Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

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Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Robin Garr » Fri May 30, 2014 11:58 am

We're focusing on Spain as our Wine Focus for June. This will incorporate both red and white winess (and rosado!) from all regions of Spain. Those who for any reason have a hard time finding Spanish wines may go for the nearest geographic or stylistic neighbors. Pyrenees or Roussillon in France, for instance, or non-Port Douro reds and Portuguese whites bordering on Galicia.

Post on, with extra credit if you can find Spanish wines of elegance and balance.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Jim Grow » Sat May 31, 2014 9:58 pm

I opened this Rioja, the Bodegas Muriel 2008 Reserva, tonight and really liked it. The nose started off with a rose petal thing that turned into a oregano/terragon smell and later on then had a note of old leather or maybe cedar. The palate was of a mix of cranberry with mulberry, slight tartness but just balancing tannins. I am smelling this wine as I write and it is quite alluring. Make that sweaty leather mixed with oregano or maybe I just cannot identify that mix of smells but I know I like it. Maybe freshly cut cedar wood . I opened this just 1/2 hr. before dinner and it could have used more air time. The nose is outstanding and the palate is not bad either. abv of 13.5 % with color of very dark purple. Oh that nose!!
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Tim York » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:28 pm

In order to participate in this (so far slow moving) WF, I decided to stop complaining about the lack of local availability and internet ordered some bottles from cosmopolitan Lavinia in Paris. Wine prices and delivery costs are high but the delivery was efficient and fast. One of my bottles had to be from Bierzo (Mencia grape variety) whose wines I "discovered" about 5 years ago and immediately liked for a freshness and northern Rhône type elegance quite rare in Spain.

Bierzo Mencias de Dos de2 2011 - (I can't identify the producer name on the label) - Alc. 14% -(€11 + €3 delivery)
After my experiences with entry level wines from Raul Perez and Castro de Valtruille, I was disappointed by this. It was both fuller bodied and heavier lacking their fine fruit and adding a coarsely bitter finish. Happily, though, for Spain no burgeoning new oak. Maybe better with a more robust pairing than the veal schnitzels and broad beans Catalan style with which we drank this. Quite good.

To remind myself how good entry level Bierzo can be, I dug out these two old TNs.

From April 3, 20112

Bierzo Mencia Joven 2008 – El Castro de Valtuille, Raul Pérez – Alc.14% - (€8). According to Victor de la Serna this is not the famous Raul Pérez but a relation of the same name. Nevertheless I love this wine. It was full of bright fruit, especially raspberry and cherry, as well as a leathery tang and a good grip. There was also a certain pleasing rusticity which I don’t recall in the equivalently priced but more refined Ultreia St.Jacques from the real Raul Pérez; 16/20++.

From October18, 2010

Bierzo, Ultreia de St. Jacques 2008 – Viñedos de Raúl Pérez (organic) – Alc.13.5% (€10), Mencía 100%.
This wine is outstanding for its purity and aromas of tangy, spicy sweet cherry, generous body and mouth-fill combined with freshness and a somewhat mat texture. Compared with my first bottle about a year ago, I think that the texture has become more polished and that there is more depth but less freshness. I hesitate to suggest that this has a better future because it is so delicious as it is. Much as I admired the Pétalos Bierzo 06 from the Palacios heirs, I prefer this for its lesser sophistication; 16.5/20 QPR!!!


I cut my Bierzo teeth on Petalos Bierzo 2006 from Palacios which was more ambitiously raised with new oak but not dominated by it in a way which reminded me of Côte Rôtie from a producer like Gaillard. Recent vintages which I have tried seem to have lost that balance.

There are some very upmarket cuvées which cost over €100 but I think that they lack the track record to confirm value for money. The most ambitious I tried was Corullon 2006 from Palacios (c.€40) which was very impressive at a tasting in 2009 but at home couple of years later had shut down aromatically and was dominated by oak.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:19 pm

2011 Martinsancho Verdejo Bodegas Angel Rodrigues, Rueda.

Bottle #2, good natural cork, 13.5% alc, $20.

