2018 El Escoces Volante Dos Dedos de Frente

Year: 2018
Appellation: Calatayud
Country: Spain
Wine Advocate: 95
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Price :
$36.95

AMAZING!!...WE HAVE ANOTHER WINNER UNDER 75 BUCKS!!...95% SYRAH AND 5% VIOGNIER!

"They believe their 10th release of this high-altitude, late-ripening Syrah is the most balanced to date. The 2018 Dos Dedos de Frente comes from two hectares in the village of Villarroya de la Sierra planted in 2000 with a selection from the Rhône on stony soils at 950 meters in altitude, and it also contains 5% Viognier. In previous vintages, they only used the Viognier skins, but in 2018 the grapes ripened at the same time, so they were able to ferment it with the whole berries. The grapes were handpicked the 12th of October and fermented after a six-day cold soak, then the wine matured for 12 months in 500- and 650-liter oak casks (he abandoned the 225-liter oak barrels when he started this cuvée in 2016, and there was a change in the wine when he started using larger barrels). This is showy and exuberant, more in the style of Guigal than Clape. It's expressive, open, spicy and smoky, with abundant, fine-grained and chalky tannins. It's juicy, full-bodied and manages to keep the freshness and tension. This is still extremely young, and it's going to need a couple of years in bottle to start expressing what it really is. It should age nicely, as it has the stuffing and balance to do so. 6,373 bottles were filled in November 2019.

I tasted via videoconference with Norrel Robertson, the flying Scotsman ("el Escocés volante"), during the Covid-19 lockdown, and he presented a majority of 2018s, a fantastic vintage in many parts of Spain, including Aragón and more specifically Calatayud, the main place where he works. After the catastrophic 2017 when he lost 75% of the crop to frost, comes a year of freshness and fragrant, delicate and juicy wines when there's a shift to using more of their own grapes from the village of Villarroya de la Sierra, a cooler, higher altitude place with red clay and limestone soils rather than the slate found in other parts of the appellation. Some are sold without Calatayud appellation because they are fermented outside the appellation's limits (one of the nonsenses of the rules of the appellations of origin in Spain), and of course, he also works in Galicia, Murcia and Valencia. He produces a grand total of 300,000 bottles per year. Many wines are produced in Flextank (plastic) eggs; he only has a couple of concrete eggs, used for Es Lo Que Hay and En Sus Trece. The wines are exuberant and showy, round and lush, not shy.

2020 started with the purchase of a 4.7-hectare site on the outskirts of the village of Cervera de La Cañada, where he plans to consolidate production of his own 26 hectares of vineyards under the same roof. Other than preserving some old vineyards, he has also planted some new ones for the future, and he is planning to plant more in the coming years. Among the old vineyards is a new jewel in the crown, a 1.2-hectare stony plot planted in the 1930s with red Garnacha (Fina) and some other local varieties; it was first fermented separately in 2019." (WA)