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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Vinos Ambiz annual wine tasting event

Last Saturday (12th December 2009) was the 4th Vinos Ambiz annual wine-tasting event; this time we did it in La Dragona, a tavern run by Ecologistas en Acción, in c./ Marqués de Leganés 12, Madrid (Spain).

In 2008 it was in the El Patio Maravillas; in 2007 in Off-Limits and in 2006 in the old Seco Social Centre.

La Dragona - Alberto and some wine tasters having a chat

We would like to say thanks to the over 40 people who came the other night. I think we all had a great time and we even learned a thing or two, thanks to Alberto (from Bodegas Corral, in Navarrete, La Rioja), who led the tasting in a very pleasant, informal and informative manner and even made people participate actively (as opposed to just 'listening to the expert'!).

Juan talks about Vinos Ambiz; photos in the backound

Glass of wine, anyone? (that's me on the right!)

According to my (sketchy) notes, here are some of the comments and impressions of the wines:

Blanco Joven 2009 (100% Airén)
Colour: pale yello, slightly golden, sort of greenish
Still, no bubbles (last year the same wine was like cava or cider!)
Aroma: wine (!), alcohol, apple, vainilla, fruit, flowers
Taste: not a lot of taste!, green apples, slightly acidic, very nice, a bit like cava

Surprisingly, the young white had a lot of body, aromas and taste. Historically, Airén has been considered not suitable for making quality wine, and has always been used either for mixing with other wines or sent directly to the distillery. Well, it seems that it dosn't have to be that way, and that it is if fact possible to make quality wine with Airén (maybe due to the artisan (non-industrial) processes and/or organic ecological practices). :)

Crianza 2008 (100% Tempranillo)
Colour: very intense, dark read, almost opaque
Aroma: strong, forest in the rain, toasty, red fruit (cherries)
Taste: astringent, strong, red fruit, tonacco
Needs more time in the bottle to round off and improve

The Young White, The Young Rosé, and The Crianza

We only had time to taste two of the three wines we had: the Young White 2009 and the Crianza 2008 (we'll have to do the young rosé some other time).

Note the lack of labels. The plan is to update the previous Crianza label, and to design for the first time labels for the young white and the young rosé. Hopefully in January or February.

- Young White 2009 (100% Airén; 12% vol.)
- Young Rosé 2009 (97% Garnacha, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13% vol; carbonic maceration)
- Crianza 2008 (100% Tempranillo, 6 months in oak barrel; 14% vol.)

I'm sure I've forgotten to mention lots of things that were said (what with all that tasting and chatting I had to do!), so if anyone who was there would like to add anything, just click on the "comments" below and type away! :)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Consumer Participation in Vinos Ambiz Winery

We've just launched a new way for our consumers to participate more closely with us in the wine-making process. By 'new' I mean new for us, as like most things, this has probably been done before somewhere by someone!

The idea is that a consumer (or group of consumers) finance the purchase of a new oak cask (around €300) and we pay them back in bottles of wine.

This year, because we had such a small harvest, we only have enough wine to fill one (1) additional cask, but next year we intend to buy a lot more. The financing of this year's cask has already been 'awarded' to a friend (and notorious long-time consumer of our wines), as we've been talking about doing this for years!

Our two current casks (and the space where the third one is going to go in January)

These are the terms and conditions:

The fundamental reason or motive for financicng the casks in collaboration with our consumers is not economic or financial in nature, but it is intended to be a way of facilitating consumer participation in the project, of establishing closer relations between producer and consumers, and of exchanging information.

There are no interest payments nor any other type of economic or financial incentive as the idea here is not obtain profits from an investment. Its simply another way of participating, just like helping out at the harvest or pruning or washing bottles. It is assumed that the person financing the cask in this way is doing so in order to participate in the wine-making process and to support the project in general.

We have tried to make it as simple as possible and the same for all the future participants, so as to reduce complications and 'administrative overheads' when there are many participants.

1. The cost of the cask is repaid exclusively in bottles of wine (the participant can choose if he wants the very wine produced in the cask, or any other type of wine produced by Vinos Ambiz, if and when available)

2. The bottle of wine is valued at the price set at the beginning of each year

3. The participant can choose if he/she wants to receive the bottles of wine in a single lot or if he/she wants to spread them out over the lifetime of the cask

4. The participants, like all our consumers, can come to the winery to help out with any activity involving their cask (filling, racking, washing, etc)

5. The old cask belongs to the particiapnt. If he/she doesn't want it, we'll keep it at the winery.
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