Color is a medium straw, no green.
Very aromatic nose here still, herbal floral some tangerine. Not as aggressive as a recent NZ SB. Pleasant mineral tones still on the finish.
Palate entry is dry, long finish, sharp and crisp. Has the typical oily texture I mentioned in bottle #1, nice salinity here. More pink grapefruit and hint of white stonefruit, think peach. Held up well overnight, maybe a softer finish.Good with snapper brochettes on the BBQ.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:32 am

I had a bottle of 1998 Remirez de Ganuza ready to go for last night, but opted for a Negroni instead. Too hot and humid for red wine.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:15 pm

We hung out with a group of friends for a conversation session at a local eatery last night, and in ordering a couple of bottles for the table, I grabbed a Spanish wine from the less pricey end of the list so I'd have something to report here.

Massimo 2010 Rioja ($29 on the list at Napa River Grill)

Dark ruby red. Pleasantly earthy, dark cherries and oak. Flavors follow the nose, tart but smooth, good balanced acidity and tannins, 13.5% alcohol. Appealing cherry-very flavors in a long finish. U.S. importer: The Portfolio Group, Manteca, Calif. (June 3, 2014)

I didn't find it particularly complex, but the group - mostly folks who liked wine but aren't "geeks" - gave it high marks for being mouth-filling and "smooth."
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:52 pm

Drinking that 1998 Remirez de Ganuza right now. Reminds me a lot of older Ridge Zin. Not what I expected, but not so bad.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Shaji M » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:52 pm

2011 Mas Tinell Gisele
From Penedes, this is 100% Xarel-lo, tropical floral nose, hay and lemons. clean citrus on the palate, viscous mouth feel, complex with a hint of nuts, some bitterness at finish, some smokiness, good finish, brisk acidity. that cuts through food nicely.

Disclaimer: I have ownership in the company that might import this wine.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:37 pm

2004 Lar de Paula Anada Tempranillo Old Vines, Rioja 14.5% abv. Produced and bottled by Lar de Paula S.L. Elvillar de Alava, Spain. The nose has some black raspberry, oak and some earthy notes. First impression is one of sweet fruit but I think that might be the oak talking--the finish is rather puckering. Flavorful with dark berries and a suggestion of extraction from grapeskins? Seems to be a modern style with a bit too much oak for me so I probably would not purchase in the future. I opened this with pot roast with potatoes and onions in a brown gravy.

I have several Albarino on hand and will open one of those or a Rioja Gran Reserva next.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Tim York » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:14 pm

Montsant (W) Trossos Sants, Portal de Priorat 2012 - Alfredo Arribas - Alc.13.5% - (€25+€3 delivery), made from 4 old white Grenache vineyards.

This was perfect as a pairing for giant gambas, calamar and cold salmon with Mediterranean trimmings. Both on the expressive nose and medium + bodied and quite long dry palate, the wine revealed a strong Mediterranean character with not a lot of obvious fruit but bags of southern floral aroma, spice and garrigue herbs together with enough acidity for freshness and a peppery and gently bitter spine. Very good.

Robin suggested that I compare with wines from the French side of the Catalan border and from memory the wines from, say, Gérard Gauby and Marjorie Gallet show more fruit and minerality but less Mediterranean spice. I'll see if I can find some TNs and will seek out some Roussillon whites at local cavistes but I don't think that I seen wines from the two vignerons mentioned above.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Tim York » Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:40 am

Here is a comparison with that Montsant from the French side of the border dating from almost exactly year ago. The two wines both have a very high Grenache content and are therefore quite comparable varietally.

Côtes du Roussillon Blanc Les Vieilles Vignes 2010 – Domaine Le Roc des Anges, Marjorie & Stéphane Gallet – Alc.12.5% - (€16), made from 70-100 year old vines of Grenache gris 90% and Macabeu 10%. This wine was delicious with a refreshing bouquet of white fruit and abundant minerals and an intense medium weight palate with a wonderful combination of fresh fruit, warm Mediterranean undertones, quite crisp acidity and lively minerals. From memory slightly deeper and more complex than a bottle a year ago. Excellent 17/20 QPR.

