2013 Alta Alella Xtrem Organic Red, Catalonia
Like the whole range, the Xtrem reviewed her is Organic.
It is meant to be made in a modern style using French oak barrels, from Mataró (Monastrell) & Petite Sirah grapes.
J.M. Pujol-Busquets, owner and winemaker of AA gave it the following strapline:
“The rusticity of a slope overlooking the sea.”
Winemaking & Style Info
Grape bunches are hand-picked then destemmed and a selected grain by grain in the cellar. Maceration and fermentation in tanks take about 20 days in total before pressing. To avoid oxidation and loss of aromas the submerged cap technique is used together with the delestages done by gravity. This allows not to use any pump.
The caps are lightly pressed and the wine is put into French oak barrels where the malolactic fermentation takes place.
After 12 months of aging, the wine is bottled and aged for a minimum of 1 year in bottle before being realised.
The AA Xtrem is only produced in extreme vintages with very hot and dry summers when Mataro can express its most “rustic” features.
Appearance: The Wine is of a dark, an intense red color with a purple hue.
Like the color, the aromas on the nose are dominated by dark red fruits.
There’s a definite blackcurrant character (or is it blueberry? It’s actually both!!) that reminds of Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s complemented with blackberry, but also lifting confit citrus peel tones, like a lemon tart with meringue on top. For the depth, the nose feels mineral, with an irony feel one imagines comes from the famous local granitic Saulo soil.
The first impression on the palate feels light, rather refreshing and fruity with the dark berry notes dancing on your tongue vividly.
But the actual depth of the wine kicks in on the middle palate. Some earthy, irony characters are revealed, and the wine’s tannic density starts showing. Plenty of oak aromas betray that this wine must have spent time in a solid proportion of new French barrels. Which is a good thing as the tannins feel fine and dense, the oak tannins having coated the natural grippy personality of grape’s tannins being felt on the finnish.
Talking about the finish. For me, the actual quality of the wine shines on the finish. When I thought I had a good mental representation of it after spitting (yes I know, you’re a professional or you’re not!), flavors kept creeping on my palate and nose: vanilla, smoke, blackberry, cherry. And this for a solid 30 seconds or more, which doesn’t happen very often and is a marker of wine wine’s quality.
A very good wine in a rather modern style, but with plenty of depth and character.
It’s surprising, showing dichotomy between depth and density from the tannins and the oak, and liveliness provided by fresh fruit character.
The positive experience is helped by a relatively low alcohol that stays quite shy and keeps the experience on the fresh side (13% ‘only’ for this level of aromatic ripeness!)