My apologies to Monty Python and my readers for the title. I couldn't resist. The reason for it is that I'm writing about a wine that is really far off the radar of most wine drinkers, which we have open this weekend for our Rare and Obscure Wine Tasting. It's from a small island called Mallorca, which is off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean. This is the kind of wine that just feels right. This producer is one of a few who have been working to restore the wine industry of this island, which has been decimated over the past few generations by phylloxera (vine-destroying louse), followed by the effects of World War II and a civil war. This place whose vinous history was so prominent so long ago as to have been written about in the first century by the beverage aficionado Pliny the Elder (a big name in the beer world as well as the wine world of that time). Only in recent decades has this rebuilding effort been taking place. It's something that I always like to see when the world is in danger of losing some interesting, little known grape varieties that do so much to boost the diversity of the wine world.? So, the wine at hand is from the producer Anima Negra, and is comprised of 65% Callet, 20% Mantonegre and Fogoneu, and 15% Syrah. ÀN/2 is the name of the wine, being the little brother of the more serious, ageworthy ÀN. This "little brother" is still made from vines of a minimum age of 50 years, which is quite old as wine-producing grapevines go. As the back label tells us, it is dry-farmed, hand-harvested, and fermented entirely with native yeasts. As great as all of this sounds, it doesn't mean much if the wine doesn't taste good, right? Well, this wine is delightful. Here's my take:
2009 ÀN/2($24.99): What a nose this wine has! Interwoven aromas of red cherry, black cherry, plum, cedar, cocoa powder, and mint are accented by hints of leather and tarragon. On the palate, there is all of that complexity and wonderful balance, with a structure that gives a serious yet approachable mouthfeel. The components from the nose are joined by a little smoke and char. This is a really nice wine. It has the polish of a really well-made wine and the distinction of something truly unique.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed reading about this fun wine. I am always looking for something different that will expand my horizons and those of a few brave customers. We have several nice and interesting wines in this tasting lineup, but to me, this one is the standout. Thanks for your interest. I'd love it if you would take a minute to leave a comment with the most different/interesting/obscure wine you can remember having, and whether or not you liked it. It doesn't even have to be as obscure as this one; maybe there's a category you hadn't tried until recently that broadened your horizons. With everyone's differing levels of experience, that could be anything from Malbec to Vin Jaune. - April 2012