2011 Proyecto CU4TRO

Catalunya DO, Spain
55% Marselan, 35% Garnatxa (Grenache), 8% Samsó (Carignan), 2% Syrah; 13.5%
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 6 Oct

ProyectoCu4tro_2011This unusual-looking Spanish wine seemed right up my alley.  It looks like someone’s small project somewhere, not made in the ripe, jammy, “international style,” mostly from a grape I had never heard of.  It was indeed an interesting wine, and good for the price, even if I wasn’t totally wild about it.

First, the story of the Marselan grape is amusing (via the Wikipedia link above).  A cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, it was first bred in 1961 in a project to increase grape yields.  However, Marselan could only produce small berries, so it was neglected until more recently when others realized its fruit’s larger skin-to-volume ratio might give it good winemaking potential.

On the first night, I drank the first half over about three hours.  In that time, it showed earthy, tangy red cherry with complexities of darker red / black cherry / sometimes plum, with some sappy wood in the finish.  It seemed to promise a nice wine once it aired, but it was always rather acid, even with food.

The second half, stoppered in a 375ml bottle with very little air, was much less acid, more forward and fruity, with a rather candied nature.  I oscillated between thinking its candied character was a bit surprising in a Spanish wine and perhaps a bit much for my taste, thinking it was tasty but still hadn’t really come together and perhaps needed more age, and thinking it was pretty good with food.  So, overall, an interesting wine I’m glad I tried, but not one I’ll likely get more of.  Still, if I see another Marselan, I’d like to try it.

I just noticed EHL mentioned this wine in What’s New.  We’re clearly drinking the same wine, but he liked it better:

Upon opening, the wine had a nice fragrant nose of vanilla, spice and dark fruit, and it had a bright, lively character I enjoyed. With a ruby-colored, medium-body, the wine was dry yet smooth and exhibited a velvety tannic finish. On the second day, the vanilla nose dissipated somewhat, with more fruit aroma, and the wine darkened, showing more complexity.

All in all…… a pretty nice, balanced bottle of Red wine from Spain…….for $3.99! Gotta get more.

And he provided a link to a page that had these notes, which I think are pretty accurate, although rather exaggerated: “Cherry brick red with a pale brick rim. Aromas of lingonberry, wild raspberries, maraschino cherries, black plums and leather. Soft tannins with flavors of wild forest berries, Italian cherries, black licorice and vanilla. Notes of black pepper and thyme. Robust and balanced with a long, complex finish. Generous.” -BTI, Oct. 2013

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “2011 Proyecto CU4TRO

  1. EHL

    Glad you checked out the Proyecto Cu4tro, BW, and although your assessment of this unusual Spanish blend “oscillated”……..I really liked it a lot, as it was an interesting twist on the California Red blends that a number of people here have enjoyed recently, such as the Four Star and Un4seen wines. Unlike the latter, though, this little import is a bit drier, more refreshingly acidic and not as jammy, all the while remaining somewhat balanced and pretty tasty……even on the third day.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Thanks for your perspective on this wine, EHL. Perhaps you’re right that I should compare it to other Californian red blends rather than to what I expect from a Spanish red. From that point of view, it is as you say, a nice and interesting contrast.

      Reply
      1. EHL

        Thanks for your comments, BW…….always appreciate the great effort you put forth to shine light on the myriad, bewildering choices confronting the GO wine community….

        Reply
    2. delmartian1

      Opened a bottle of Proyecto Cu4tro on Saturday evening. First impression was a “burnt” aftertaste which usually indicates that the wine was improperly stored. It improved slightly over the course of dinner and the next day at lunch but the “burnt” taste never quite left.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        That was also my experience of this wine. That is why the almost-full bottle is in my trunk, waiting to be returned.

        Reply
        1. EHL

          How very disappointing (???)…….yes, I opened up another bottle of the Spanish PC Red last night and it had that strong burnt rubber aftertaste you guys experienced…..will return it with the rest of the bottles I procured.

          Along with me, I imagine Robaire, the trusted wine guy at the Oakland GO, will have some explaining to do……..not good…….too bad, it “was” a delightful wine…..

