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16th March 2015

By Yecla ! - Trenza Z-Strand

Wonder Wine from Spain

Late last year, I prepared a silly A-Z of food and wine matching , partly to see if I could find both wine and foodstuff - both of which I had tasted - beginning with each letter of the alphabet. I managed, but to say some were tenuous examples would be charitable (although it was fun!). One of the sticking point letters (along with the expected big-money Scrabble numbers like q, x, and z, and the more surprisingly mundane such as n and f) was, of course ‘y’. I went seasonal and for Yquem (a top sweet wine from Bordeaux). But now I have another ‘Y’ to play with…
And very delicious it is, too.

Trenza Z-strand 2007 Yecla DO, Spain

This bottle was a gift from my friend Jonas Tofterup, who is responsible in part - along with his brother David - for making this wine. Jonas is Danish, grew up and lives in Spain, a well qualified winemaker, and speaks about sixteen different languages embarrassingly well. He is also an aspiring MW (Master of Wine, a qualification it seems sure to me he will receive eventually). As part of his studies, he joined in with a tasting weekend I ran in Nice last week. It is always good to have an actual winemaker on hand! Especially when they bring gifts!


Yecla is a town and wine region in Murcia in central-eastern Spain, not far from Alicante. Wines from neighbouring Jumilla are perhaps more familiar, but this is for reasons of quantity rather than anything else, although there are undoubtedly some very good ones. What marks out Yecla, and many of the neighbouring vineyard areas, is its ‘undiscoveredness’. With perfect soil (limestone) ideal weather and exceptionally old vineyards yielding supremely concentrated fruit, the only thing that’s missing is celebrity. But celebrity, of course, comes at a price. Famous wines cost a lot. If you can find a wine made by someone who knows how (and I have to say that winemakers trained elsewhere and with a global perspective is very important in this respect) from brilliant fruit such as this, then you will have quality beyond expectation, and a bargain. Although I don’t know for absolute certain, because this was a gift! However, I expect that, compared to similarly made high quality wines from France, Italy and even the New World, this is loopily cheap. One day it will be famous, and then we will have to look somewhere else. This discovery journey is, for me, the joy of wine.

Trenza is a blend of (mainly) Syrah with a little Cabernet Sauvignon and some of the very local Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre). It is a juicy and spicy full flavoured wine with wonderful chocolatey-richness. Still exceptionally young, even at 6½ years old, but gulpably delicious. There’s a layer of glossy French oak and a dollop of alcohol, but like all good wines, these elements are in balance with one another. There’s lots going on, but nothing overpowers anything else. The wine is even more harmonious the day after opening, when it has had some oxygen.

So all I can say to Jonas and David is Mange Tak, Gracias, Merci, Danke, and Thank you!



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