Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dominio de Punctum, Temperanillo blend from Spain

There's always something heart-warming to me when I hear the tale of a person chasing their dream. Wine being my passion, what could possibly be more inspiring then, but a dream fueled by thoughts of a winery?

Enter the hero(s) of today's story: Jesus, Ruth and Maria-Cristina Fernandez of Dominio de Punctum organic/bio-dynamic estate and winery. Located only miles down the road from their traditional family estate on the plains of La Mancha, Spain, Jesus didn't always believe that he was destined to follow ancient family traditions. No, Jesus earned an MBA degree and worked for years in the finance sector. But, I'm told that we are all destined, more or less, to change career paths at least twice in our lifetimes.

Jesus chose his site with care, and the careful consideration that he and his family lavish upon their vineyards earned them the respectable Demeter Association certificate for bio-dynamic practices in 2005. If you are unfamiliar with bio-dynamic agriculture, please read about my local heros in British Columbia; the Cipes family at Summerhill winery in Kelowna ( ). In essence; this is a form of agriculture that celebrates a return to ancestral farming practices... it was only a few generations ago that farmers would rotate crops between fields to ensure that mineral-depletion in the soil was mitigated. These days? Farmers are taught to "impregnate" their earth with chemicals to enhance what was once natural. 

But I digress.

To me as a wine-writer, one of the greatest accomplishments that bio-dynamic farming facilitates is the ability to create true transparency in the glass (or bottle). And what do I mean by this? I mean that when the more educated palate tastes the bio-dynamic wine, they instantly get a sense of place. And when I say "educated" that doesn't necessarily mean book-educated... a man who has be drinking the wines of La Mancha for 50  years will certainly know the flavors of the region far better then I will, whether he has attended a wine class or not. He would taste the wine and it would taste of a certain region... a specific herbaceousness, or smokey characteristics, or coffee... you get the idea.

And these were the thoughts that pulsed as I tasted this little gem at under $15 CAD in the local! Fresh and friendly, with some true depth to it - I had no idea of the price until I did some research and was more then impressed.

2011 Dominio de Punctum, Tempranillo-Petit Verdot
$13.99, 90 Points
Renaissance Wine Merchants

varietals:  70% Tempranillo, 30% Petit Verdot 
vineyard:   single vineyard, 110 HA
altitude: 750 m
soil:   sandy-loam, rich in limestone'

  • visual:   clear; deep violet core with slightest cherry rim
  • nose:   clean; moderate+ youthful aromas of blackberry, black cherry, dusty earth, cherry blossoms
  • palate:   clean; dry; moderate+ red currant acids, moderate+ grippy tannins, moderate(-) body, moderate ABV (13.5%), moderately intense youthful palate mimicking the nose with emphasis on crisp red berry notes and a savory earthy background. Well balance, good structure, medium+ length
  • conclusion: does well with 30 minute to 60 minute decant, this wine is drinking well now and will for several years. Enjoy 2013-2015
  • FOOD PAIRINGS:  this really is a food wine. The tart acids may be daunting for the average North American consumer, but cosied up to a summer plate of cheese, bread and sausage - this will sing as wines under $15 rarely do. I personally enjoyed some as dessert with dark chocolate~! As a note, I had thought this was a very solid $20 wine my friend and colleague had sent me.

About 2 hours south of Madrid, half-way on the road to Valencia, you will find the vineyards of Dominio de Punctum. Here you can sneak a peak at a viticulture which, in many ways, is practiced as only the finest vineyards did 100 years ago. I say the finest because only great vineyards gift their wines with such love and attention, and until very, very recently - virtually no one practiced the old ways of farming. Not in the vineyard they didn't.

But we as wine-drinkers get to bear witness to this revolution. And, we get to fuel that revolution with our consumer dollars. We all are beginning to understand, in the most implicit ways, that the New Age style of farming, of living, simply does more harm then good. How brilliant then, that we have champions like the Fernandez family who will take on the work necessary to return us to something more sustainable. And when these business-people adopt modern techniques like installing a water-recycling plant (one of La Mancha's most pressing environmental issues) then we as a society are the better for it.

In a time when it seems that more and more choices are being taken away from us, this one is painfully simple and ridiculously easy. Vote with your dollars, and be the change you would see in the world.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.

CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

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