Sunday, May 26, 2013

"ECCOCI", a Zero Carbon Wine Name to Remember by Philip S. Kampe

ECCOCI, “It’s All InThe Name” by Philip S. Kampe

Perhaps the name tells the story. Let’s analyze the name of the producer, ‘Eccoci”. To me, it means that ‘Ecology’ prevails at this vineyard, which then would create extremely high standards in all aspects of the operation.
I received an invite to a tasting of these wines from Susannah Gold, a ‘Certified Wine Geek’ who helps expose the trends to the ever-so-tight wine journalist community. Unfortunately, as life goes, I was unable to attend the small tasting, but, won the jackpot
by receiving two bottles from the producer to taste and understand at my own pace.
 I am from New Orleans and one thing that prevails in my nature is what I learned in the south, ‘If you can’t do it today, you can do it tomorrow’. That has been my attitude and has kept me sane during the past fifteen years that I have been in the metro New York area.
‘Life is too short to rush at every opportunity’. Pick and choose and keep your palate full, but, not overflowing. Some days are harder than others to make the correct choice.
As my wife Maria says, ‘It is what it is’.
What it is to me is the brilliance and dedication that has gone into the production of Eccoci, produced at the Blau Nau vineyard, two hours north of Barcelona and an hour from the French border..
Wine is like art, you start with a vague idea and you develop that idea into a visual reality, using various elements to create the vision.
In the case of Eccoci, Philippe Dambois and Jose Manual Maria had the vision to investigate the environment and locate a perfect spot for their ‘Ecological Wine Adventure’. Together, they studied the earth and the weather conditions and found land in the heart of the Gavarres mountain range in northeastern Spain, in the province of Girona.
They secured 30 acres, surrounded by a nature reserve within 75,000 acres of woodlands. The woods shield the vineyard from other crops.
Blau Nau is at the foot of a volcano. The land is calcareous and siliceous, which helps alleviate any possible drainage issues.
The winery was constructed into the earth, entirely underground, thus making their commitment to the environment a reality.
The first vines were planted in 2004.
The first harvest was in 2008. All grapes are picked by hand and are end result processed by gravity drip into the vats.
Whole white grapes are taken to a pneumatic press that works with nitrogen to avoid oxidation. They are then taken to a vat for racking, followed by slow fermentation.
Red grapes are stemmed and pressed before fermentation. Maceration follows.
Following the ecology trend, Eccoci is proud to be Spain’s first winery with a ‘Zero Carbon’ seal, which was granted in 2009. What this says is that the vineyard compensates for all greenhouse gas emissions generated by its daily activities. The winery also purchases carbon credits to offset its footprint.
Eccoci produces four wines, of which I sampled two.

2011 Eccoci Rose made with 100% Petit Verdot.
The salmon colored wine demands to be drunk very cold. 46-50F is suggested by the vintner. Immediately after opening the bottle and pouring a glass the aromatics engulfed my wine tasting room. Odors of flowers and perfume brightened the room so much that the excitement of my first taste of this wine was heightened.  I slowly sipped from my wine glass and felt an instant citrus, herbal sensation in my mouth followed by a  minerality that lingered for a good minute. The lingering, somewhat dry finish reminded me that I had prepared a cold shrimp salad for lunch, which turned out to be a perfect pairing for this adventurous, crowd pleasing wine. I checked Wine-Searcher for its price and found that it was readily available for under $17 a bottle.
The second bottle I sampled was the 2008 Eccoci Premium made from a blend of 34% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc and 33% Marselan. This was the first year of Eccoci’s wine production, so, my expectations were just in the experimental range. The wine was aged three months in oak, suggesting that the winemaker wanted the fruit to take over. As I poured the wine, noticeable dark fruit tones filled the tasting room with a definite berry aroma.
My palate was ready.
The balanced tannins made the wine dance with fruit, leading the way to spice and caramel. The 2008 Eccoci Premium ($33) is a very food friendly red wine that would easily pair with lamb, steak, cheese and pork chops. It is that special wine that stories revolve around.
In this case, the first vintage from the first Zero Carbon vineyard in Spain.
Keep your eyes open for all of the wines from Eccoci, including the two I have not sampled, the 2011 Eccoci Blanco and the 2009 Eccomi Tinto Super Premium.
ECCOCI is a name to remember.

Philip S. Kampe

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