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            It has seemed to me, often enough to start to suspect something, that new wines start out good, but then we get reports of bad bottles. It could be random, and we just get more reports of bad bottles as more people try the wine. However, I have sometimes wondered if the GO knows which parts of a lot are good and which are flawed, and first stocks the part that’s good, then the part that’s bad. Any comments on how possible or likely this seems to anyone?

            Reply
            1. EHL

              That’s an interesting theory, BW………but as to whether it is intentional — especially in the case where GO staff put their reputations out there recommending a specific wine — I am inclined to disagree.

              Where, however, new bottles are placed on the shelves without a personal earmark, that is a more realistic scenario……and you, more than most, have been observing GO operations long enough to connect the dots, I imagine.

            2. Seedboy

              Wow, that post from last night is a mess. What I meant to say is, the outer cases on a pallet are more exposed to temperature variation. A few years ago the GO got a mess of the 1999 Rust en Vrede Stellenbosch red blend because the container it was shipped in spent to much time in the sun. Some of the cases were a mess, some were lovely.

            3. permiesworld

              Agree with EHL. I was speaking to the Corvallis owner/operator and he said that they work really hard to bring in what they believe to be good wines. It’s just as discouraging to them when sometime is faulted, flawed or the like. However, I also agree with Seedboy, I’ve seen (not at Corvallis but one of the other stores I visit) wine stacked in boxes in front of the big front windows. In the heat of summer. We often get over 100F here. That’s inexcusable in my book & the fault of the store itself. I think that a great deal of wine variation comes from ignorance in proper storage/display. Or an unconcern for the same…

            4. Seedboy

              BTW, unless Robaire actually verbally recommended this to you, it is not his fault: someone else writes up those signs “Robaire recommends” without even asking him.

            5. BargainWhine Post author

              I’m sure at the store level, they do their best to have wines customers will like. I was sort of wondering if, from the warehouse level, GO distributes the “good” part of the lot first. Or maybe GO even takes delivery of the good part first, if the winery or distributor knows which is which. Oh well. I guess it’s not much use speculating like this.

          2. EHL

            Thanks folks for your thoughts…….with reference to the PC Red, yes, I talked to Robaire about it as well as saw the sign…….he is a great guy and has my total respect……..I just think it was another case of bottle variation for whatever reason……and GO Oakland has often stated that if you have a problem with any wine, just bring it back…….

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              It must be a bottle variation. I tasted that burned thing quite strongly and immediately but others do not taste it at all. That is not a drinker variation, it is a bottle variation.

      2. EHL

        Oh, oh…….now you guys have me scared about the other four bottles I recently picked up……sure hope this isn’t another case of bottle variation……seems like we have seen a lot of this lately with GO wines……

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          If you open a bottle and it is bad, screw the cap back on and bring it back. Even if you don’t still have the receipt they will at least give you that much credit on a purchase. This is true of all stores, I believe.

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            In this line of thinking, you could get a bunch and just keep opening them until you find a good one, and then take back the bad ones. However, if it’s heat damage, then it would seem likely that all those you picked off the shelf together were heat damaged.

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              I can see why you’d say that, but I remember with the Rust en Vrede, one box, all of them had leaked, the box next to it, none of them had (I bought the latter ones, and they’ve all been delicious)

        2. EHL

          Hey guys…….took all the bottles of the PC Red back, without a receipt, and they gave me a full refund/credit……which I promptly used to pickup three other wines…….very honorable……

          Reply
  2. Seedboy

    Best cherries I’ve ever had were in Italy. They were different, too, more pointy at the non-stem end, and the flavor was intense.

    Reply
  3. lim13

    Can anyone differentiate Italian cherries from American cherries for me (other than where they’re grown)? Sounds interesting. And Marselan is new to this ol’ codger too. Something new every day!

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      Maybe this refers to marasca cherries, which are the original maraschino cherries? I had them once in Italy–they’re very dark and slightly sour and much more intense than, say, pie cherries. And the only way I’ve ever seen them is preserved in some kind of liqueur. Needless to say, they’re nothing at all like our fruitcake-staple maraschino cherries.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s