The Alto Moncayo Veraton was uncorked during a patio dedication party at my cousin Mary’s place in Huntington Beach. It was quite a party – until the police arrived – but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Mary and her husband Cleve live a short walk from the beach in California’s Surf City, also known as Huntington Beach. The houses are all pricey, built close together and have narrow street frontage, but often have patios in the back.
On this day, Mary and Cleve were unveiling their new patio in front. They put in a concrete pad, had some nice stonework done and added a gate. It’s just about right for four to six people to sit and observe street life and be able to spy the ocean waves down the road to the right.
Uncharacteristically, it was rainy in southern California during our visit, so after much noodling around with connectors and aluminum poles, erected a little canopy over the front porch. Barbecued shrimp and other treats were soon being cooked.
A dozen or more guests soon arrived, many bearing gifts of wine. Cousin’s cellar was well stocked to start with as they recently won a case of wine at a charity event. One of their friends, however, brought this magnificent Spanish Garnacha.
Alto Moncayo is located in the Campo de Borja district, which is in northwest Spain’s Aragon region. Veraton is produced from vines 30 to 50 years in age.
I was assisting with the wine pouring duties and we decanted this bottle. the decanting allowed the wine to open up, but even so, this is an immense wine.
It has deep chocolate and balsam notes with rumbling deep, dark fruit. The wine is warming and the finish long lingering. It’s a rich and aromatic wine.
We were enjoying the wine on the front patio and, as the crowd grew, another group camped out in the back patio. The houses are just feet apart and so through an acoustic anomaly, the noise in the front and the noise in the back bounced back and forth, united and somehow ticked off a neighbor.
The Green Dragon, who was helping with the cooking and other arrangements, didn’t help matters. At one point Cleve made a comment about her gaucho style belt. He asked her if she had won an international boxing federation championship. She popped up and started to wrap the belt around Cleve. There was a bit of shouting and mayhem.
Most the commotion had died down and just the four of us were in the back sipping one of the 15 bottles that were consumed that night when a knock came on the door. “This is the police,” came the voice.
Mary soon had the situation in hand and we scooted inside to enjoy the rest of the early morning conversation…
Rating: 4 of 5 Value: 4 of 5 (based on $30 cost)