Ben Franks: Corkage Bath’s Spanish Wine Tasting Evening with Ed Adams MW
If you love wine and you haven’t been to Corkage yet you might start wondering whether you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the last couple of months. This exciting new independent wine shop-come-wine-bar at the top of Walcot Street is full of character and charm, a wine list good enough to keep any wine lover smiling, and a head chef with one of the best tastes in the city.
Yesterday, on 11 February, Ed Adams MW, Bath’s local and best Spanish wine specialist, hosted a tasting of Bascula Spanish wines at Corkage. Having not met Ed before and already being in love with Corkage’s appeal after dinner the previous week, I was curious and enticed to go.
What was thoroughly enjoyable about Corkage as hosts is the inherently social atmosphere. The bar was lively, the place was crammed and the drinks were flowing. It’s the perfect concoction to meet new people and have a really good conversation about wine – whatever level of knowledge you may have.
We began with Catalan Eagle Organic Garnacha Blanca & Viognier 2015 from the North East region of Terra Alta. This was crisp, dry and had a surprisingly long finish with notes of peach and citrus. Richard Knighting, Corkage’s co-founder and head chef, paired it brilliantly with a creamy lime-infused crab small dish. Delightful.
Heights of the Charge Verdeho & Viura 2014 from Rueda was the second and final white wine, which had all the hallmarks of classic white Rioja but felt more integrated and rounded. Notes of buttery cream, papaya and pineapple with a nice helping of acidity made it moreish, although not quite at the same level as Catalan Eagle for me. Nonetheless a tasty, different wine that’s a great talking point.
The reds included a Rioja, The Charge Tempranillo & Garnacha 2013, and a Jumilla, Turret Fields Monastrell & Syrah 2013. The former was a little drying and coarse but when paired with salty foods all that brilliant fruit and vanilla came through and made a delightful match. The Rioja Tempranillo is therefore a great pairing with cured hams and other meats. The latter Monastrell dominant red was full bodied with intriguing aniseed notes, yet rounded with those complex earthy and spice characteristics from the touch of Syrah. Some great blackberry fruit and a long length, it’s a wine I would certainly visit again – in fact, it would be a great wine with chorizo.
However neither of those reds stood up to the brilliance of the No Stone Unturned Organic Old Vine Garnacha & Carinena (Carignan) 2013. Wow this wine, which has had some time in French oak, was brimming with slate minerality and a gorgeous level of blackberry and strawberry fruit. Lots of warming alcohol brought things to the forefront and the acidity elevated it to a whole new level. Very good, especially with food.
If there’s one thing an MW does well it’s ending on a high. With all the wine lovers in the room merry, Ed Adams introduced his final keynote wine – the Casta Diva Moscatel “Cosecha Miel” 2013 from Alicante. This Moscatel had those recognisable perfumed floral notes on the nose with a touch of orange, pear drop and honey, but on the palette it was so fresh that it was unlike any sweet wine I’ve previously tried. Lots of acidity, yet medium bodied and warming, the wine felt impeccably balanced. The vineyard where the fruit is grown is surrounded by orange groves and you can taste their influence in the wine. For me, this is a proper dessert wine. Characterful, bright and so quaffable – even with 185g/litre sugar. You must try it!
All in all Corkage and Ed Adams managed to achieve what only the best wine tastings do: create an evening to remember and bring a new favourite wine to the table. Before last night I had little experience of good Spanish wine beyond a collection of Albarino whites and alluringly good Ribera del Duero reds but it looks like I might have to pay the region a little more attention from now on…
I’m always on the look-out for new wine lists to try and I’m here to help any restaurant or pub who think their wine list needs a seasonal update. For more information or to get in touch about some more of my favourite wine & dine destinations, call Ben Franks Wine on +44(0)7545353147.
Images © Copyright Ben Franks Wine 2016