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

by Robin Garr » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:19 am

Let's explore the rest of Spain this month, turning from the iconic Tempranillo-based Rioja to all the other vast array of red, white and pink wines that fill the land; brown wines, too, I guess, since we can't talk about Spain without mentioning Sherry and its neighbors. From Catalunya to Galicia and all points between - well, except Rioja - let's talk Spain this month!
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Rahsaan

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

by Rahsaan » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:28 pm

Sorry to violate the rules on the first post, but I so rarely drink Spanish wine and had such a lovely bottle of 2008 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja when out to dinner a few days ago. It has stayed in my thoughts! Savory darkish fruits with a crisp structure and softening mellowing slightly-leathery textural notes that make it a perfect food wine from the first sip. It went with so many different dishes and flavors at Gato (Bobby Flay's latest restaurant). They were right to put it on the list!
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Robin Garr » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:38 pm

It's okay, Rahsaan. The only rule is that there are no rules. :)
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:42 pm

Way to go Rahsaan! Plenty of Spain in the cellar here and have some notes I can post asap. If I need something extra special, there are some great choices downtown. Many Rioja too :) .
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:50 pm

Think New Years is the only time I see some sherry here at Chez Bob! At a tasting last year downtown, I wrote quite enthusiastically about Lustau. My recent bottle did not last long with about 10 guests gathered around.

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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Tim York

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

by Tim York » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:43 am

It is the tradition in our family on New Year's day to serve a warming stew of rabbit, hare or venison marinated in wine. And it is equally traditional to serve it with a hearty red, usually Châteauneuf du Pape. For this year's venison I was thinking of varying it in the direction of a Gevrey-Chambertin GC or perhaps a Pommard 1993 or 96 from Comte Armand, when I saw this thread and immediately thought of this prestige bottle (made from Tinto de Toro AKA Tempranillo), which I have been waiting to pair for some time. It was a gift from a Belgian friend who used to sell this estate's wines when it was still in the hands of the Eguren family. I think that I would have done well to have stuck with my original thinking :shock: .

2003 Bodega Numanthia Toro Termanthia - Spain, Castilla y León, Toro (1/1/2018)
If this bottle was typical, I cannot understand this wine's cult status and price tag of c. €150. Massive bottle which needed two hands to carry and dark opaque colour. The nose showed sombre candied fruit and the very full bodied, thick textured and concentrated palate followed through with more dense dark complexioned candied fruit, hints of malt and coffee, smooth discreet acidity, polished wood patina and ripe tannic structure. Heavy going and charmless, I doubt if we would have drunk much more than half the bottle, had we been only two at the table.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:59 am

WTN: 2014 Pazo de Senorans Albarino Rias Baixas.

Can always drink this when in the mood for a nicely chilled white when minus 30 outside. This time tasted alongside a stuffed chicken breast with a crab mousse.
Light yellow in color, usual hint of green. Good bracing acidity on the nose which is quite typical along with some minerality, lemon, apple tones.
Initial entry is dry, great acidity, green BC apples, refreshing, crisp, lengthy finish. I always think these wines are great with most white meats. Verdejo is in a similar style I guess but more grass and grapefruit tones.

Sorry to hear about your misadventure Tim...ouch!
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by David M. Bueker » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:15 pm

2006 Bodegas Vizcarra Ramos Ribera del Duero JC Vizcarra - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (1/6/2018)
Lost in the cellar for a few years, this has managed to survive largely unchanged. The previously boisterous fruit is toned down a bit, but it has not been joined by any meaningful tertiary elements. It’s just a paler version of its original self. Decent enough drink for under $20 (at the time), but not something that has been looking to buy more. Solidly international in execution and end result.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Robin Garr » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:44 pm

Taking a couple of Spanish wines to a gathering tonight - one is an Eric Solomon wine, Altovinum 2014 “Evodia” Old Vines Garnacha from Aragon. I was hoping for something decent from Solomon, but poking around online I'm fearful that it's spoofy. Would Solomon do that? :cry:
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by David M. Bueker » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:56 pm

Hmm...that would be bad. I suppose he would do it if it sells. He does need to make a living.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Robin Garr » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:38 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Hmm...that would be bad. I suppose he would do it if it sells. He does need to make a living.

It wasn't terrible. Frooty, but also acidic and balanced. I'll post a more detailed note later.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Dale Williams » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:14 am

ES is certainly not an importer who aims for the traditional/AFWE crowd. I think he generally provides decent value if you like the style, but tends towards the sweet/ripe.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:14 pm

Utiel-Requena, located west of Valencia city, is the largest wine region (in terms of area under vine) in the Valencia region on Spain's east coast. Bobal, a native red-wine variety, dominates plantings in Utiel-Requena, meaning the region specializes in reds and rosés (rosados).

