Friday, July 25, 2014

Acustic Blanc from Spain

I talk a lot about shopping at Spec's, because there's a big one near my house, it has a great selection, and the prices are reasonable.  However, I am also a fan of Houston Wine Merchant.  I trust their selections, so every time I go, I look in the sale bins and try to pick up several bottles I know nothing about.  Acustic Blanc was one of those.  It comes from Spain, so you may want to keep the Spanish Wine Cheat Sheet handy for this review.

Knowing nothing about this wine, I did a little research.  It comes from Monsant, a very small region in the province of Tarragona, next to the more famous region of Priorat.  Monsant DO was formed in 2001 and is known more for red wines than whites.  Many of Monsant's grapes come from old vines.  Acustic Celler uses organic farming methods, though it is not yet certified organic, and is a well-respected producer in Monsant.

Acustic Blanc is blended from 60% white Garnacha, 25% Macabeu, 10% pink Garnacha, and 5% Pansal. Gerrard Seel Wine Merchant offers some technical details:  "The hand harvested grapes were given a two day skin maceration at cold temperature to extract as much flavour as possible from the skins. 30% of the wine was fermented and aged in new French oak barrels of low toast before blending with the tank fermented wine."

But how does it taste?

Color:  Medium yellow.
Nose:  Strong floral aromas (maybe orange blossom?), mineral, peach, and red apple.
Palate:  Medium body, high acid, with more citrus flavors than were apparent on the nose, crisp peach, and a bit of that savory quality on the finish which gives away the oak aging.  14% abv.

This is a well-crafted wine, but don't let it get too warm!  I let my glass sit out too long and noticed that as the wine warms up, the alcohol can become too apparent.  Alcohol always becomes more noticeable at warmer temperatures, but since this wine starts out at 14%, it needs to stay cold to keep that high alcohol content from taking center stage.

I could see Acustic Blanc pairing well with many types of food.  I happened to drink it with roasted lemon-pepper broccoli and baked fish with Chinese 5-spice and sesame oil, and it was very nice with both.  I'd recommend it with a wide variety of fish, chicken, or vegetarian dishes.  Because Monsant is near the Mediterranean coast of Spain, Acustic Blanc should complement Spanish dishes from the region (paella!) and other Mediterranean-style dishes -- think herbs and olive oil.

Acustic Blanc's $18 price tag is perfectly reasonable, but I'm still happy I got it on sale!

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