Postscript: I had a feeling that Lavinia in Paris is overcharging for Spanish wine and this is confirmed by a Google visit to their Barcelona store. The same Montsant only cost €16 there (compared with €25 in Paris) :evil: and I guess that their prices are not the lowest in Spain. For quantities of 2 dozen and more, I have discovered a well stocked Spanish website, Vinissimus, offering delivery to France at reasonable cost :) .
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby ChaimShraga » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:29 am

C.V.N.E., Imperial, Rioja Gran Reserva, 2004

I'm beginning to realize how clumsy young Riojas can be. I can sense there's good substance here, juicy, potentially complex fruit with a layer of gun smoke and minerals, but it's still obscured by oak and dry, bitter tannins.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Tim York » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:40 am

ChaimShraga wrote:C.V.N.E., Imperial, Rioja Gran Reserva, 2004

I'm beginning to realize how clumsy young Riojas can be. I can sense there's good substance here, juicy, potentially complex fruit with a layer of gun smoke and minerals, but it's still obscured by oak and dry, bitter tannins.


I agree. I've rarely enjoyed a Rioja as young as this except for some prestige cuvées from Sierra Cantabria, which have lovely fruit but don't taste at all like traditional Rioja. I have frequently heard it said that Imperial and Viña Real are no longer what they were in the 80s and earlier. I don't have enough experience to comment on that? Can anyone here? I hope to open my last bottle of Imperial GR 1988 :) later this month.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:40 am

Avancia 2012 "Cuvee de O" Valdeorras Godello ($16.99)

Clear pale brass color. Aromatic fruit, peach, mango and maybe a hint of pineapple aromas lead into a fresh, tart flavor, citrus and peach, bone-dry and crisply acidic, 13.5% alcohol, with undertones of slatey minerality, with pleasant peach-pit bitterness entering on the long finish. Well balanced and elegant, it's fine value. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections, Mariemont, Ohio, and other regional distributors. (June 5, 2012)

FOOD MATCH: A paella would have been perfect, but I didn't want to try to whip up something that ambitious on a hot summer night after a busy day, so took a similar, simpler Italian approach with risi e bisi Veneziana, a fresh pea risotto in the style of Venice with saffron and a garnish of arugula chiffonade. Alternatively, it has plenty of flavor interest to serve as an aperitif.

WHEN TO DRINK: This strikes me as a wine meant for enjoyment rather than cellaring, although its balance and style suggest that there's no hurry to drink it over the next year or two.

VALUE: With a $15 U.S. average price and a range from $12 to $20 shown on Wine-Searcher.com, it's certainly a fair value in the middle to upper teens.

WEB LINK: You'll find an extensive fact sheet on Avancia Godello at this link on the Web pages of regional importer Giuliana Imports in Denver.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and check prices for Avancia "Cuvee de O" Valdeorras Godello on Wine-Searcher.com.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Thomas G » Sat Jun 07, 2014 12:05 am

Navazos Fino Saca of July 2013 en rama: nice half bottle of sherry but not at the level of its numbered brethern. Seemed to lack a bit of acidity but the nose was fine.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Doug Surplus » Sun Jun 08, 2014 11:47 pm

G del R Bierzo 2008 Mencia - This was the second of two bottles I purchased about two years ago and I almost forgot I had it. Blackberry, black raspberry and spice with food-friendly acidity. The oak I noticed in the first bottle has receded to a pleasant spice note. For $15, not a bad wine and I may pick up a couple more.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:31 am

Always good to see any note on Mencia, as well as Albarino!!

WTN: 2012 Pazo de Senorans Albarino Rias Baixas.

Can always drink this till the cows come home! Great stand-by with shellfish et al.
Light yellow in color, usual hint of green. Nose has the bracing minerality, lemon, apple tones.
Initial entry is dry, great acidity, green BC apples, refreshing, crisp, lengthy finish. "Muscadet-like" from across the patio table. Needed the sea-shells I thought, lovely wine.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby JC (NC) » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:03 pm

1998 HEREDAD DE BAROA GRAN RESERVA, RIOJA, SPAIN.
This was an inexpensive wine for a gran reserva so I didn't expect it to be top drawer with lots of depth and complexity. It doesn't have great depth and complexity but it does deliver as a very pleasant dinner wine. I'm finding dark raspberry and plum and a nice balance to the wine. It shows less oak than the Lar de Paula I just consumed and the Baroja is drinking very nicely now. The first evening I had it with beef stroganov and the second evening with beef stir fry and noodles. It faded a bit on the third evening.
I had another bottle of this around the time of the Super Bowl and found dark fruit, dried herbs and hints of earthiness in the wine and rated it 90 points on CellarTracker. I would again give it 89-90 points. I still have a bottle of the 2001 vintage of this on hand.
I am currently drinking a Garnacha Rosado and will probably open another Spanish red before I go to the Albarino later this month.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Jim Grow » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:58 pm

