Domaine Treloar Three Peaks 2008 - Côtes du Roussillon
13,5% abv; Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Yummy. Very dark colour. Wonderfully meaty and slightly vegetal aroma that is savoury and sweet like a pomegranate (is that the Mourvèdre? must be since it reminds me a bit of the few Bandols I have had?). Notes on CT mention that this is an oaky wine - but if I don't find new oak aromas, I doubt anyone else will be bothered by the oak. As nice as the aromas is, the palate is even better: crunchy, savoury and light on its feet despite the ripe fruit - it's alive! Refreshing finish. This was my first Treloar, and if the rest of the range is as good, then I am very happy to have 11 more bottles waiting!
Bodegas Arúspide Tempranillo Pura Sangre 2010 - Spain, Castilla-La Mancha, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
14% abv. Alko's first "natural" wine - and as typical for Alko, they follow the trends a little bit late and always go for an underperformer. So first the positive stuff: I don't smell oak (it is aged for a short time in big barrels) and there is some really attractive tannin and liveliness on the palate.
And then the negative stuff: it smells so sweet as to be raisiny and confected; and though attractively tannic and lively on the palate, it still ends up feeling a rather too fruit forward and heavy and clunky.
The best natural wines - even those on the cheaper end of the spectrum - have ethereal grace and lightness of touch and are energetic and refreshing drinks. This one seems sweet and confected, and despite some "natural" elements it seems heavy and graceless and pedestrian. Certainly among the safest of the "natural" wines I have had. This is a true hipster wine: too mainstream already.