Late to the Friday afternoon lunch, I settled down at the first open table and was soon accompanied by Carl Giavanti of Carl Giavanti Consulting. We were seated across from who we would later learn to be Peter Deutsch and José A Hidalgo (El Muro del Vino). After listening to their conversation we remarked about Peter's English accent but impeccable Spanish. He then explained his negociant background and the launch of his new brand Finca Hispana which focuses on small producers throughout Spain. At the end of our conversation he invited us to his conference after party to taste these wines. I was intrigued.
|Campos Reales Tempranillo|
By this time, Carl and Todd Trzaskos, author of the newly released Wines of Vermont, joined me and we turned our attention to Peter and the Finca Hispana brand. The first item to note is that almost all these wines retail for less than $15. Second, they come with attractive packaging. The label consists of a photo of the winemaker(s) providing a personal connection between consumer and producer. And being a small group Peter was had time to discuss each winemaker, each region, and each grape. Finally, the wines are simply delicious with ridiculous values.
Another wine I returned to was the Finca Hispana Garnacha/Carignan/Syrah DO Monsant ($10, 13.5% ABV). The blend consists of 40% Garnacha, 40% Carignan, 20% Syrah all from vines aged between 30-60 years old in DO Monsant - the center of Catalonia and surrounding DOQ Priorat. This is a juicy fruit forward wine produced by the label model Eugènia Guasch López.
|Pedro Ximenez, NV|
And obviously news about the wine had spread. The next evening I arrived a little late after tasting some cider and could barely fit through the door. I had promised to share some local cider and beer and found myself pouring Maryland's Millstone Cellars Farmgate cider to both José and Aurelio Montes. What a treat discussing the cider and having them compare the cider's qualities to wine faults. Over time we switched over to Virginia's Old Ox Brewery Kristin’s Passion, a Mexican Hot Chocolate Porter, and a couple from O'Connor Brewing Co.. Once again the evening ended with sherry and the hotel security. Finca Hispana hits is available in most other East coast markets and Chicago and hits the Virginia market later this year. Can't wait. Cheers.