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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Tim York » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:10 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Are you having any luck finding Telma Rodrigues? Maybe Joe will find some in his area eh.


No Telmo Rodriguez round here, Bob. Fintan Kerr, who obviously knows his way round Spanish wine, says they even manage to produce a wine without exaggeration in Ribera del Duero.

Even poorer choice here of Spaniards than of Italians but I did happen to find a couple of nice ones at a caviste in Caen; this old vine Garnacha and a young Rioja Finca Monica. The plonk growers from Languedoc have the habit on emptying tankers of Spanish wine onto the motorway :evil: .
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Joe Moryl » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:12 pm

Jenise wrote:
Joe Moryl wrote:FWIW, I believe a white Rioja raised under flor is a bit of an oddity.


I would guess so--that takes some work, so it's more expensive to produce, for one. But still, I wouldn't rule out that it's a lot more common over there, either because there's little interest on this end or because there isn't enough produced to export much.


According to the Rioja book by Jesús Barquín and Luis Gutierrez Capellania is a more modern version of a classic white Rioja formerly produced at Murietta, made in an oxidative style and with lots of oak influence. No flor involved, and I've never heard of this being used in Rioja. Capellania is 100% Viura from an old-vine vineyard which sees almost two years in French oak.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Jenise » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:36 pm

Tres Picos is dreadful, an over-oaked mess. But because of it and maybe a couple others encountered along the way I've avoided Spanish Grenache, at least of the under $10-ish variety and I can't say I've ever run into any better versions so there goes the whole category. Retailers in my area don't even stock domestic Grenache because the only interest is at the $10 level. People with $30 to spend will buy a different grape.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Tim York » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:46 am

Sierra Cantabria is a Rioja marque of the Eguren family. It produces a very versatile range of wines from the modern “wow” worthy, but IMO good, cuvées like Coleccion Privada, Finca El Bosque, Amancio to the also good traditional range carrying Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva back labels. The Eguren family also produces the very good Rioja San Vicente made in a restrained and harmonious modern style.

Sierra Cantabria has a good website and I found this quite detailed information about the Reserva in its 2007 version http://www.sierracantabria.com/reposito ... 7%20EN.pdf. Note that only 20% of the barrels are new and that 50% are of French oak, which is not so traditional but may partly account for such a discreet showing of wood.

2004 Bodegas Sierra Cantabria Rioja Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (3/11/2017)
I opened a bottle of this in 2012 and wrote "I don’t usually open Reserva Rioja as young as this but I appreciated its youthful showing of deep colour, quite full body, vigour and vibrancy of its cherry and kirsch tinged red fruit, its lively acidity and its unusually strong tannic backbone as well as the restraint of its oak flavours, again unusual in young Rioja. A lot more life here, I think". 5 years on, apart from the references to youth, that TN remains appropriate after minimal editing. I have to admit that it lacks the magic of the great 20-30+ year old GRs and Reservas which I have had from the likes of Imperial and Viña Real in vintages from the 50s to the 80s. Will that magic develop with more time? Who knows? Nevertheless very good.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:00 am

The 2007 looks promising Tim. I have seen various vintages around town too.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Jenise » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:40 pm

Shared a bunch of tempranillos with friends two weeks ago. All were Spanish but one, which stood out in the worst way.

1982 Bodegas Olarra Rioja Otoñal
My wine. Very pale browning pink color. On the nose mushrooms, cherries, cocoa, diluted root beer, orange peel, old leather and something old and fragile I knew in my grandmother's house. Grew even more compelling with time in the glass. After two hours, still singing.

2007 Bodegas Ostatu Rioja Alavesa Valpardillo, Ruancho
Also my wine. Aged 92 months in SS. This stood out for presenting so young amid wines of similar age. Spicy, good acidity, big fruit, aggressive tannins. Huge aging potential but not ready now.

2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia
Bart's bottle. Ah, now THIS is what I want from Rioja. Just med body, complex spice cake, dried orange peel, dried cherries, well-balanced and complete.

2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Bosconia
Initial baby poo nose fades after about ten minutes leaving orange peel, pruney-jammy ripeness, and serious tannins. Not a great bottle.

2011 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Imperial Reserva
Tastes more like sangiovese than Rioja with upfront sandalwood, then spice. Classy overall, fruit opens in the mouth. Loved this.

2013 Coyote Canyon Winery Tempranillo Horse Heaven Hills, WA
Vinegar nose, lots of Hershey bar sweetness, smokey, very modern. Stood out like a giraffe in a sheep herd among the Spanish tempranillos.

2001 Bodegas Franco-Españolas Tempranillo Rioja Baron d'Anglade Reserva
Silky, integrated, beautiful--it's mature Rioja-esque with dates, spice cake and orange peel, but there's an interesting bit of mint too. Very old school, greatly enjoyable.

2001 Dominio Pingus Ribera del Duero Flor de Pingus
Also my bottle. Very dark, bigger and less evolved than anticipated than last bottle circa 2012, and it showed more oak. Blackberry fruit with sage on the palate. Okay-good but lacked the development expected so overall a disappointment
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Tim York » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:23 pm

That's a fine tasting, Jenise. I have several questions.

Jenise wrote:
1982 Bodegas Olarra Rioja Otoñal
My wine. Very pale browning pink color. On the nose mushrooms, cherries, cocoa, diluted root beer, orange peel, old leather and something old and fragile I knew in my grandmother's house. Grew even more compelling with time in the glass. After two hours, still singing.


Was there no ageing grade, i.e. Crianza, Reserva, GR, on that wine? I think that vintages 35 years ago nearly always carried one though as I am writing this I recall some sublime bottles of Imperial 1966 which didn't. An "expert" told me that it was probably aged to Reserva specifications.

2007 Bodegas Ostatu Rioja Alavesa Valpardillo, Ruancho
Also my wine. Aged 92 months in SS. This stood out for presenting so young amid wines of similar age. Spicy, good acidity, big fruit, aggressive tannins. Huge aging potential but not ready now.


What do you mean by SS? Stainless Steel? I've never heard of that in Rioja but it would be a refreshing change from the varying degrees of woodiness otherwise encountered in this region.

2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia
Bart's bottle. Ah, now THIS is what I want from Rioja. Just med body, complex spice cake, dried orange peel, dried cherries, well-balanced and complete.


This wine is still on sale at Spanish web sellers for about €25. It sounds just my thing and your TN might just tip me in the direction of ordering. I'm trying to save money on wine. Help :shock: .

2011 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Imperial Reserva
Tastes more like sangiovese than Rioja with upfront sandalwood, then spice. Classy overall, fruit opens in the mouth. Loved this.


Some people claim that CVNE's Imperial and Viña Real are becoming too "modern" and are not equal to their mostly superb efforts up to and including the 80s. This TN is very reassuring though the 6th year would in the past have been very young to be enjoying such a wine.


2001 Dominio Pingus Ribera del Duero Flor de Pingus
Also my bottle. Very dark, bigger and less evolved than anticipated than last bottle circa 2012, and it showed more oak. Blackberry fruit with sage on the palate. Okay-good but lacked the development expected so overall a disappointment


Is Flor de Pingus the "grand vin" or a second wine? A few years ago I had the opportunity of having a glass of Pingus for about €50; I declined!! On the other hand, tasting some wines from the Vega Sicilia stable for a similar price was well worth it!!!!
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Joe Moryl » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:16 pm

2015 Coto de Gomariz X, D.O. Ribeiro: This is 95% Albarino and 5% Treixadura, organically grown, fermented in steel with ambient yeast, and aged on the lees until bottling. The X stands for Xisto, which is Gallego (and Portuguese) for Schist. More golden than one might expect from a young white, but extremely fresh and vibrant. Marzipan, sea breeze on the nose, green apple, tangerine skin and almond on the palate. A tiny touch of bitterness and a very long finish. The balance of fruit, mineral and acidity is very well judged. Hard to put down, this is fantastic value for less than $20. 13.5% abv.

Ribeiro is the Spanish region just north of the Monção/Melgaço region of Portugal, with a similar assortment of grape varieties (e.g. Alvarinho and Trajadura are the names on the other side of the border).
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:29 am

As always Joe, you seem to find a wine that draws my attention! Sure sounds like a white I would enjoy.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Jenise » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:21 pm

Tim York wrote: Was there no ageing grade, i.e. Crianza, Reserva, GR, on that wine?


No. Though there's no sign of there having been another label that somehow fell off over the years (I bought it about two years ago from the Rare Wine Co in Sonoma), we all wondered if that isn't what happened.

Yes, on the Ostatu, stainless steel. I've never encountered it before either.

And yes on the 04 LdH Tondonia.

Some people claim that CVNE's Imperial and Viña Real are becoming too "modern" and are not equal to their mostly superb efforts up to and including the 80s. This TN is very reassuring though the 6th year would in the past have been very young to be enjoying such a wine.


The first Vina Real I ever had was the '86 vintage in either '92 or '93. I lived in Alaska at the time and was tasting my first Spanish wines and of them all, this was the one that won my heart. We took a bottle to one of Anchorage's best restaurants where the proprietor was a major burgophile, and tasting it blind he believed it to be a grand cru burgundy (a DRC specifically, no less). Obviously, it made quite the impression on me. Btw, gratuitous detail: we shared that first Vina Real with a friend named Mark. His wife had just had a baby, a miracle baby as she was told she'd never be able to get pregnant. They named the boy Calvin, and eventually life interfered with the friendship. They moved to Washington and Bob and I moved to California. Then Bob and I moved here and for unrelated reason so did they, after which little Calvin caught some dreadful child disease and died suddenly. Mark and Sue divorced, both found new partners, and it was Mark who all these years later brought this Vina Real to this tasting. Life is almost too real, sometimes! But back to the wine: I just gave you an example of a Vina Real that showed VERY well at 6-7 years, so maybe the style really hasn't changed so much.

Is Flor de Pingus the "grand vin" or a second wine? A few years ago I had the opportunity of having a glass of Pingus for about €50; I declined!! On the other hand, tasting some wines from the Vega Sicilia stable for a similar price was well worth it!!!!


It's not the grand vin but it's not a second wine in the usual sense. It's more an 'other' wine. That is, it's not the demoted barrels of Pingus, it's from a completely different vineyard area and a different blend.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Tim York » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:35 am

Sad story about Mark, Sue and little Calvin :( . I'm glad Mark and Sue found new partners. Glad too that the top CVNEs still seem to be on form :D .
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:42 pm

Tempranillo from Valencia? Not an area one usually comes across a lot so did I make a good choice?

2012 Antonio Arraez Valencia Eduardo Bermejo, Valencia

Nice ruby red color, cherry and berry nose. Plummy, medium-bodied, supple tannins, could be too fruity and sweet for some but appealed to us after huge snow removal project!! Not a big bold style but appealed but no wows. Here is some added info>

The Valencia DOT lies near the center of Spain's east coast, although most of the region's vineyards are found inland rather than near the sea. The DO is divided into four sub-regions, Valentino, Alto Turia, Moscatel and Clariano. Valentino, the largest sub-region, lies northeast of the city of Valencia. Its soils are mostly limestone. Alto Turia, which is found west of the city, has sandy soils with some chalk. Most Alto Turia winemakers produce white wines. Moscatel, named for the grape that makes the DO's dessert wine, is a low-lying area just southwest of Valencia city. Clariano is the sub-region farthest to the south; its soils consist mostly of limestone, with some clay in the western area.

Valencia's climate varies from place to place, thanks to its location on the Mediterranean Sea and the varying altitudes within the region. Near the sea, Valencia's climate is Mediterranean, but the climate inland is much more continental. Wherever you go in Valencia, you will find extreme variations in temperature. Low temperatures can dip below freezing, while high temperatures can reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Rainfall varies from place to place, with averages as low as 11 inches per year and as high as 22 inches. Hail and high winds can also be problematic for growers.

Because of its extreme swings in temperature, the Valencia DO's wine aging regulations differ from those in the rest of Spain. Winemakers may, if they choose, age crianza wines in casks for only three months. Reserva wines must be aged in casks for a minimum of six months; the aging period is nine months for gran reserva wines. Some Valencia winemakers prefer to use the national standards.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by David M. Bueker » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:28 pm

2011 Bodegas Muga Rioja Selección Especial - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (3/19/2017)
Whenever a new vintage of this wine comes out I buy and open a test bottle. My reaction for the last 20+ years has always been similar: why did I open this?

Rich, fruity and lashed with the usual oak, this is an infant and only interesting now as a cocktail beverage. That being said, it has plenty of depth, and should round into form wi extended cellaring. It always has in prior vintages, with the fifteen year old version being more interesting than it was in its youth.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Sue Courtney » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:28 pm

Spain is quite well represented in NZ, especially at the cheaper end. Still I miss the American-oak saturated sumptuous tasting Reserva and Gran Reserva wines with gold wire netting that I fell in love with in my early wine appreciation years.

I'm seeing more and more of early drinking styles closed with screwcaps - this is important in this country as not many of the younger generation know what a corkscrew is. One I particularly like is the organically farmed Mesta Tempranillo 2015 by Bodegas Y Viñedos Fontana from Ucles in Spain about 100 kilometres south east of Madrid. It has a circular pattern of sheep on the label and the back label explains this is to do with the annual migration of sheep through the area. This is an easy-drinker, great to take to a social occasion with rellies or non-wine geek friends. The aromas remind me of summer berry compote cooking down on the stove and the soft smoke-infused flavours are dark, juicy and fruity with enough savouriness and structure in behind and a kick of spice on the finish. 13.5% abv.

