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The Thief

Allan Crum & Matt Munneke
January 22, 2021 | Allan Crum & Matt Munneke

Love & Strife & Spanish Wine: An enlightened philosophical debate – over text - between coworkers...

WARNING: High-level wine nerd content and possible swearing.


The wines you like usually show the worst possible wine flaw - perceptible new oak. They are the Chevy commercial, Bob Seger, unironic denim jackets of wine.


I have trouble deciding if the wines you like are flawed, or if the winemaker’s mustache wax fell in the barrels.


High alcohol. New oak. Structure you’d be better off chewing than sipping. Not all of us have hearths and overstuffed leather chairs to sit in while we swirl our grape whiskey and think about the Civil War.


“Natural Wine” is throwing away everything and all the technology to make things better. You probably prefer porn from the 70’s.


“Old school” Spanish wine, especially Rioja, was just mimicking Bordeaux after it was wiped out by phylloxera. Who knows, maybe whole cluster no so2 carbonic zero zero biodynamic dry-farmed no-till regenerative b-corp wines were already a thing before the homogenization. And...uh…uh… Priorat is dumb.


I think some new-age hipster winemakers heard high VA gets high scores. They should not have set their bar at actual nail polish remover. That wine you made me taste with a “little” brett would pair nicely with filet mignon and a horsesh&% demi-glace. BTW, it was so underripe the side of green beans tasted more like grapes than the wine did.


Syrup is for pancakes, not Syrah, score-chasing is for people who don’t know enough to trust their own palate, and, to quote Sideways, “I will not be drinking any fucking Russian River Pinot!”


Flashy labels are for beer. You can f&%* beer up and brew another batch. You would think after making a bulls$%# wine and wasting an entire vintage, one would learn, but no, they just got stoned and thought mother earth would come and save the day.


Michel Rolland and Robert Parker were the vinous equivalent of a human centipede. Is this Carmenere, Merlot, or Malbec? Who knows? It smells like prune juice and tastes like it was made by a 10-person committee at Budweiser. I bet you like Crocs.


I once heard winemaking was like going to battle with microbiology. Apparently, your wines are like the French, just not like French wines.


Look, I’m sorry your wines haven’t been cool since Carson Daly was a thing. You and I both know that these things go in cycles. Pet-nat and carbonic maceration are cool right now, but by the time your daughter is drinking wine, the hot new thing will be Elon Musk’s Martian Merlot, or Botswanan Acacia Vermouth, or skin-contact Viura fermented in a burned-out Terminator exoskeleton. What I’m trying to say is this - even then, your wine still won’t be cool.


We haven’t come to a compromise, but one thing is for sure: we would both happily share a bottle of Vega Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial. As long as the other one is picking up the tab.


NOTE TO READER: Do not attempt to buy either of these bearded gentlemen Vega Sicilia Unico. They’ll just find a reason to make fun of you.





Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha 2016

  • Campo de Borja
  • 100% Grenache
  • 30-50-year-old vines
  • Aged in a mix of French and American barrels for 16 months
  • 80% new oak
  • 94 points JS, 91 points WA, 90 points WE
  • Blueberry, blackberry, vanilla

Bodegas Breca Old Vines Garnacha 2017

  • Calatayud
  • 100% Garnacha de Aragón, the oldest clone of Garnacha in the world.
  • 1925-1990 (The majority of the vineyards are planted between 1965 & 1990)
  • Dry farmed
  • Practicing organic
  • Fermented in stainless steel using pied de cuve
  • Aged 18 months in used 500l and 600l barrels
  • 92 points JS, 92 points JD, 91 points WS
  • Red currant, mocha, licorice root


Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2015

  • Logrono, Rioja
  • Bodega founded in mid 19th century
  • 80% Tempranillo, 12% Graciano, 6% Mazuelo, 2% Garnacha
  • Fermented in stainless steel for 8 days
  • Aged 2 years in American oak, 1 ½ years in bottle prior to release
  • 93 points WA, 93 points JS, 92 points WS (#40 Top 100 Wines 2019), 92 points W&S
  • Dark cherry, cedar, cardamom


Commando G La Bruja de Rozas 2018

  • Vinos de Madrid, Gredos
  • Garnacha
  • 50-80-year-old vines
  • 2800’ elevation
  • 40-60 day maceration, native yeast fermentation
  • Aged 9 months in 30-60HL oak vats
  • 95 points JS, 94 points WA
  • “They seem to go from strength to strength and are getting closer to their goal with some of their wines achieving world-class status! One of the most exciting new projects not only in Gredos but in the whole of Spain!” Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate
  • Blackberry, slate, cracked Tellicherry pepper


Envinate Garnacha Tintorera Albahra 2019

  • Vino de Mesa
  • 75% Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet), 25% Moravia Agria
  • Practicing organic
  • 30-year-old head-pruned vines
  • Fermented 50% whole cluster with native yeasts in 45HL concrete tanks
  • 7-day maceration
  • Aged 8 months in same concrete tanks before bottling with low SO2
  • 94 points WA
  • Cherry skin, crushed rose, Tasmanian pepper berry


Goyo Garcia Viadero Joven de Viña Viejas 2018

  • Ribera del Duero
  • 100% Tempranillo
  • 40-year-old vines
  • Organic viticulture
  • Fermented in stainless steel with 3-month maceration
  • Aged entirely in tank, no oak
  • Bottled unfiltered, unfined, and with no additional SO2
  • Tart plum, pressed violet, Lapsang Souchong




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