Josefina Piñol Blanco
Josefina Piñol Blanco is an estate-bottled wine made by the Piñol family located in the high elevation vineyards of Terra Alta, south of Barcelona. The story of Cellar Vinos Piñol mirrors the ascendance of Spanish wines in world markets over the past ten years, a story of how a reverence for old, treasured vineyards and the best family traditions have been combined with new winemaking methods to produce wines with sterling quality. Similar to Yecla and Vinos de Madrid, Terra Alta is one of Spain's “up-and-coming” wine regions with an identity of exciting innovation and progressive change. Josefina Piñol (White) Dulce is often called “the olive oil wine” because of the shape of the bottle. It is made with Garnacha grapes harvested later in the season from vines over eighty-five years old. Josefina is fermented naturally to 13%. Once fermentation is finished, the skins are distilled to make a high quality grappa used to increase the overall alcohol content of the wine to 15%. Juanjo G. Piñol and Toni Coca are the winemakers. Juanjo's mother Josefina remains in charge of the family cellar.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? An elegant late-harvest wine, it is neither too alcoholic nor too sweet. Made with 85 year old vines. All estate-owned grapes grown by the fourth generation of the Piñol family. A limited production wine.
RATING HISTORY: 2014 90+WA; 2013 90WA; 2011 91IWR; 2009 90RP; 2008 90IWC; 2007 91RP; 2006 90RP
GRAPE: 100% Garnacha Blanca. Vines planted in 1957. Tended in limestone and clay soil at 450 m (1,476ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: The wine is a great pairing for goat cheese and quince, fresh fruits and tarts, and softer cheeses with nutty flavors.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Josefina is allowed to ferment naturally to 13%. Once fermentation is finished, the skins are distilled to make a high quality grappa used to increase the wine's overall alcohol content to 15%. The wine is aged for four months in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels.
PRODUCTION: 40 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located a few miles southwest of Priorat, within the Terra Alta DO (Zone 5) in Cataluyna's Tarragona province in northeastern Spain. The winemaking tradition, in this remote region, dates back to the 13th century. The winery and vineyards, planted in 1957, are in Batea at 400 meters (1,312 ft.) elevation. The soils are composed of 95% limestone and 5% clay. Regarding the area's climate, the average temperature from April-October is 67.3F. Terra Alta has hot days and warm to moderate nights. Terra Alta is drier and warmer than Montsant and Priorat, producing purple-red wines with greater weight and ripeness than those from other areas within Zone 5. The yearly rainfall (16.3 inches) is lower than the other neighboring DOs.
TASTING NOTES: Josefina Pinol White Dulce is a medium sweet wine with aromas and flavors of orange marmalade. It has good acidity and balance and should pair well with fruit desserts. Drink this late harvest wine over the next 2-3 years.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold