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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by John S » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:11 pm

I bought a few bottles of this on closeout and I'm glad I did. A rather unusual region and blend (a grenache and cabernet blend from Tarragona), it was a very interesting wine, though certainly on the big, powerful side.

2010 Vinyes del Terrer (Joan Morell) Tarragona NUS del Terrer - Spain, Catalunya, Tarragona (2017-12-24)
This was a deep, big, ripe, concentrated wine with solid tannins that managed to stay out of over the top territory. The cabernet is the dominant grape at the moment, with lots of blackfruit flavours with a touch of minerality. Not showing much complexity now, I'll wait on my other two bottles for several years. (B+/A-).
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Tim York » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:56 am

Sue Courtney wrote:Are you seeing many Spanish wines with screwcap? I'm not sure if it is general worldwide or because the wines are coming into New Zealand where many of the younger generation drinkers don't own a corkscrew. Mostly on the cheaper wines. Like this one I had last the local wine shop where I write the tasting notes.



I was surprised to pick up a Spanish wine under screwcap at a caviste in Caen. Neither Spain nor France are friendly towards screwcaps, which are generally associated by the consumer with cheap and nasty plonk. However, I'll probably have to wait a long time before I see another. For those who wish to sell into New Zealand, it obviously makes sense to provide screwcap closures.

Modern minded French (and possibly Spanish) producers know about the merits of screwcaps. I have heard Olivier Humbecht talking about them. But I think it will be a long time before more than a trickle of middle and upmarket bottlings appear on the domestic market with that closure.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Sue Courtney » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:05 pm

Tim York wrote:
Sue Courtney wrote:Are you seeing many Spanish wines with screwcap? I'm not sure if it is general worldwide or because the wines are coming into New Zealand where many of the younger generation drinkers don't own a corkscrew. Mostly on the cheaper wines. Like this one I had last the local wine shop where I write the tasting notes.



I was surprised to pick up a Spanish wine under screwcap at a caviste in Caen. Neither Spain nor France are friendly towards screwcaps, which are generally associated by the consumer with cheap and nasty plonk. However, I'll probably have to wait a long time before I see another. For those who wish to sell into New Zealand, it obviously makes sense to provide screwcap closures.

Modern minded French (and possibly Spanish) producers know about the merits of screwcaps. I have heard Olivier Humbecht talking about them. But I think it will be a long time before more than a trickle of middle and upmarket bottlings appear on the domestic market with that closure.


Thanks for that Tim. We see upmarket Alsace wines with screwcap also. Is there still cheap and nasty plonk around? I guess we don't see it here as the wine importers don't bring it in. The Spanish reds under screwcap are in the lower price category but all juicy and value for money quaffable.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Jenise » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:40 pm

John S wrote:I bought a few bottles of this on closeout and I'm glad I did. A rather unusual region and blend (a grenache and cabernet blend from Tarragona), it was a very interesting wine, though certainly on the big, powerful side.

2010 Vinyes del Terrer (Joan Morell) Tarragona NUS del Terrer - Spain, Catalunya, Tarragona (2017-12-24)
This was a deep, big, ripe, concentrated wine with solid tannins that managed to stay out of over the top territory. The cabernet is the dominant grape at the moment, with lots of blackfruit flavours with a touch of minerality. Not showing much complexity now, I'll wait on my other two bottles for several years. (B+/A-).


I don't know that I've ever had the blend before, but on a lark I recently picked up three bottles of a new Cayuse release based on this model from Spain--called La Rata.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:43 pm

2012 Dominio de Tares Mencia Bierzo.

Good cork, decanted one hour. $24 Cdn, 14% alc, Lot 3.

Deep ruby with plum rim. Very aromatic nose with spice, oak,cherry, earthy, some herbal influence here.
Initial entry thought was so-so mid palate, still tannic on the finish but not overoaked like many from this area. Earthy, rich fruit, plum, cherry, medium acidity sure needs time to open up and still good on day 3. "Overall dry" from across the table but I thought tad more ripeness on day 2. I thought it was quite complex and a nice style.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Tim York » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:03 am

Hands up those who had heard of Bierzo (and Mencia/Jaen) as little as 15 years ago!

My first awareness of it was about 10 years ago when I was bowled over by the combination of Côte Rôtie type freshness and elegance with Iberian generosity in a Bierzo Petalos from Palacios. Unless my memory of that first acquaintance is deceiving me, subsequent vintages of Petalos have become a lot more oaky as well as dearer.

Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra (both from Mencia in reds) are a good illustration of the way in which Spain is (re)inventing new quality wine regions using local grape varieties and not the usual international warhorses. Another outstanding example, albeit a bit older, is Priorat with Valdeorras, Canary Islands, etc. coming up, if not already arrived.

When I was a regular business visitor to Spain in the 70s, the only areas which seemed to count were Rioja, Jerez and Ribera del Duero for Vega Sicilia, which was often cited as Spain's great red wine. I daresay that local connoisseurs were even then able to unearth a few treasures in the "new" regions but their fame did not travel.

I managed to buy a couple of bottles of Bierzo produced by the Scottish oenologist, Norrel Robertson, during a recent call in Brussels and hope to open one before the end of the month.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by win_fried » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:59 pm

Tim York:Côte Rôtie type freshness and elegance with Iberian generosity in a Bierzo Petalos from Palacios. Unless my memory of that first acquaintance is deceiving me, subsequent vintages of Petalos have become a lot more oaky as well as dearer.


Well, the Petalos recently has become one of our favourite quality quaffers. My wife said "we don't do this with food", so we opened a bottle accompanied just by some Gaeta black olives:

WTN: Descendentes de J. Palacios, Bierzo, Petalos 2015
Purple colour with carmesin reflexes at the rim. Nose of black fruit, cherry, black currant and pepper. Palate reveals a firm structure, still quite tannic; we find cherry, maraschino, almond and tobacco. The oak is somewhere in the background and the finish is short. Nevertheless very nice for a basic bottling.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Tim York » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:00 am

win_fried wrote:
Tim York:Côte Rôtie type freshness and elegance with Iberian generosity in a Bierzo Petalos from Palacios. Unless my memory of that first acquaintance is deceiving me, subsequent vintages of Petalos have become a lot more oaky as well as dearer.


Well, the Petalos recently has become one of our favourite quality quaffers. My wife said "we don't do this with food", so we opened a bottle accompanied just by some Gaeta black olives:

WTN: Descendentes de J. Palacios, Bierzo, Petalos 2015
Purple colour with carmesin reflexes at the rim. Nose of black fruit, cherry, black currant and pepper. Palate reveals a firm structure, still quite tannic; we find cherry, maraschino, almond and tobacco. The oak is somewhere in the background and the finish is short. Nevertheless very nice for a basic bottling.


Thanks for that, win_fried. It sounds as if I should take another look at Petalos in the 2015 vintage, if I see a bottle. That's not very likely in France; I passed one by on my last visit to Brussels because the asking price was >€20.

I opened the Bierzo from Norrel Robertson last night and liked it -

2014 El Escoces Volante Bierzo Mencía The Cup & Rings - Spain, Castilla y León, Bierzo (1/24/2018)
I tend to be put off by fantasy wine names like this one but Norrel Robertson's signature reassured and I bought a couple of bottles. Blind, I would place this from Atlantic France rather than Spain for the brightness and purity of its berry fruit and its fine minerality. Medium bodied at most and moreish with fresh acidity, it showed more roundness and complexity towards the end of the bottle but it did not have that quasi-N.Rhône touch that I have often found in Bierzo. Good.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by win_fried » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:15 am

It sounds as if I should take another look at Petalos in the 2015 vintage, if I see a bottle. That's not very likely in France; I passed one by on my last visit to Brussels because the asking price was >€20.


You probably should, but not at that price point. That would be a pass for me as well. The Petalos seems to be widely available in Germany. My local dealer carries it for 13,90€ and presently in an 11+1 offering :roll:
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WTN: Tamaral Ribeira del Duero Reserva 2010

by win_fried » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:19 pm

Decanted for 150 minutes.

Colour: Blueish red, quite dark, ruby reflexes.
Nose: Cassis, slightly alcoholic, green bell pepper, some vanilla.
Palate: Cassis, licorice, green bell pepper, hint of burnt caramel; decent length.

