage character to the aromas of plum and grapefruit, game and silty mineral. My palate notes are all descriptive of texture, with words like dense, rich, intense, and palate-coating scattered across the page. The complex mix of purple fruit and mineral is outstanding for the tariff. It’s a bridge wine, ripe and polished enough to make you think new world, but with insistent enough earthiness to push you back to the old world. In other words, quintessential modern Spain.

Of course Barahonda is anything but modern. They’re among the oldest producers in Yecla, operating since 1925, and they have helped fuel the resurgent interest in this ancient winegrowing region. This is also one of the rare Spanish producers that Robert Parker reviews himself (instead of delegating to a minion).

Wine Advocate (Robert Parker): “($17); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

As a reminder, Patrick Mata runs Ole Imports, whose wines continue to dazzle in recent tastings. Our tight connection to Ole comes via John House, who handles west coast sales for Ole in addition to his Ovum project in the northwest. This connection allows us to pluck some of the best cherries from the Ole book, and to offer them at competitive prices.

The combination of price, prose, and score has made this wine more difficult to source, but we have a line on a nice parcel in western Washington. First come first served up to 24 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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