Monday, February 8, 2010

2008 Anima Negra Quibia: A Burst of Spring

When Christopher Columbus traveled to Hispaniola, he encountered a cacique ("chief") named Quibia. The cacique had much gold, and obviously the greedy Spaniards desired it. Yet Quibia was crafty, outwitting the Spaniards by sending them to a rival cacique's gold mines.

What does this have to do with this wine, the 2008 Anima Negra Quibia? I really don't know. I am unsure whether that tale was the source for this wine's name. Their website is silent on the reasons for the name. But, it makes for a good story nonetheless, and it might possibly be related.

The Anima Negra ("black soul") winery is located on the island of Mallorca, off the eastern coast of Spain. It occupies what was once a 17th-century dairy and it is owned by three partners; Pere Obrador, Francesc Grimalt and Miguel Ángel Cerdá. I have previously tasted their 2004 AN/2, which I very much enjoyed.

There are a number of grape varietals indigenous to Mallorca including Manto Negro (the most widely planted varietal), Callet, Fogoneu, Premsal Blanc (or Prensal Blanc or Moll) and Girò Blanc. Producers may also blend these with some more common varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

The 2008 Anima Negra Quibia ($19) is a white blend of 60% Premsal Blanc and 40% Callet. Premsal is well adapted a hot, maritime climate, and has a light structure and herbal notes. Callet is said to taste like a cross between the spicy, herbal qualities of Cabernet Franc and a powerful Syrah. This is the first vintage of the Quibia where Callet was added. The wine sees no oak, having been fermented and aged over the less in stainless steel, and only has an alcohol content of 12%.

The taste? Despite the groundhog's dire prediction of six more weeks of winter, spring arrived early with this wine. I thought of fresh spring aromatics, herbs bursting into bloom, while I picnicked on apricots and melon. I drank a light mineral water, quenching my thirst on its crispness. The wine offered so much promise, making the cold, winter day much more tolerable.

Yes, I definitely recommend this wine. It also brought to mind a mild Gewurtztraminer & Viognier blend. Take a chance on it, and you can locate it at Central Bottle in Cambridge.

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