Years back, I was once running a horse riding place. I loved horses, but didn’t know much about them. I learned on the way, and surrounded myself with experts, yet I still had to know what I was doing.
Once we went for a buying trip. I had my head trainer with me (because who am I to pick a horse that would be good for competitions). At the same time, I couldn’t let him see that I, his boss, didn’t really have a clue.
So I was watching horses, as they were presented to us, and suffered. I pretended I was looking with an expertize, but in reality, I was secretly watching my trainer’s face to get a hint. All those horses were nice, but how do I tell which one could be an exceptional?
I will never forget the AHA moment when suddenly, after many horses that didn’t catch my attention at all, this ONE came out. It was the way she carried herself, the proud posture, the beautiful walk, some kind of aura that felt very elegant, the eyes – there was something about that horse! I couldn’t take my eyes of her. This was my favorite!
To my surprise, my trainer agreed. We ended up buying that horse, and when looking for the name starting with letter P (after her mother) I named her Philadelphia. It was such an aristocratic horse, it deserved a special name. I have never been in Philadelphia, but I heard it was one of the most beautiful cities in U.S.A. Most importantly, I loved the sound of that name.
OK, now you must think that I have lost my mind: Why, in the world, do I write about horses in my wine blog? I know, and apologize. If you stayed with me so far, here is the reason:
I like to believe that every one of us had a similar experience, in any field, at least once. Everything seems to be the same, until something stands out. One never forgets such an experience.
For some reason this memory came to me, when I first opened a bottle of Avanthia. To be precise, Avanthia Mencía. Mencía, the grape variety, I didn’t know anything about, except the fact that it was native Spanish.
Sure, I could have gone on-line and try to find any reviews or info available. But I don’t like to read someone else’s opinions before I form my own. I also don’t like to know the price of particular wine I am tasting, because it sometimes tends to influence the judgment.
So I just opened this wine, received as a gift, not knowing what to expect at all. And surprised I was. The aroma was overwhelming. The combination of dark fruit with cacao and oak hit my nose, and brought me back to time I spent in Spanish wine cellars. Yes, that hint of oak that is just perfect and never too much. (Oh did I ever tell you that I am obsessed with wine aromas? I am able to sniff wine 10 times before I take a first sip).
But the taste was something else. I found it surprisingly bitter but full of fruit at the same time. I couldn’t quite put the hand on it. There was something about this wine that made it special. With the second sip, I could taste more of the fruit, spices and dark bitter chocolate. The more it was opening up, the more it was irresistible. I tried to imagine the earth it grew on and the wild flowers that might have surrounded the vineyard and perhaps influenced some of the sensational parts of the whole wine composition.
It made me feel like somebody threw super soft, yet firm and large cashmere scarf all over my body. First I felt all the soothing fruit on my tongue, than a tiny bit of spice and velvety tannins. As the wine was warming me up overall, I acknowledged a big, yet not overpowering body. And the finish… hmmm, that finish, you don’t want to ever end. Impressive, bright, introducing the richness of the fruit to my palate over and over again. Oh, so sensational.
I wanted to open a special bottle for our 2012 New Year’s celebration. We decided to spent it with my husband, watching movies and enjoying the comfort of our home. I didn’t pick Brunellos that I have. I didn’t go for great Bordeaux wines that I have. I passed some superb Californian reds. Instead, I reached for Avanthia again. Especially when I learned that my husband prefers to sip on mulled wine whole evening. Great! Selfishly, I didn’t complain.
Yes, Avanthia Mencía was my companion during the New Year Eve. We had a secret love affair. This wine fitted my mood and senses. We enjoyed each others company very much. I still didn’t figure out what exactly it is, that makes it so special, but just like someone said: “Wine is like opera. You can enjoy it even if you do not understand it!”.
It might not be the wine for everybody. Also, I realize that it is still young. I am only excited to see what is going to develop in this heavy bottomed bottle in few more years. If I dare wait so long. If I could only resist. Congratulations, Jorge Ordóñez, for such a beauty!
Read my review and more technical details about this wine