2005 Escoda Sanahuja Coll Del Sabater @ Bizou
Jumping at the opportunity to dine outside on the mall in mid February, a last minute trek to Bizou fortuitously led us to one of our favorite wines of the month—a 2005 Coll Del Sabater from producer Escoda Sanahuja in Conca de Barbera, Catalonia. Not having much, if any, experience with Bordeaux-style blends hailing from Spain, this jumped off the page for its apparent uniqueness, older vintage, and seemingly mismatched price—a slim $45.
Weighing our peaked curiosity against the ethical implications of taking advantage of a potential menu misprint, we calmly ordered the bottle, trying our best to exude the vibe of “nothing to see here… everybody be cool.” Our excitement confirmed at first sip, this Cab Franc / Merlot blend was a knockout that evolved beautifully, even over the short time we were at the table. 10+ years under its belt, it was still tightly coiled and full of personality and verve, winding a seductively unexpected road as it opened up.
Diving further into the background of the winery, our bottle decision was reaffirmed and even more points awarded to the value scale. Joan Ramon Escoda and Carmen Sanahuja produce a precious 2,500 cases each year from their sustainably farmed vineyards. While they’ve operated organically since day one (their first plantings went in in 1997), they have been employing biodynamic practices for the past 15 years across their 10 hectare farm, which also includes livestock, almond trees, olive groves, and vegetable gardens. Joan Ramón Escoda describes the farm as "a living organism," on which they can produce their own compost "without any trace of chemical residues, which is fundamental for working the land in a natural way." Continuing their natural winemaking philosophies in the cellar, Escoda Sanahuja relies on spontaneous fermentations and no added sulfur to their wines.
Again, all of this for $45 (an incredible restaurant deal considering this bottle sells for ~$35 retail online.) In fact, there is an entire section on the Bizou menu priced at exactly this level. If our first swing in the dark landed us this gem, we can only imagine what else is hiding on the list.