Posts Tagged ‘Bierzo’

A pair of Mencia from Casa de Burbia of Bierzo

September 20, 2017 Leave a comment

There are a range of wines produced by  Casar de Burbia all from various holdings of old vines in Bierzo.  Phil recently brought in two red wines made from Mencia.  Both were raised for one year in French oak so they offer a serious take on the grape.  The 2014 Casar de Burbia, Casar, Bierzo is grapey style of wine which improves with air.  It is an ideal wine to drink mid-week over the next few years.  I particularly liked the 2013 Casar de Burbia, Hombros, Bierzo with its deeper flavors and more obvious mineral edge.  It will certainly develop in the bottle for a few more years but the robustness, tannins, and juicy acidity make it hard to resist right now.   These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Casar de Burbia, Casar, Bierzo – $15
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 40 year old vines, fermented in stainless steel then aged 12 months in French oak. Alcohol 14%.  There are rich, young fruit flavors with hints of grapey tang and grapey greenness.  It moves towards tangy black flavors in the firmer finish.  With air there is a sense of softness coupled with a berrylicious flavor and even an impression of fat in the aftertaste.  *** Now – 2020.

2013 Casar de Burbia, Hombros, Bierzo – $20
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 50-100 year old vines, fermented in stainless steel then aged 12 months in French oak. Alcohol 13.5%.  The dark, plummy aromas make way  to a slightly robust, minerally black fruited start in the mouth.  The gum coating tannins are there but so is juicy acidity and very ripe fruit.  This is an attractive wine of good flavor which persists in the long aftertaste.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2015 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo offers a cloud of good flavor

I am completely buried by work and our kitchen renovation, the former of which is unfortunate as it has taken me a week to post my impressions of the 2015 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo.  This Petalos is another serious vintage of Mencia.  The black fruit, minerals, and violet notes are attractive now but this is a wine which will certainly improve with time.  If you like to cellar your wine then this is a great value.  It is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo – $25
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. This wine is 100% Mencia. Alcohol 14%.  This wine possesses lurking power that moves the flavors of black fruit and minerals.  There is a powdery texture with hints of a very fine structure.  With air you are presented with an up front flavor cloud that adds in violets towards the end.  It tastes younger with air and I suspect will open up during the winter.  ***(*) Now – 2027.

Two excellent Bierzo from Raul Perez

September 24, 2015 Leave a comment

A quick taste of the two wines featured in today’s post confirms that Raul Perez has an adept hand with Mencia.  The fruit for the 2011 Geografia Liquida y Raul Perez, Dargo, Bierzo was sourced from vineyards near the town of Valtuille de Abajo whereas the fruit in the 2012 Raul Perez, Vico, Bierzo was sourced from higher altitude vineyards in Ponferrada. The Dargo offers up more generous fruit but also has exciting acidity and ultimately takes on an attractive savory and weighty nature.  The Vico is the more backwards of the two with its higher altitude origins revealed in the floral fruit.  I understand the Vico might be the more expensive, structured wine but right now the Dargo delivers both more interest and promise.  It is also priced at only $17 which means you should not just buy one bottle but several.  The Dargo was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2011 Geografia Liquida y Raul Perez, Dargo, Bierzo – $17
Imported by Peninsula Wines.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from vines planted in 1965 that was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 7 months in large oak foudres.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose initially reveals dark aromas of cherry and pineapple upside cake then eventually more fruit with a greenhouse hint.  In the mouth is a dark red, deep start then a piercing citric bit with laser-beam vibrancy on the tongue.  There were dry, fine tannins on the gums.  With extended air this wine morphs to become savory and weighty.  ***(*) Now-2020.


2012 Raul Perez, Vico, Bierzo – $30
Imported by OLE.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from vines planted in 1923 that underwent a 60-day post fermentation maceration before spending 11 months in used French oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose began with piercing, yeasty-citric aromas before it cleared up to reveal floral black and purple fruit.  In the mouth were redder fruit flavors water acidity, and a strong dose of very fine tannins.  With extended air the tannins remain present but there is strength in the wine that will see it through.  *** 2016-2021.