Perfect match for a rack of lamb Majorcan style with green beans.
Nice.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Sue Courtney » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:58 pm

Tim York wrote:Thanks for that, win_fried. It sounds as if I should take another look at Petalos in the 2015 vintage, if I see a bottle. That's not very likely in France; I passed one by on my last visit to Brussels because the asking price was >€20.


I think we are all quite price conscious and wary of inflated prices. IMHO Spain is one country that produces very satisfying reds without having to break the piggy bank. I've not tried the Petalos but see the 2015 is selling here in NZ for $26, which puts in in the moderately expensive category. NZD$26 is equivalent to about €15 or USD$19 on todays exchange rate.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Tim York » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:30 am

Sue Courtney wrote:
Tim York wrote:Thanks for that, win_fried. It sounds as if I should take another look at Petalos in the 2015 vintage, if I see a bottle. That's not very likely in France; I passed one by on my last visit to Brussels because the asking price was >€20.


I think we are all quite price conscious and wary of inflated prices. IMHO Spain is one country that produces very satisfying reds without having to break the piggy bank. I've not tried the Petalos but see the 2015 is selling here in NZ for $26, which puts in in the moderately expensive category. NZD$26 is equivalent to about €15 or USD$19 on todays exchange rate.


Wow, that's a good price for that wine having travelled round the world to get to NZ. The price at Decantolo mail order is €13,35/bottle for 6 or €14,25 for 1 plus freight to destination. Win_fried's price is very good too; it seems to me that there are a lot of good wine bargains in Germany.

In defence of Belgium, I would say that the >20€ price was in a Brussels gourmets' temple frequented by the wealthy bourgeoisie bruxelloise and by overpaid Eurocrats. I am sure that it would be much less at the importer, whose excellent tastings I sometimes went to when I was living in Belgium.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Sue Courtney » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:06 pm

One from the cellar

Cato de Hayas 2009 Reserva, Campo de Borja DO
by Bodegas Aragonesas
100% Garnacha, American & French oak 15 month, 14% abv.
cork closure - very firm to pull and very little staining.
opened 26/1/2018

Excellent concentration to the saturated deep garnet red hue.
There’s a dusty note to the scent - dusty oak, hints of tar, mocha and succulent wild bramble berries all following through to the warm, high-toned, spicy palate.
The acidity is fresh and lively and it’s quite oaky still - like a lovingly polished favourite piece of furniture. The tannins are dry upfront then dissolve into the winey succulence of the fruit and it’s juicy on the lingering finish with cherry and vanillin notes then the oaky dryness of the wine kicks in again.

This was an excellent accompaniment to sirloin steak sizzled with fresh rosemary and mint and finished with pomegranate molasses which mirrored the high-tones in the wine. I think it cost about NZ$26.

Where is Campo de Borja? It’s in central northern Spain about 360 kilometres west of Barcelona by road.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Tim York » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:12 am

Can anyone here point to significant differences between the wines of Rioja and those of Ribera del Duero, Vega Sicilia apart, which is unique? I can't; except that the equivalent does not seem to exist in Ribera del Duero of the traditional style of Rioja with relatively light body and colour, having had extensive ageing in mainly used American oak barrels. Perhaps the wines of Ribera may on average be fuller bodied and more structured than Rioja but there are plenty of "modern" blockbusters in the latter, so I wouldn't be confident about that. Here's a nice one from Ribera -

2011 Condado de Haza Ribera del Duero Crianza - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (1/28/2018)
This is the entry level Rivera del Duero from the stable of Alejandro Fernandez (Pesquera). His wines used to have sort of cult status but seem to have dimmed on radar screens lately. Having read some TNs here commenting on the presence of American oak, I approached this with misgivings and was delighted to find that IMO it was perfectly integrated into the quite full bodied palate with rich, round but lively sweet cherry infused fruit, sprinklings of leather and spice, velvety texture, decent acidity and ripe but firm backbone. Current vintages can be had from Spain for c.€12 + transport and that is superb QPR. Very good.

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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Ken Schechet » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:57 am

Tim York wrote:Can anyone here point to significant differences between the wines of Rioja and those of Ribera del Duero, Vega Sicilia apart, which is unique? I can't; except that the equivalent does not seem to exist in Ribera del Duero of the traditional style of Rioja with relatively light body and colour, having had extensive ageing in mainly used American oak barrels. Perhaps the wines of Ribera may on average be fuller bodied


I'm no expert but I think the Ribera's are considerably fuller bodied, more robust, generally higher alcohol and, if you will, more "masculine". Rioja's to me are a little more floral, lighter, brighter and perhaps drier. In general they seem to have higher acidity. There are Rioja's that you could have with fish.

