Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

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Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby JoePerry » Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:27 am

Bodegas Bilbainas, producer of the famous "Vina Pomal" designated Riojas, has fallen into shadow. The Vina Pomal Reserva and Gran Reserva have long been excellent wines for short money ($10-12 for the Reserva, slightly more for the Gran Reserva). These traditional Rioja were blended around 70% Tempranillo for the better part of the last 100 years. Recently, Bilbainas was purchased by Codorniu who wasted little time in changing the wines. I hadn't seen the regular Vina Pomal Reserva, a wine bottled in the traditional Burgundy bottle, for a number of years. While at a local shop this weekend, I was excited to find the 2001 Pomal Crianza for $10 and picked up a bottle.

Only... the bottle was Bordeaux shaped.

And the label said "Tempranillo"

It wasn't until I got home that I read the back label - "Made exclusively from Tempranillo grapes from the Vina Pomal Estate, this is a wine with an intense colour, strong structure and modern style, which combines the aromas from aging in wood with the fruit in a balanced way, a typical characteristic of 'Nueva Expresion' Riojas"

The wine itself is what you'd expect, Australian Pinot meets Tempranillo. Possibly the most tragic part of this wine is how it's still good. The quality of the grapes is enough to carry it despite the techniques, but only just. The excellence that was Vina Pomal is changed forever (and not for the better, IMO).

Another one bites the dust.
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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby JoePerry » Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:28 am

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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:43 am

a typical characteristic of 'Nueva Expresion' Riojas

Damn...another one on the bandwagon, eh?
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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:50 am

Sent back, until its task is done, as 'Bilbainas the Purple.'
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:34 am

JoePerry wrote:"Made exclusively from Tempranillo grapes from the Vina Pomal Estate, this is a wine with an intense colour, strong structure and modern style, which combines the aromas from aging in wood with the fruit in a balanced way, a typical characteristic of 'Nueva Expresion' Riojas"


This is so scary, but it's weird and eerie, too, in a queasy-making kind of way. Did you mean to say "Australian Pinot," though? I'm thinking Central Coast Pinot, with a shot of Australian Shiraz.
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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby JoePerry » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:15 pm

My list of current wines worth buying from Rioja has gone from a page to a post-it note.
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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby Manuel Camblor » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:43 am

JoePerry wrote:And the label said "Tempranillo"


Joe, Joe, Joe... You're finally catching on. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to this horrible reality: WInewise Spain, as we knew and loved it, is pretty much dead. There is López de Heredia. There is Sherry. And that's about it. Bilbainas was on that path long ago. And Riojanas and CVNE have gone that way, too.

Sad, innit?
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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby Manuel Camblor » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:50 am

JoePerry wrote:My list of current wines worth buying from Rioja has gone from a page to a post-it note.


Like I said: You're finally catching on. It's very painful to behold. The saddest part is that a lot of those formerly traditional bodegas are a day late and a buck short, as far as the trend goes. It's not like the market needs more 100%-Tempranillo, 100%-New-French-Oak, 100% technically messed with rubbish reds. The "Alta Expresión" bandwagon is rather too crowded.

Unfortunately, those bodegas are pushed to do this by clueless directors and stockholders who are blind to the potential of niche markets and prefer to flow with the purple-dimmed tide of a fashion that, frankly, is already so damn six months ago.

Now that I've voiced this in this and several other fora, I will probably be persona non grata in Rioja. Which is just as well...
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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby Randy Buckner » Thu Mar 30, 2006 2:21 am

I will probably be persona non grata in Rioja.


You are already on the post office bulletin boards. Unfortunately hype like this from the Spec doesn't help:

Bodegas Sierra Cantabria Score: 96
Wine: Rioja Amancio 2001 Price: $142
Country: Spain

A ravishing red wine. Dominates the palate, with muscular tannins and mouthfilling flavors of plum, blackberry, coffee and dark chocolate. It has it all: superripe fruit, lavish oak, heady alcohol and a finish that just won't quit. Quite a departure from the bashful elegance of traditional Rioja. Drink now through 2015. 200 cases imported. (TM)

Superripe fruit; lavish oak; heady alcohol -- just what I look for in a wine. :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby Manuel Camblor » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:03 am

Randy Buckner wrote:
I will probably be persona non grata in Rioja.


You are already on the post office bulletin boards. Unfortunately hype like this from the Spec doesn't help:

Bodegas Sierra Cantabria Score: 96
Wine: Rioja Amancio 2001 Price: $142
Country: Spain

A ravishing red wine. Dominates the palate, with muscular tannins and mouthfilling flavors of plum, blackberry, coffee and dark chocolate. It has it all: superripe fruit, lavish oak, heady alcohol and a finish that just won't quit. Quite a departure from the bashful elegance of traditional Rioja. Drink now through 2015. 200 cases imported. (TM)

Superripe fruit; lavish oak; heady alcohol -- just what I look for in a wine. :roll: :roll: :roll:


This might just be a big conspiracy by lazy wine "critics". Pretty soon they will all be able to use the same tasting note for every single wine in the world, regardless of the color.

Though the "Have You Seen This Man?" posters at the Haro and Logroño post offices do bear the name "Manuel Camblor", through some very delicate maneuvering, I managed to make it so that the picture they have on them is of Joe Perry. :twisted:
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Re: Bilbainas has fallen into shadow...

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:44 am

Ah Joe,

In the old days I used to wow many friends and associates with Vina Pomal. Then, about eight or so years ago, I bought a bottle for a gathering and I was shocked, in a bad, bad way. The old wine had taken on a new cloak. Being at a gathering of rowdy people, I couldn't quite make out what was bothering me, or the wine. A bottle later on, in the confines of my home, told me what was happening--the New World had finally gotten even with Cortez.

I haven't had a Pomal in six or so years and you validate why that is so. I never knew that Cordonieu bought the place.
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