Cellar Notes: Spanish Treasure
Those with a knowledge of fine wines require no introduction to Álvaro Palacios, the adventurous winemaker who almost single-handedly transformed Spain’s Priorat region into one of the world’s most innovative winemaking hubs. Yet this accomplishment should not overshadow his achievements in his native Rioja, where he works to preserve the winemaking traditions of his family’s winery, Palacios Remondo. Although reds typically take center stage here, the Palacios Remondo 2011 Plácet Valtomelloso Rioja ($45, www.foliowine.com), a white wine made from 100 percent Viura, is at once refreshing and captivatingly complex. The wine’s unctuous texture belies its crisp, bracing acidity, which intensifies lush flavors of lime, lemongrass, honeydew, and mint, while the stylish finish is punctuated by a briny note of seashell minerality.
Cellar Notes: Grace by the Glass
The label of Metaphora speaks eloquently to the sensibilities of its owner, Ravi Mehta, an avid epicure turned lawyer. Persuaded by Chuck Wagner of Caymus Vineyards to express his passion for wine by making one of his own, Mehta enlisted Wagner’s aid in producing his first release in the 2005 vintage. He chose to adorn the bottle with a depiction of the three Graces, which for him represent not only the human virtues—brilliance, joy, and goodwill—that a great wine should inspire, but also the three women who inspire him: his wife, Greta, and his two daughters. The name he chose for his project has a similar double meaning, alluding to wine’s symbolic nature and to the importance of family—in his case, the four Mehtas. The Metaphora 2009 Pinot Noir Napa Valley ($75, www.metaphorawines.com) is layered in flavors, including cherry lozenge, lingonberry, licorice, and menthol notes with velvety tannins and sprightly acidity.