As the legend goes, Saint Frontonio, a man of great faith, was put to death by the Romans for his beliefs. He was beheaded; the body was buried and the head cast into the River Ebro, as was customary for the times. The people of the nearby town of Épila, presumably going about their daily business, were in awe when soon after they witnessed something altogether miraculous. The very same head had been making its way upriver against the current and had come to a stop upon their banks, choosing their town for its final resting place. So Saint Frontonio became the Patron Saint of Épila. This ethos of swimming against the current despite the odds brings me to Bodegas Frontonio’s 2014 Telescópico Garnacha.
Bodegas Frontonio Winery is an enterprise of passion and is known for striving for quality. Their wines are produced in a garage and made from grapes harvested by hand and crushed by foot. Do not be misled though, this is no rag-tag operation. This winery knows exactly what it is doing. The 35-60 year old vines that go into the Telescópico Garnacha beautifully express the soil and the purity of the fruit. The color in the glass is immediately indicative of the wine’s concentration with its staining, opaque purple hue. The aromas are ripe plum, dried blueberry, and an exotic sort of floral spice all the way. The palate is medium to full bodied and intense, with a streak of cedar coming through on the finish from the 8 months spent in oak. This wine has excellent length on the palate and a great freshness and vibrancy. I had it with Mama Mimi’s Carmella Classic pizza and it was fantastic!
Bodegas Frontonio is still in its youth, having only started in 2010, but I expect to see big things from them in the future. I believe this is the new wave of Spanish wine. The 2014 Telescópico earned 91 Points with Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and retails for $27.99 a bottle.
Also, a very small amount Chateau de Beaucastel’s 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape is arriving here in Ohio. The 2015 vintage in the Southern Rhone was stellar, with fairly low yields and excellent concentration. This is a collector’s vintage, to be sure, and the wines will evolve for decades to come. Here’s what Wine Spectator had to say about the stuff: “A stunner from the get-go, with waves of thoroughly seductive boysenberry, plum, blueberry and raspberry reduction forming the core, while roasted apple wood, rooibos tea, bergamot, and anise notes flash throughout. This has plenty of bass, with a Turkish coffee accent and a hint of alder driving underneath. Everything moves in lockstep through the seriously long finish. Best from 2020 through 2045. 12,500 cases made. 97 POINTS.” The 2015 Beaucastel retails for $87.99 a bottle.