Quinta Sardonia 2007

Another bottle of Spanish wine, another bungled detective job trying to work out what
Posted 09th April 2012        

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Another bottle of Spanish wine, another bungled detective job trying to work out what I’ve just drunk.

Quinta Sardonia sounds like it may mean five Sardinias (or Sardinians), but what those or they could have to do with northwest Spain is anybody’s guess. The other notable wording on the label, “Castilla y León“. is no help; it’s a huge area, making up what looks like the biggest “autonomous community” in the Iberian Peninsula. This wine could have come from anywhere (even everywhere) within that region.

It doesn’t taste like one of those bland crowd-sourced wines you get on the cheap from (usually) New World labels though. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was oddly refined for a red with a hefty 15% alcohol volume.

That strength of, shall we say, character was present from the off, mind you: it had more legs than any wine I’ve drunk in recent memory. More legs, indeed, than some of the insects that used to emerge from beneath the disused fireplaces in the centuries-old cottage I grew up in. Hundreds of legs: the thick ruby-red stuff oozed down the side of the glass like liquid jam. It had all the appearance of a robust Aussie Shiraz, but was surprisingly different to what I was expecting based on that first impression.

Like the last Spanish red I tried from the same supplier, this wine really impressed me with its complexity and refreshing uniqueness when compared with my usual intake of big-name French AOCs and staple New World varietals. Its aroma was awash with blackcurrant and toast (sort of like blackcurrant jam on toast, funnily enough), with a hint of something Christmassy – dates, I think. The flavour was warm with booze and vibrantly fruity with cherry and edged with a hint of bitter treacle. There was enough acidity and tannin to balance out the more cloying fruit and alcohol notes, mind you; it turned out to be a formidable but not a bullying drink.

But for my last red, I’d probably have thought this had something to do with Syrah. Knowing it came from the same box, I made a casual guess at Mencía – that grape I’d never heard of a few weeks ago.

Big mistake, it turns out.

I found the notes that came with the bottle; and of the many grapes this blend does contain, Mencía ain’t one of them.

We have (in order of importance):

  1. Tinto Fino (never heard of it – oh, no, wait: it’s Tempranillo);
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon (I knew it! I didn’t mean Syrah! Or Mencía. I meant this. I’m counting this as a win.);
  3. Merlot (Not in a million years);
  4. Syrah (I knew it! I didn’t mean Cabernet Sauvignon…);
  5. Petit Verdot (Haven’t come across that for a while);
  6. Cabernet Franc (How much does 2% of anything actually matter?);
  7. Malbec (Really? In Spain? Since when?)

So there we have it. I know nothing. Nice wine though. You’ll find the website links back through to the Terras Gauda bodega though, where they presumably have some way for you to order one of the 44k bottles of Quinta Sardonia made from the 2007 crop.

Certainly worth your time, but at what price? I’m going to guess £10 again, because that’s a nice round figure – but actually, if I’m being honest, I’d pay up to about £18 for this and not feel like I’d been fleeced.

It would be a good one to serve to your more wine-savvy friends to see if they could pick out any of the numerous grapes within, like I didn’t.


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Meet the Author:
Alexander Velky
Alexander grew up on Anglesey, almost as far away from civilization as he’d have liked. He studied English at university and subsequently moved to Prague to teach it to Czech people for just long enough that he could say he’d done that. He then returned to the UK to do an MA in Professional Writing, and later moved to London by accident and worked in the music industry for a while. His interest in wine has been developing throughout. He took the WSET Intermediate exam, for which he was rewarded with a certificate and a pin badge, but he probably won't bother doing any more. He now lives in Pembrokeshire with his wife and daughter. He writes, and drinks, for a living. You can follow him on Twitter if that's how you choose to spend your time. Photograph by Léonie Keeble