|A recent Wine Guy purchase |
in Cuenca, Ecuador
An order of Discalced Carmelite Nuns has existed in Cuenca, Ecuador since 1682. By 1730, the order's monastery was part of a complex that included the Sanctuario Mariano, a beautiful white baroque church nearly adjacent to the Nuevo Catedral in Cuenca and home of a very popular flower market on the plaza in front. In the corner is a lobby where the cloistered nuns have non visual interaction with the public via a turnstile where they vend among other things, soap, dulce de leche and wine.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The wine is a traditional vino de consagrar and has been approved for use as a sacramental wine by the archbishop of Cuenca. Vino de Consegrar by traditional and church regulation utilizes concentrated must of white grapes and then is aged in large oak barrels. Concentrated grape must is the unfiltered squeezings that comes from the crushing of grapes to produce juice. Being produced from must insures a high concentration of sugars so it is a very sweet wine. This aging imparts a golden bronze coloration and concentration of flavors giving most of these wines a rich fig and raisin aroma and flavor. While many must-produced wines are often in single digits for alcohol content, Vina Florida offered by the Carmelite Sisters of Cuenca comes in at 11%. That's not particularly high for wine, but the combination of double digit alcohol content with a good deal of residual sugar can lead to a pretty rapid "buzz" if consumed too quickly. Because your body burns sugar first, then later metabolizes alcohol, the combination of the two together will simply lead to a quicker concentration of blood alcohol content.
Santuario Mariano in Cuenca
Photo courtesy of Rich and Nancy's blog:
Recently Vina Florida has become available at retail here in the Wine Guy's new hometown of Cuenca. (I secured my bottle at a local co-op market). It's at a higher price than what you will pay through the vendor turnstile at the Monasterio del Carmen de la Ascuncion but it is still affordable, particularly by Ecuadorian standards. If you are looking for a sweet treat to sip at sunset or to share with your dinner guests, you may want to try a bottle of Vina Florida. It may satisfy those who have moved here and miss their former availability of late harvest wines.
While Mrs. Wine Guy and I normally prefer bold, dry red wine wines, we did enjoy straying over to the sweeter side in trying this locally available wine.