2008 Avanthia by Valdeorras and 100% Mencia and 13% abv. At first taste a bit tight/astringent on the finish but loaded with black and red raspberries that dominated all else. After a 1/2 hour the tannins moved to the background and the fruit mellowed out and revealed some interesting plum flavors mixed with some aromatic herb (extremely nice to smell) maybe oregano or sage. Nice wine but not something I would stock up on. very heavy bottle!
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:48 am

Jim Grow wrote:2008 Avanthia by Valdeorras and 100% Mencia

Fascinating, Jim! The 2012 Godello that I posted above is Avancia ... the same winery, but the firm apparently changed the spelling of its name in 2011 ... it's almost as if they had been spelling it phonetically in Castilian before. :?

Valdeorras is the wine region, by the way. It incorporates the steep, slate valley of the river Sil in Galicia, Spain's northwestern corner on the Atlantic above Portugal.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:29 am

I am told there is a new Paternina vintage in town, so will be buying after my last bottle tasted so good.

2009 Paternina Rioja Crianza.

Reports suggest that a new regime at Paternina are turning things around after a dismal past few yrs. I was quite surprised with this one so forumites should look around. I paid $22 Cdn and enjoyed with veal cutlet and mushroom sauce.
Light color, old world aromatics on the nose, earth spice some tobacco.
Smooth, soft, some sweet tobacco, nice aftertaste. Dried herbs, cherry, blackberry. Held up very well over three days.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:28 pm

We were on doggie sitting service as close neighbour was away in Europe. Came back yesterday with some wines as a thank you so opened this Montsant wine with BBQ hotdogs (pun).

2009 Celler Malondro Montsant Besllum (Catalunya, Tarragona, Montsant).

Decanted for approx an hour. Earthy nose with some cherry, spice and herbs.
The medium-bodied palate has fair acidity, some gripping tannins and 13.5% alcohol. Entry has some cranberry, spice, some mineral tones. "Brambleberry" from across the patio. The finish is quite lengthy and has good fruit balance. Lots going on here.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby JC (NC) » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:06 pm

Two rose' wines from Spain:

2012 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Rosado, Catalayud, Spain. 13.5% abv. 100% Garnacha (Grenache) I paid $8.99 at Arthur's Wine Shop in the Belk at South Park, Charlotte. Fill level seemed a little lower than normal. Coral-pink color with transparency. Raspberries and strawberries figure prominently on the flavor palate. The wine is tart and acidic but in a way that makes it food friendly. It gives a hint of strawberry soda but that is not really a putdown as I enjoyed this as a light summer quaffer suitable for picnic or patio. I paired it with ground-beef tacos and a slaw-type salad.

2013 Muga Rosado, Rioja, Spain. 13% abv. I paid $12.99 at a shop in Raleigh. 60% Garnacha, 30% Viura (a white grape), 10% Tempranillo. Pale salmon color with transparency; much paler than the Las Rocas. This was okay but I didn't like it as much as previous vintages. I couldn't pin down the aromas or flavors as it didn't strike me as falling either into the berry/cherry camp or the citrus fruits camp. It did have a rather lengthy finish. I looked up the notes on the Bodegas Muga website and it provides some interesting perspective on the vintage. It was a rainy vintage with perhaps an excess of acid. Besides descriptors of cherry and other fruits, the notes mention white blossom and fennel. The notes also mention the lengthy finish which I noticed but ascribe more favorable attributes to the wine than I found. I would say this is a vintage to skip of Muga Rosado but hope that future vintages will be back to form. I liked the 2012 Las Rocas better at $4.00 less.
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Re: Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain!

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:15 pm

2012 Antano, Tempranillo Rioja (under $10 Trader Joe's, Alcohol level 13%). A load of berry and cherry fruit on the nose and upfront. More fruit and a hint of spice in the middle, with smooth and balanced body, and a lovely finish. We matched it with Greek Chicken Pilaf, and sliced yellow tomato.
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