Eccoci creates wines that please the environment and the palate
Story and photos by Dwight Casimere
NEW YORK--The distance between the foothills of Spain outside Barcelona and trendy Tribeca got a loittle shorter this early pre-spring evening, when winemaker Manuel Lardeux arrived at Tribeca Terroir for an evening of Tapas & Vino to unveil Spain's first ever Zero Carbon wine, Eccoci Wine, to an intimate gathering of wine writers and buyers. The evening included a delicious array of Spanish tapas, or small bites, typical of northeaster Spain. The evening quickly escalated from an informal tasting to a full-fledged dinner and in-depth discussion of the actual impact of responsible ecological practices on winemaking and its ultimate effect on what's in the glass.
"My family actually came to Spain from France," Lardeux offered over a heaping plate of grilled sardines dressed in garlic and olive oil andd served with the first wine to be introduced, Eccoci Rosado 2011 ($22.99), a crisp, very faintly pink rose' wine made from 100% Petit Verdot grapes from the winery's Cain Nobas parcels, which adjoin a river, where the soil is rich with limestone and alluvial stones.
"We came to the idea of producing environmentally wines quite naturally," he emphasized. "Our property is right next to Les Gaverres, a nature preserve, so it just makes sense to conduct our business in away that doesn't have a negative impact on our surroundings."
Leroux says, besides minimizing the impact of the winery's carbon footprint, by utilizing environmental best practices, the winery also purchases carbon credits to offset it's footprint.
"I even took into account the carbon impact of the flight I took here to New York in deciding which airline to take!" further emphasizing the point.
I forwent the rest of the assorted salumi and other appetizers and went directly into a tasting of the other wines.
Eccoci Super Premium Red 2009 ($47.99) was the star of the show. A big, robust red wine that still maintains a refined elegance and lucious dark and red fruit blend of flavors is made with that Catalonian marvel, 100% Marseian grapes. The grapes for the wine are all hand harvested and the grape juice is all derived through gentle bladder pressing using gravity flow (more energy and environmentally responsible methods!) The wine is then allowed to rest on the lees (the dead bacteria from the fermenting yeast) to enrich its flavor and body. It is then allowed to age in merrain oak barrels, which are lightly toasted to give the wine a well incorporated back note of hints of Tahitian vanilla, crystallized ginger and a hint of cedar closet that gives it rich fruity flavor with oak that is fully integrated into the overall taste.
Working backwards, I then tasted the Premium Red 2008 ($33.99) This was another outstanding wine, whose richness far outweighs its modest price. Of the two, this I found to be the more food-friendly wine, with the tannins backed off and somewhat mellow. Again, the grapes were harvested by hand and processed by gravity flow. The wine was aged for just three months in merrain oak, giving more emphasis to the fruit by utilizing the oak simply as a means of "resting" the wine and letting it mellow out. Mission accomplished!
I left the Eccoci Bianco (white wine-$21.99) for last as a sort of palate cleanser. That proved to be a misnomer! The wine was a rich, mouth-filling blend. "The wine is made from grapes from our Ca l'Elsa parcels," Lardeux offered. "The vineyards lay at the foot of an inactive volcano where the soil is rich with limestone and volcanic soil. It has very good drainage, so the grapes have to struggle somewhat, and that gives them a rich concentration of flavor."
The blend, 50% Rousanne, 30% Viognier and 20% Manseng is more akin to something you'd find in the Loire vallley of France than the Pyranees of Spain, but, no matter, the resulting wine is delightful by any nationality! Vive Le France! Mucho Gusto, Spain!
The scene at Tribeca Terroir; a night of Tapas& Vino with Eccoci wine manager Manuel Lardeux