A Ribera that I've been drinking a lot of lately is Ardal Reserva, which is a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, 80-20. Black fruit, black pepper and cloves on the nose. A really nice wine with meat. Spectator gave it 94 which might be a little enthusiastic. But it's a steal at around $20. If I can find any more of it I really need to buy enough to put some down for a few years. I think it would really get even better. But I have a hard time not drinking it.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Tim York » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:49 am

Ken Schechet wrote:
Tim York wrote:Can anyone here point to significant differences between the wines of Rioja and those of Ribera del Duero, Vega Sicilia apart, which is unique? I can't; except that the equivalent does not seem to exist in Ribera del Duero of the traditional style of Rioja with relatively light body and colour, having had extensive ageing in mainly used American oak barrels. Perhaps the wines of Ribera may on average be fuller bodied


I'm no expert but I think the Ribera's are considerably fuller bodied, more robust, generally higher alcohol and, if you will, more "masculine". Rioja's to me are a little more floral, lighter, brighter and perhaps drier. In general they seem to have higher acidity. There are Rioja's that you could have with fish.



Yes, I think that's probably right, Ken. I too have had young Rioja light enough to go with fish. I lack the experience to state categorically that similar light wines do not exist in Ribera del Duero but I doubt strongly that they are easy to find. Nevertheless I feel that there is a strong family resemblance (both predominately from Tempranillo of course). If I had, say, Contino and Alion side by side blind, I would bet on the bigger one being Alion but am not sure that I would always be right.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Jon Leifer » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:05 pm

2016 Santiago Ruiz..DO Rias Baixas...My daughter brought this one back from Spain for me last September..Back label provides some history about Senor Ruiz, when the winery was founded and where it is located but does not speak to the wine or grapes. Up front, the label provides a map locating the winery..I am thinking Albarino.. ..A little poking around via Google and Wine Searcher indicates that it is indeed an Albarino and is available here in USA.
That being said, this is a floral , full bodied white, stone fruit notes, primarily peach, custard as well and perhaps some minerality on the finish..A lovely mouthful..went very well with grilled chicken breast and Jasmine rice. While admittedly not an Albarino Maven, this may well be the best Albarino I have tasted, your mileage may vary.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Tim York » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:50 pm

Jon Leifer wrote:2016 Santiago Ruiz..DO Rias Baixas...My daughter brought this one back from Spain for me last September..Back label provides some history about Senor Ruiz, when the winery was founded and where it is located but does not speak to the wine or grapes. Up front, the label provides a map locating the winery..I am thinking Albarino.. ..A little poking around via Google and Wine Searcher indicates that it is indeed an Albarino and is available here in USA.
That being said, this is a floral , full bodied white, stone fruit notes, primarily peach, custard as well and perhaps some minerality on the finish..A lovely mouthful..went very well with grilled chicken breast and Jasmine rice. While admittedly not an Albarino Maven, this may well be the best Albarino I have tasted, your mileage may vary.


My information is that a wine labelled Rias Baixas only, Rias Baixas + a sub-zone or Rias Baixas + barricas indicating barrel ageing must contain at least 70% Albariño. Only wines labelled Rias Baixas Albariño must come 100% from Albariño.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Jon Leifer » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:35 pm

As Tom Hill might say..YUP..while Googling around , my wife found a note indicating that the wine was a blend tho primarily Albarino
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Joe Moryl » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:03 pm

Jon Leifer wrote:As Tom Hill might say..YUP..while Googling around , my wife found a note indicating that the wine was a blend tho primarily Albarino


Some of those wines are from old mixed vineyards where they have primarily Albarino but some grapes like Loureira, Treixadura, or even more obscure grapes. Or they just do a blend to vary the acidity, aroma, etc. The same grapes with similar names found on the other side of the Mino in Portugal.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:41 am

Well, here is a new one for me. The 2016 Mendraka Bizkaiko Txakolina white from Basque country.
Any Info on what to eat please?.
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