Took it to a Spanish-themed night and the wine was fabulous with mushroom tarts; chorizo sausages; garlic prawns; chorizo and prawn combos; a pepper tomato spread on bruschetta (this was an OMG moment -and yes, definitely roasted tomato flavours in the wine) ; and lastly meatballs where the inclusion of finely chopped chorizo added a smoky intrigue. I thought the wine fresh, modern, generous and versatile. It costs $14.99 on promotion in NZ.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:51 pm

Nice Sue, sounds similar to my red from Valencia.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Joe Moryl » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:30 pm

2010 Vina Alberdi Reserva, La Rioja Alta, Rioja: Medium dark carmine with some brownish tints. The dill-vanilla notes on the nose carry over to the palate, where it is joined by some cassis and blueberry fruit, nice structure and some bright acids. It is clear that this has spent two years in American oak, and while it was not totally swamped by the wood, the wine overall is a bit too straightforward at this time. Not very many nuances to savor. Interestingly, this wine is labeled 'crianza' in Spain and 'reserva' elsewhere - wonder what is up with that? 100% Tempranillo, 13.5% abv.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:04 am

Joe, did you leave anything for day 2? I did yesterday with a 2004 Allende and what a transformation..
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Tim York » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:31 am

Sue Courtney wrote:I'm seeing more and more of early drinking styles closed with screwcaps - this is important in this country as not many of the younger generation know what a corkscrew is.


Less than 10 years ago a German oenologist who was partner in a Spanish estate told me that she would not sell a single bottle in Spain if she used screwcaps. Recently I bought a nice Spanish Garnacha under screwcap and in France to boot, not exactly a screwcap friendly country. I'm wondering if the Spanish market's attitude to screwcaps is changing or whether they are simply tailoring their closures to the markets where they are exporting.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Joe Moryl » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:55 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Joe, did you leave anything for day 2? I did yesterday with a 2004 Allende and what a transformation..


Bob, none for the next day, but we did drink it over the course of a day. The wine was certainly more expressive after a couple hours, but then seemed simpler after maybe 8 hours. Can't be sure if this was due to my palate or the actual arc of the wine.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Jenise » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:32 pm

Over the weekend a box labeled "Mixed Roses" in my husband's hand showed up on the pile of wine in the garage that doesn't fit into the cellar at the moment. Odd, I thought, what could this be? Well it's a mixed case of 750's I bought for the summer of 2015: it was somehow 'misfiled' (I think it ended up under his band saw, or behind some luggage).

So last night we opened a 2014 Marques de Caceras Dry Rose from that box. It's deeply pigmented as so many of the Spanish roses are, and drank well especially after the slight adjustment of an ice cube to both add a few degrees of chill and dilute the sweet edge off the finish. Tasted of red rose petals, and paired beautifully with a plate of watermelon radish slices and salumi from Armandino Batali.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:27 pm

Never thought I would see a bag in a box review here on Focus...has to be a first :( .

TN: N.V. Emilio Lustau (Almacenista) Jerz-Xeres-Sherry Oloroso Pata del Gallina 1/38 Jarana.

20 years old and comes from the oldest solera holding 38 butts. Deep amber color, very attractive. Splendid aromas of walnuts, molasses, quite toffee-ish. Dried fruits, old oak, "figs" from across the table.
Initial entry thought is dried nuts, hint of sweetness, clove for sure. Think some orange zest here along with medium level of acidity. "Nice richness, nutty, powerful" as we tuck into dates and manchego.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Sue Courtney » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:34 pm

Tim York wrote:
Sue Courtney wrote:I'm seeing more and more of early drinking styles closed with screwcaps - this is important in this country as not many of the younger generation know what a corkscrew is.


Less than 10 years ago a German oenologist who was partner in a Spanish estate told me that she would not sell a single bottle in Spain if she used screwcaps. Recently I bought a nice Spanish Garnacha under screwcap and in France to boot, not exactly a screwcap friendly country. I'm wondering if the Spanish market's attitude to screwcaps is changing or whether they are simply tailoring their closures to the markets where they are exporting.


I think they are definitely tailoring the closures for the NZ market. Seeing Frenchies too, Alsace whites especially but also cheapie reds from Rhone and Languedoc.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Sue Courtney » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:45 pm

Albarino is becoming quite trendy with diversifying NZ wine producers but this delicious Spanish number sets a benchmark for them to aspire to I think.

Gotas de Mar Albarino 2015, Rias Baixas, Spain
Sunshine in colour with a striking lemon verbena and tropical fruit bouquet then crisp, racy and teeth tingling in the palate but underneath quite textural with bright flavours reminiscent of stonefruit, mandarin, ginger and aromatic herbs. Very refreshing on the night.
13.5% abv. Cork closure. NZ$22.99.

What's more it really stands out with its striking blue bottle with three wide white-silver bands on the lower body. Impressed all round.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2017: Wines of Spain

by Jenise » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:31 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Never thought I would see a bag in a box review here on Focus...has to be a first :( .


Bob, if you're responding to me then you misunderstood. That wasn't a box wine, just a bottle of wine in a box that got lost in the garage. Felt I should explain that I don't normally age roses.

Btw, I did experience two Spanish box wines last week. And I'm not going to report them here!
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