2009 Valtier Utiel-Requena Reserva.

Purchased for this months Focus, 13% alc, $15 Cdn, good natural cork, blend of Bobal and Tempranillo, aged 12 months American oak. No sediment noted, held up well over 2 days. Very good price for my area up here!

Very light color, ruby red with signs of bricking. Earthy nose with cherry, spice, rather delicate but invites.
Quite dry, earthy, sour cherries, nice mid-palate, medium plus finish with acidity in the background. "Nice berry flavors.....not too complicated" from across the table. Good find, went well with roasted pork tenderloin.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Joe Moryl » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:35 pm

Seems like more people here need to try some Spanish wines! Here is one from one of the more recent Galician D.O.s:

2015 Finca os Cobatos, Godello Cepas Viejas, Pazo das Tapias, Monterrei Denominacion de Orixe:
Looks fairly golden for a young wine, with a tiny hint of dissolved CO2. Fresh nose, with quince and anise notes following through on the palate, slightly oily, decent enough acidity with a medium length flinty finish. Quite good, not terribly exciting or complex.
13% abv, $15.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by win_fried » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:55 pm

WTN: Germans Duran 2010 Trosset de Poreira Priorat
Purple Colour, restrained nose, no fruit, weak secondary aromas of cigar box and some earthy notes. Viscose legs. On the palate also hardly any fruit, some forest floor, and hint of oak in the finish which is short to medium. We hope the wine has shut down and will revisit it in one or two years. Nevertheless, it worked fine with roastbeef English style, cauliflower with Polish bread crust and potatoes.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Tim York » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:34 am

win_fried wrote:WTN: Germans Duran 2010 Trosset de Poreira Priorat
Purple Colour, restrained nose, no fruit, weak secondary aromas of cigar box and some earthy notes. Viscose legs. On the palate also hardly any fruit, some forest floor, and hint of oak in the finish which is short to medium. We hope the wine has shut down and will revisit it in one or two years. Nevertheless, it worked fine with roastbeef English style, cauliflower with Polish bread crust and potatoes.


I've never had a Priorat which moved me much. Your TN is typical of a lot of my limited experience. And some of the more pricey ones which I have tried at tastings struck me as muscle bound and/or cloying. Perhaps I have been unlucky.

BTW is it still Politically Correct to refer to Priorat as a Spanish wine? :wink: About 49% of Catalans would be incensed :shock: .
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by win_fried » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:45 am

Tim York wrote:I've never had a Priorat which moved me much. Your TN is typical of a lot of my limited experience. And some of the more pricey ones which I have tried at tastings struck me as muscle bound and/or cloying. Perhaps I have been unlucky.

This one was 40€, so at least a bit pricey. I once had a 20 year old Priorat by the glass in a wine bar in Hamburg (Kleinhuis Bistro) which I thought was great. I think it was the 1997 Rotllan Torra, Amadis Priorat which is still on their wine list. So there is hope (2 bottles left).

Tim York wrote:BTW is it still Politically Correct to refer to Priorat as a Spanish wine? :wink: About 49% of Catalans would be incensed :shock: .

Isn't that similar to referring to Alsacian wine as French :lol:

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

by Tristan B » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:30 pm

I feel like it would be really fun to be a columnist for this site.
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Tonight, the forecast is cloudy with a 99% chance of wine
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:26 am

Local winestore downtown had their annual stand-up tasting of some wines that made the WS Top 100.
2 cracking reds from Spain plus a delicious Cab Franc from Saumur-Champigny amongst others.

2015 Emilio Moro Tempranillo Ribero del Duero.

Decanted, good nat cork, 14% alc, $39 Cdn, no sediment noted.

Medium purple in color, plenty going on aromat wise...blackberries, currants, quite floral. Integrated tannins, not peppery, spice, currants again. Medium bodied I`d say, blackberry, expresso(?). Very nice complexity and good for a few years. Took some home and today still holds well with some cassis and cherry.."think some chocolate here" from across the table. Very nice but pricey.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:26 pm

Where is the proof that the red is a fruit bomb?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLmUJCCKBTk

The tasting this weekend included 3 fruit bombs! The 2014 Alto Moncayo Garnacha Veraton just flew off the shelf, 15.5% alc, $52 Cdn too. Campo de Borja appellation.
Dark ruby, cherry, blackberry, oak. Fruit bomb, no doubt about it! Sweetish tannins, very full bodied, overripe, crowd hysteria. No thanks.
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WTN: Four Spanish wines

by Robin Garr » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:22 pm

Okay, one's a Rioja, so technically a non-starter for January Wine Focus. :oops: But it's made by Torres, a major Catalunyan wine producer that's best known for wines of Penedes, so I figured it would be okay to cheat ...

