Release of the 2015 Vi Novell
When talking about anything “nouveau” in the wine world, most mouths open and say, “Oh, Beaujolais Nouveau?” as that is hand’s down the most famous of the early release wines in the world. And by early release, I mean that they release the wine immediately after the juice has become wine, on the third Thursday of November up there in Burgundy. The French had somehow managed to get a lock on this event for some reason despite the fact that it’s done all over Europe and this past Saturday marked the release of the 2015 Vi Novell at Celler El Masroig in DO Montsant.
They invited a journalist from Barcelona named Bibiana Ballbè to officiate the release and tap of the first cask, known as espinjolar in Catalan–although this wine sees zero barrel time. Each year the invite a different person to officiate and not keeping up with Catalan (or really, any) pop culture, I had no idea who she was as I listened to her speech about the intersection of technology, creativity, and tasting wine. Friends at the event said she was a popular “hipster” personality at the moment. This is amusing for someone from San Francisco to hear as it shows that in Spain “hipster” is clearly not understood in the Anglophone sense as she sounded like a bouncy Barcelonian in accent as opposed to someone with sleeve tattoos who looks down upon me for not drinking fucking pét-nat nor listening to my music on vinyl.
Half of the 500 or so people who were in attendance were very much locals and very much only there for the wine as they stood in the back, munching on hazelnuts and bread dipped in the freshly-pressed oli del raig. Once Bibiana did tap the cask, the crowd moved in, glasses aloft to capture the gleaming red drops of this fresh wine.
This is of course something important to note in that the wine is actually good. Where Beaujolais Nouveau to me generally seems a torrid affair of carbonic maceration and bubblegum, this wine, despite using similar production methods is quite enjoyable as well as insanely affordable. It must be all the Catalan sun as well as the fact that year over year, Celler El Masroig is making a better and better wine in this style.
Vi Novell 2015
Vibrant red cherry and strawberry notes in the nose with a medium body and a short, fresh finish. Nothing overly complicated, just direct fruit that maintains good acidity overall. To be consumed with any number of meals and done so before the summer lest the glimmer of the wine fades.
50% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 20% Syrah 14.5% 5€