Drinking at work: Raul Perez ‘SKETCH’

October 14, 2010 at 8:58 pm (Current Events, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

2 weeks ago, the inbox floated up a message about this wine. A wine from Spain. A white wine from Spain. That was aged UNDER THE OCEAN.  So, of course, as Lush will do, we bought some. For all the shops.

And then, we had to open it.  During our official LUSH Snacks launch last night, tamer than you may imagine, we popped the cork.  Before the beautiful details, a bit of back story…

Raul Perez was born in the 70s into a wine family. I know. Amazing. Bodegas Castro Ventosa of Mencia in Northwestern Spain. He grew up in the vines, amidst the grapes, the viticulture, and the passion. He felt the rhythms of the vines, of the seasons. He tasted the earth through the medium of the grape. Raul formed his winemaking ideals working the vineyards and learning the craft. This is a winemaker that likes to drink.

He has acquired ‘cult’ status in the wine world.  He pushes boundaries, takes risks, and refuses to compromise.  Seriously serious about the vine. The wine.  Raul Perez is on a mission to convey the voice of the vineyard. The very specific voice of one very particular terroir. But, lest we get too heavy, this guy knows how to party, too.  I assume a jovial sense of humor, as well.

So, on to the juice. Raul Perez has the audacity to play mad scientist here, up in the northwestern corner of the country, smushed up against the Atlantic ocean and the Portuguese border. Galicia. Rias Baixas.  Albarino is the white grape of choice. A playful little thing that can be vapid and obnoxious, but also brilliant and deep, soulful even.  The grape is aromatic, plush and fruity, with a zing of high acid.  In the hands of Raul Perez, though, Albarino is stretched to its limits.

The bottle was too cold. The wine too approachable.  Too easy to gulp. We put the glass down and waited.

A bit more research…the Albarino is fermented and placed in concrete eggs to age for one year. And then extracted and placed in barrel for one year.  And then, obviously, they are sunk in the ocean for 60 days.  Yes, I mean sunk. 30m deep. In American speak, that is 90 feet. In a cage. In bottle.  At this depth, approximately 2 atomospheres of pressure are exerted upon the bottle. (Yes, we are nerds).  A puny little cork is no match for 30m of pressure from the ocean. And, thus, salt water mingles with the wine.  In theory. After 60 days deep down under, the wine is fetched, labeled and in a shop near you. Or not. It is rather limited. And weird.

Back to the glass.  We are not sure really what to expect, but the wine is showing more fruit up front than expected, but as the wine continues to warm in the glass and open with swirls and caresses of oxygen, flavors march forward and present themselves.  Green melon and kumquat washed in stream water bounce on along the nose with flutters of lemon blossom and warm stones.  The palate was unctuous, but crystalline. Textured, yet vibrating with barely contained vivacity.  Beautiful notes of just warm honeycomb, a bright note of green apple layered upon golden, ripe pear and juicy white peach, shot through with a vibrant laser like minerality and spiked with salinity.  Intense.  Familiar, yet just odd enough to notice. Salty, briny, but interwoven and mingling with fruit and rock, earth and ocean. Undulating waves of sensory happiness. We are enthralled. Thrilled at the opportunity to taste an absurdity that twists it all around to seem almost simple and practical. Almost. [Ummm, and if you happen to hear about novice scuba divers attempting to abscond with Sketch, shhhhhh, it wasn’t me].

We highly recommend you try some.  But, do be prepared for a wild ride, scarcity, and a bit of a high price tag for the experience. $87 at LUSH.  For the Chicago distributors notes, check it at, http://creamwine.com/brand.php?id=478.

And, tee hee, we just happened to get curious, as I was writing, about the ‘Muti’ Caino. So, we opened it. Oops.  Indigenous grape. Just out of the bottle, it is all about pepper and crushed minerals.  Quite tasty with prosciutto.

Cheers!  LUSHes

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