Castaño Sierra Salinas 2012 "Mo" Alicante Monastrell ($10.99)

Dark garnet, with scarlet glints against the light. Simple but appealing, black plum aromas with an earthy back note reminiscent of "tree bark," a description I often associate with Mourvèdre/Monastrell. Medium-bodied and crisply acidic, it adds a touch of raspberry on the palate, framed by gentle tannic astringency. It carries its 14% claimed alcohol well; I was surprised to see the alcohol level on the label after tasting. A blend of 30-year-old Monastrell (85%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), and Garnacha Tintorera (5%), it gets a touch of wood from four months in barrels. U.S. importer: Europvin USA, Van Nuys, Calif. (Jan. 17, 2018)

FOOD MATCH: Its simple, earthy fruit suggests a pairing with roast chicken, duck or even goose, or cheese-based entrees like macaroni and cheese or pasta Alfredo made with good, robust cheeses. I tested this hypothesis with a leftover Welsh Rabbit sandwich on sourdough from a local Irish pub and found it right on point.

WHEN TO DRINK: It's not a wine made for aging, and its slick-sided foam plastic stopper doesn't inspire confidence in the cellar. This bottle was fine now, but I wouldn't keep any leftover 2012 bottles for much longer.

VALUE:
It's a fine value at Wine-Searcher.com's $12 average U.S. retail.

WEB LINK
This brief information page from the winery also offers the option of buying the wine (in Europe) for 5,34 € per bottle.
This fact sheet from importer Europvin offers information about "Mo" Monastrell and other Sierra Salinas wines.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and locate vendors for Salinas "Mo" Alicante Monastrell on Wine-Searcher.com.

Review this Wine-Searcher.com information page on Alicante for many more wines - including many affordable Monastrells - from the region.

Torres 2013 "Altos Ibéricos" Rioja Crianza ($14.99)

"Crianza" signals an oak-aged Rioja, and this model, 100 percent Tempranillo, spends a full year in barrel. Dark garnet with a bronze edge, it offers tart cherries on the nose and palate, opening up to a dark earthy minerality. Very dry, very acidic, 13.5% alcohol claimed; there's an edge of soft, palatable tannins in the finish. U.S. importer: Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Woodinville, Wash. (Jan. 6, 2018)

FOOD MATCH: It should be a versatile table wine for carnivores, but it seems particularly well suited for grilled chicken. It would also go well with roast vegetables or bean-and-cheese entrees.

WHEN TO DRINK: As it enters its fifth year after the vintage, I wouldn't cellar it indefinitely. Save the more pricey single-vineyard Riojas for the cellar and enjoy this one with dinner soon.

VALUE:
It's not a bad deal at my local mid-teens price, but shop around, as Wine-Searcher.com lists a $12 average retail, and a few shops offer it for less than $10.

WEB LINK
Click here for Torres' fact sheet (PDF) on the Rioja Crianza.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for Torres "Altos Ibéricos" Rioja Crianza on Wine-Searcher.com.

Altovinum 2014 "Evodia" Varietal de Aragon Red Wine ($10)

Dark reddish-purple almost all the way to a clear edge. Ripe raspberry scent, typical of Garnacha/Grenache, carries over to a tart, dry red-berry and plum flavor with a higher-tone raspberry note like Chambord liqueur. Zippy acidity and soft tannins linger in a moderate finish. A custom cuvee for Eric Solomon, it's made from old vines Garnacha grown in high altitude slate soils. It's definitely in the "New World" style of forward fruit and hulking 14.5% claimed alcohol, but it manages to hold on to its balance. U.S. importer: European Cellars LLC, Charlotte, NC.; Eric Solomon Selections. (Jan. 6, 2018)

FOOD MATCH: It's a wine made for red meat, but the Maillard reaction, the delicious caramelizing that comes with browning, brought a platter of assorted mixed root vegetables up to meet it.

WHEN TO DRINK: It's not a long-term ager, but it should be good for another few years under good storage conditions.

VALUE:
If you like this assertively fruity style, you'll find this one a great bargain at Wine-Searcher.com's $10 average retail. A few vendors list prices as low as less than $7!

WEB LINK
Here's an Evodia fact sheet from importer European Cellars.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for Altovinum"Evodia" on Wine-Searcher.com.

