ARX ​​Arcos de la Frontera 2018

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The Bruja has decided to broaden the range and recommend top quality wines from further afield rather than keep solely to the south of Spain.

Thessaly Winery: The Witch has made two, New Year’s resolutions. So far, the Witch has been recommending wines that could be sourced locally on the south coast. But since the Covid pandemic has demonstrated the ease of delivery and Internet shopping, one resolution is to broaden the range and recommend top quality wines from further afield.

The second resolution is to dedicate more space to Andalusian wines. We need to support our neighbours, they are usually smaller bodegaswith limited production. Yes, we pay a bit more, but good quality wine is like good quality chocolate, is to be savoured. Our wine this month is one of those. It comes from Sierra de Grazalema in Cádiz, near the Roman-era town of Arcos de la Frontera. Although Thessaly Winery has an area of 106 hectares, only 12.5 hectares are vineyards.

We are familiar with the Andalusian heat, which presents a big challenge to making quality wines. Too much sun and heat force the vines to develop the sugar too fast, leaving behind the more complex aromas and flavours which need time. The result is very alcoholic wines that are simply dull. At Thessaly Winery they made the best of their north facing slopes, and with a pruning approach that favours aeration and shade, thus giving their grapes more time to develop.

One such example is the ARX – a delicious blend of Broken Ink; Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are under 55,000 bottles of this wine, very few by Spanish standards. broken tintilla is the local name for Gracianothe grape more associated with La Rioja and Navarra. Graciano is a low-yield, late-ripening grape that tolerates hot, arid climates. Its wines are deep red with strong aroma, and are known to age well.

Blended with ‘big beasts’ of wine making: Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignonand the aroma, colour and tannins imparting Little Verdot, the result is a top-quality, complex and balanced wine, that is value for money even with the above average price tag. Similar quality wines are usually twice the price.

The colour is deep ruby, with heavy borders. The nose is medium intensity with complex aromas of ripe blackcurrant, blackberry, figs and chocolate, with a hint of spice (particularly pepper). In the mouth is silky but robust, with balanced tannins and acidity, and long elegant finish. A very refined wine.
It is a very versatile wine, will go well with almost any good food. Try it with medium-rare steak; grilled Lubin or mushrooms topped with olive; or pasta with pesto. Serve it between 16-18C.

92-94 Bruja points. EUR 15.60 – 18.00 from or directly from the bodega:

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