14-09-2011

LaVinyeta Mig Mig 2009

LaVinyeta has been growing steadily as a winery over the years and we’ve been happily following along since the beginning when winemaker Josep Serra Pla was just starting out and only had a small offer of wines. This offer has steadily grown over the years to the point where he has enough grapes produced to release the Mig Mig. This is pronounced “meech meech” and it means, “half and half” or “50-50”. It’s a fitting Catalan name given that the wine is made up of two parts that are distinctly different from one another, yet somewhat the same.

One part of the blend is Garnatxa Roja. Take note that this is Catalonia. “Roja” (pronounced “ruzha” in Catalan) doesn’t mean “red” as it would in Spanish (“red” is “vermell” or “roig” in Catalan) and it is in fact a type of Garnatxa that isn’t often seen outside of dessert wines. The other part of the blend is Marselan. This is also a type of Garnatxa in that it’s a hybrid of Garnatxa and Cabernet Sauvignon which is more typically grown in the Southern French region of Languedoc. Added in to this is that some of the grapes in this wine come from 80 year-old vines.

This all makes for an interesting mix that is then aged in high-end French oak barrels for 10 months and produces a rather high alcohol level of 14% that the winery claims has an aging potential of up to seven years in the bottle. As they note in all their literature, it’s a wine of contrasts. Basically, the best way I can sum it up is a New World style wine without the New World style bullshit. Let’s break down what that broad statement means.

The wine initially opens up quite boldly. The oak aromas are strong and nose is leathery with chocolate and prunes. The body is bright and strong with a dry, black pepper finish. After about 30 minutes of decanting, the wine starts to immediately smooth. The body becomes pliable and chewy on the palate. The initial prune elements turn to plum.

After an hour or more, the dual personality of the wine really starts to emerge. Strong yes, but at the same time classy and complex. There is one level of large flavors, but that is undercut by soft notes and the body even takes on what could generally be called Pinot Noir elements with a touch of dry strawberry and other fruits, but just a little. The finish develops small bits of white pepper to it as well, staying a bit spicy, but ultimately smooth and refined.

Overall, it’s a very enjoyable wine to drink. One of those wines that gives all the punch one could wish for, but at the same time pulling back just in time before it’s too much. It all shows that Serra Pla has learned his grapes well over the last years and is feeling confident enough to make a wine like this that is on the surface a very simple blend, but behind the scenes, is a mightily complex beast–Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde indeed.

Learn more about the wines, wineries, and history of Empordà in our Empordà, Catalonia enotourism guide