Richard Gonzmart from 'The Columbia'

     Thursday April 21, 2005

Reservations Closed
Course Pairing / Description Wine

Manuel Sancho's 230-acre estate, "Finca Manlleu", is located on a prominent chalky knoll five miles south of Vilafranca del Penedès overlooking the hamlet of Sant Marçal. 155 acres are planted to Parellada, Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Chardonnay for white wines; Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds. The "Mont" provides 360-degree exposure, creating a wide variety of microclimates for maturation of the various varieties. In 1975, Manuel Sancho purchased a neglected 18th-century convent, converting it to a state-of-the-art winemaking facility and initiating the restructuring of the vineyards. Recent excavation has expanded the CAVA aging and bottling capacity, at the same time revealing medieval underground passageways in the chalk which have been carefully preserved for additional bottle storage. Intrinsic vineyard quality and careful handling of the grapes obtain a naturally-rich base wine in little need of dosage. Mont-Marçal Brut Reserva is produced from 33% each of the indigenous white grapes (Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel-lo), aged at least 24 months with the yeast, and disgorged on order for shipment. From the 2000 vintage, a new regional D.O. "Catalunya" was established to allow producers to source grapes from Catalán wine districts other than their own. Whereas Penedès offers the perfect conditions for white and sparkling wines, for example, the wine regions of Tarragona are ideally suited for spicy, rich red wines. Mont-Marçal introduced Mas Marçal Tinto utilizing grapes from D.O. Terra Alta: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Cariñena in combination. The result is a high-profile, versatile and full-bodied young red wine of excellent value.
Mont Marcal Rose

Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana, Sherry

Pale, crisp and very dry with a characteristic salty tang.
La Gitana Sherry

Lusco Albarino

Alejandro Fernández personifies the mercurial 20th-Century Spanish experience. A family breadwinner from the age of thirteen, he went on to learn several trades, beginning as a master carpenter. After military service he worked selling agricultural machinery but soon came to manufacture equipment of his own design, attaining national success with a revolutionary beet harvester. During all these years Alejandro harvested and made wine yearly from his own vineyards, nurturing a lifelong dream of establishing a bodega for the production of great red wines, following the traditions of his ancestors dating to Roman and Visigothic times.

Alejandro Fernández and his wife Esperanza Rivera, having created Tinto Pesquera and Condado de Haza in their native Ribera del Duero, looked farther afield in the Spring of 1998, purchasing this grand agricultural estate bordering the Guareña River in the province of Zamora, in the heart of one of Spain's earliest-recognized wine regions. Known during the entire 20th century as "La Granja Valdeguareña de los Moleros", the 1800-acre ranch had been devoted by the Moleros brothers to the breeding of highly regarded fighting bulls, still in operation at the time of purchase. However, from the 17th through 19th centuries the estate had been a regionally-dominant producer of wine, evidenced by 40,000 square feet of cellars hand-carved by 125 Corrida de Caballos / Running the Wild Horses at Dehesa la Granja laborers over 17 years. During that time the local wine producing area was known throughout Spain and Europe as Tierra del Vino (Land of Wine). Alejandro rapidly set to work reconverting the estate to wine production, with 525 acres of old-clone Tempranillo planted by late 2000. House and ranch compound were renovated and a modern winemaking facility installed, directly over the 17th- century cellars. Meanwhile, Alejandro discovered plots of ungrafted old Tempranillo vines in the Guareña River Valley which have formed the basis for concentrated red wines beginning with the 1998 harvest.
Dehesa La Granja

Founded in 1844, resituated in 1922 in the old electric plant of Aguilar de la Frontera. These superstar wines feature miniscule quantities of the finest sun-dried Pedro Ximénez with stocks in barrel going back to the 1930's. The wines are bottled on order, left untouched in their original maturation casks. A Spanish national treasure, maintained with fanatical integrity by current owner and descendent of the original founders, Sr. Antonio Sánchez.
Don PX