Lustau East India Solera Cream Sherry ($31.99)

Clear, dark bronze color with flashes of gold. Attractive, rather complex Sherry aromas, a base of walnuts with brown sugar, caramel and touches of meyer lemon. The flavor is consistent, flavors of dried plums joining the scents; it's distinctly sweet from the Pedro Ximenez but adds plenty of steely, palate-freshening acidity and an edge of tannin to keep the sweetness fully contained in a sturdy structure. A blend of 80 percent Palomino and 20 percent Pedro Ximénez, it's 20% alcohol, a standard level for fortified Sherries. U.S. importer: Europvin USA, Van Nuys, Calif. (Jan. 17, 2018)

FOOD MATCH: The winery suggests serving it with light desserts and cakes, creamy cheeses or even foie gras. And, they say, "try it also on the rocks with a slice of orange, simply delicious."

WHEN TO DRINK: On the one hand, there's no hurry to drink sweeter-style Sherries. They last forever. On the other hand, there's no real benefit in cellaring them, as they won't evolve in the bottle. Buy it, enjoy it.

VALUE:
My local price is a significant jump over Wine-Searcher.com's $26 average U.S. retail, and many Wine-Searcher.com vendors list it in the lower $20s. It's still a fine sweet Sherry, though, and I'd buy it again.

WEB LINK
Here's Emilio Lustau's fact sheet on the Lustau East India Solera.

Click here for an importer's summary of Emilio Lustau and its wines.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for Lustau East India Solera on Wine-Searcher.com.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Tim York » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:21 pm

This, my second Toro of the month, had a French accent (François Lurton, Dany y Michel Rolland) and cost about one-fifteenth of the prestigious Numanthia Termanthia 2003 which I opened for New Year. I actually preferred it for its livelier fruit and lesser pretension. (Numanthia is now French owned too, LVMH; I wonder if that has changed the wine.)

2014 Bodega Burdigala Toro Campo Alegre - Spain, Castilla y León, Toro (1/20/2018)
I find this a lot more expressive than the 2009 of the same cuvée, which was dull (or at best in a dull phase). It was medium++ bodied, with expressively fresh griotte cherry tinged fruit, discreet minerals, underlying roundness and decent backbone. A slight fly in the ointment was overt signs of oak ageing in the form of some dry caramel on the finish (I suspect some new American oak though not mentioned on the producer's website). However this was not enough to remove enjoyment and was masked by some of the food. May improve with time though the performance of the 2009 suggests a possible negative trade off between greater smoothness and less freshness. Just about good.

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

by Sue Courtney » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:22 pm

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.


Castano Hecula Monastrell 2015 – Yecla, Spain 14% abv. $NZ15.
This is a dark red colour, the bouquet is savoury and earthy with a waft of leather, sweet spiced tobacco, some kind of bramble berry and a hint of mocha. The taste is mellow and spicy with underlying earthiness and a smooth tannin flow. A medium-bodied food friendly red with light tannins and a juicy finish.
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Re: Wine Focus for January 2018: Spain ... beyond Rioja!

by Joe Moryl » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:06 pm

This past summer I spent a couple weeks in and around Madrid, and was not expecting to find any of the local wines to be very interesting. The climate seemed scorchingly hot and mostly flat outside the city, with lots of Garnacha, not my favorite grape. So imagine my surprise to find myself drawn to the mostly Garnacha wines classified as Vinos de Madrid or sometimes just Gredos, for a mountainous region between Avila and Toledo. Here there are some young winemakers having a go at organic viticulture and non-interventionist winemaking from old vines at high altitudes. Here are a couple TNs, the first wine I picked up here in the US and the second was recommended to me by Paz, who runs a little food/wine/vermouth/craft beer stall, Donde Sanchez, in the Mercado de Antón Martín.

2015 Navaherreros, Garnacha de Bernabeleva, San Martin de Valdeglesias, Vinos de Madrid D.O.
Very light ruby, might expect this to be Pinot Noir. Fresh strawberry nose. Really bright fruit on the palate, more strawberry and some pomegranate, a touch of something grassy and tarry. Good structure, fine tannins. Given blind I might guess mountain Nebbiolo or Pinot Noir. Not an ager, but gets more interesting with a few hours air. Does not show the 14% abv.

2013 Las Moradas de San Martin Senda, Vinos de Madrid D.O.
This is much darker ruby than the above, with some magenta hints. Darker fruits on the nose. Bright again, but black cherry, a touch of funk, and slightly crunchy but ripe tannins. More clearly what I associate with Garnacha, but quite well done and attractive.
This sees 10 months of French oak, but seems primary, might age well. This one is 14.5% abv, but again, it does not come off as hot.

Interesting how different these two are given the vineyards are in the same general area. If you see wines from this D.O. you might give them a try. These are among the lower end of the ranges from these two producers (both in the $15-$20 range); a couple other names to look out for are Commando G (!) and Bodega Maranones, which both get imported into the US.
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