Okay so I should be studying for my wine exam next week, but Spain triumphing in the World Cup in South Africa last night reminded me of a long overdue post that I needed to write.
This post is a tribute the fantastic wines of La Bascula, made by Bruce Jack and Ed Adams. Bruce is a winemaker who I adore, and have been lucky enough to spend time with in his guise of Chief Winemaker of Flagstone and Fish Hoek wines. He is a truly fascinating man, a fountain of knowledge (on everything from sociology and Malcolm Gladwell musings to Eurythmy schooling) and an utter gent.
He is extremely well respected internationally for his winemaking skills and above all is a man who exudes passion – he’s been known to sing to his vines – whatever he does it works!
Flagstone is a range of beautiful South African wines and is clearly his baby (Music Room is my personally fav) but I’ve recently discovered there is more to Bruce than South Africa. The man harbours a secret love of Spain, and for someone as passionate and full of life as him -I guess it should come as no surprise.
I am a huge fan of Spain and Spanish wines but have really felt like La Bascula has taken me on a journey outside of the typical DOs such as Rioja and Ribera del Duero to discover a little more of Spain. I’ve enjoyed wines like La Bascula Turret Fields from D.O. Jumilla and La Bacula The Gauntlet from D.O. Yecla and really appreciated the beauty of indigenous varieties like, barrel fermented Viura in La Bascula The Charge.
La Bascula is so named because of the intrinsic balance between indigenous Spanish varieties and modern winemaking, and I guess, as a metaphor for relationship that exists between the two partners – the dynamic duo that is Ed and Bruce. The philosophy is about small volumes, high quality and wines that have a real sense of place.
And in typical Bruce style each wine has its own little story; here are a couple I’ve tried:
La Bascula The Charge 2007 Barrel Fermented Viura, D.O.C. Rioja
I’m not usually a fan of white Rioja, so many can be over enthusiastically oaked and dull, this beauty, however, is a lemon, citrus fruit bomb with mouth wateringly refreshing acidity which is balanced by a rich buttery texture and just the right measure of oak.
La Bascula Turret Fields 2006 Monastrell and Syrah D.O. Jumilla
A powerfully fragrant wine with lashings of soft blackberry fruit, spice and leather with a touch of vanilla.
From Jumilla which I now know is the located a little inland from Alicante and next to Yecla, another new discovery for me. The wine is a blend of low yielding native Monastrell and Syrah. The name Turret Fields – comes from the turret of Castle Madax which dominates the vineyard.
Casta Diva Moscatel 2008 D.O. Alicante
I’m a sucker for a good dessert wine and this is gorgeous. It is has a golden, almost orange hue, with extraordinary body and wonderful complexity. High levels of residual sugar (148g/l) are balanced by high acidity and a lovely long finish that allows luscious orange peel, peach, honey and spice flavours to linger.
This sweet wine is made from partially dried Moscatel grapes, dried passito style on straw mats after picking to concentrate the grape sugars and flavours, which are aged in a variety of barrels including some Hungarian and Caucasian oak to help create the complexity of flavours.
I arrived back in Madrid, Spain last weekend after four long months away. I’ve collected a lot of stories on my travels