The simply excellent Carisma Gewürztraminer and Riesling blend has been knocking around the shop since a few weeks before Christmas, but I hadn’t gotten an opportunity to sample it until last week-end and now i can see why it was so popular at our Christmas Tasting. The wine has a complex nose that develops in the glass. Some peach and lychee but with distinct mineral, stone quality. On the palate the wine has pronounced acidity, great length and weight. The finish is a lovely lingering off dry flavour of luscious tropical fruits, think mango pineapple and lychee.

The wine is named after the charismatic Carles Ribes Masana who first planted these vines high up in the village of his birth, Montanissell. The climate in Montanissell is Alpine – with extreme cold in the winters and warm summers. The day night temperature differential is dramatic and can be as much as 25 to 30 degrees. The vines are situated at 1,200 metres above sea level, making them the highest in Spain. Carles died tragically before he could see his grapes become wine but today, together with his brothers, Nuria Altes of Herencia Altes continue his dream with the wine that bears his initials and continues his spirit.

The vineyard is planted to 50% Riesling and 50% Gewürztraminer. The Gewürztraminer is picked late September and taken to winery in refrigerated vans to be vinified. The Riesling ripens much later, around later October, and is vinified separately. The two wines are blended post ferment and left sur-lie for 5 months before bottling in May. The style of the wine is distinctly northern European, Alsatian like, and is capable of ageing for several years in bottle.