The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Artadi and Bodegas Emilio Moro

Posted on | June 9, 2015 | Written by Camacho Vidal | No Comments

CamachoThis past weekend I was privy to a treat when a client and friend invited us over for some Jamón Ibérico. We expected it to be a pleasant evening with a few slices of this delectable melt-in-your-mouth jamon, but it turned out to be a whole leg accompanied by a master carver that not only sliced paper-thin morsels for us to try but also allowed us to try our hand at slicing for ourselves.

Jamón Ibérico or “Iberian ham” is a type of cured ham produced in Spain. Other than its taste, Jamón Ibérico’s one main characteristic is that it comes from black-skinned pigs, who are descendants of the Mediterranean wild boar. Another distinct feature is that these pigs are acorn-fed, which gives Jamón Ibérico an intensely sweet, earthy, and nutty flavor profile. The fat is so soft that it melts in your mouth. From start to finish, the ham-making process is quite simple: all you need are good pigs that have been left alone to fatten on acorns, then cured with nothing more than salt and air from the farm.

Knowing that the evening was going to have a Spanish theme, I brought two Spanish wines: Artadi Rioja El Pison 2001 from Rioja Alavesa and Bodegas Emilio Moro Malleolus de Sanchomartin 2009. The wines we tasted that night were great and paired well with the smoky, sweet, nutty flavors of the ham; however, these two wines will pair beautifully with a range of dishes.

Artadi 2001 Rioja El Pison $325.00

Known for making wines that are rich and aromatic, the Artadi estate produces its wine in Rioja Alavesa and has the highest elevation in Rioja. Vinified naturally without any chemical additives, El Pison is a 100% Tempranillo cuvée produced from a single limestone soil vineyard planted in 1945. The big, dense nose is full of cherry, black fruit, cassis and a hint of cedar wood, licorice, and forest floor. The palate is still very young, but this ’01 is silky smooth with good weight and flavors of red and black berries. The tannins kick in a bit dusty lingering on the finish nicely. Drink now with some decanting, or cellar and drink for the next 5-10 years.

Bodegas Emilio Moro 2009 Malleolus de Sanchomartin $199.00

The Moro family has been farming the same vineyards in the Ribera del Duero since 1932, and the estate is located at the top of a bend in the Duero River in the town of Pesquera del Duero, just to the Northwest of Peñafiel. Malleolus is Latin for majuelo, and also the local term for a small vineyard; this wine is made with 100% Tinto Fino harvested from small plots that range from 25-75 years of age. The wine undergoes alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel before being transferred to 500 liter new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation and 18 months of aging. This is a sexy wine with an intense nose with hints of tobacco, some spice, and slight balsamic notes, vanilla and cocoa all backed by ripe rich black fruit. The palate is full of tangy acidity with notes of licorice cocoa, raspberry and velvety tannins. You can decant and drink now or cellar and drink between 2018-2030.

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