Allemand, Dauvissat, Jamet, and more to welcome Jeffrey Snow

Jeffrey Snow previously worked for Bacchus Importers then moved to France to enroll in wine studies.  He was in town this past weekend for a brief visit so a group of his wine buddies got together.  As Jeffrey still lives overseas I offered to host the gathering.  Despite the heavy cloudiness the skies held back any rain so we gathered outside on the back deck.  There was a slew of good wine, some certainly better than others, that kept us busy all night.


A bottle of 2006 Vazart-Coquart, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Special Club Brut accidentally received some 2000 E. Guigal, Côte-Rôtie La Mouline through a decanting mistake.  Thus turned into a rose, the bottle was found improved and quickly drained.  The 2005 Thierry Massin, Champagne Brut drank solidly for days thanks to it being a double-magnum.  We had mixed success with the white wines.  Fortunately, the 2005 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent), Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses offered all one could hope with great potential.  This was my first time drinking Dauvissat and now I can see why it is a favorite of Roland.  In terms of the red wines, the 1999 Domaine Jamet, Côte-Rôtie was my favorite.  It was aromatic, unique in the mouth, and a generally lifting experience to drink.  What a treat!  Whereas the Jamet offered up bacon the 2000 E. Guigal, Côte-Rôtie La Mouline offered bloody meat.  This bottle drank at a good, mature spot.  The 2003 vintage provided our biggest wines.  The 2003 Thierry Allemand, Cornas offered way more fruit than I expected, but it was good in its  youth, reflecting both the vintage and its southernmost location in the Northern Rhone.  Moving south the 2003 Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape exuded power.  It took until the second night to show properly and with that time, great complexity came out in the middle.  I would cellar this wine another five years.  There were many other enjoyable wines so take a look at my notes below.  I do wish to comment on the 1995 Domaine du Pégaü, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Maxim.  Darryl managed to score this unicorn of a wine.  This one-off cuvee was created to celebrate the birth of Laurence’s first child.  Just over 600 bottles were produced and apparently, given only to friends.  So good was this wine that it and 1997 cuvee Justine eventually became the precursors of De Capo.  Unfortunately, our bottle was off.


2006 Vazart-Coquart, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Special Club Brut
A Becky Wasserman Selection imported by C’Est Vin.  Alcohol 12%.  Through a decanting accident, this contained a proportion of 2000 Guigal, Hermitage La Mouline.  So perhaps better as a rose with yeasty, ripeness!  Not Rated but good!


2005 Thierry Massin, Champagne Brut (double magnum)
A Becky Wasserman selection imported by C’Est Vin.  Alcohol 12%.  There were fine, structured bubbles that integrated well with the grippy texture on the tongue tip.  There were lemon flavors and baking spices in the finish.  ***/**** Now-2025.


2008 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles
Imported by Wilson Daniels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were maturing, lean flavors of tart lemon before a young impression came out.  There were tangy lemons in the short finish.  Something not quite right about this bottle.


2005 Domaine des Malandes Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
Imported by JAO Wine Imports.  Alcohol 13%.  The stinky nose made way to linear flavors in the mouth with a grippy finish.  With air an earthiness pervaded, taking over the lemon citrus note, then finishing tired with apple orchard notes. Note Rated.


2001 Domaine and Select, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  There were plenty of berries in this robust wine.  The dense core of fruit made way to cherry and even took on glycerin.  A lovely wine.  **** Now-2020.


2007 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos de la Maréchale (en magnum)
A Becky Wasserman selection imported by Veritas.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was rather expressive.  In the mouth were ethereal flavors before the tighter finish.  With air it developed some midpalate ripeness with delicate spices and a good length for the soft, lipsticky finish.  *** Now.


2004 Château du Cèdre, Cahors Le Cèdre
Imported by Elite Wines.  Alcohol 14%.  The fresh nose developed deep and dark aromas.  The wine was dense in the mouth with good intention from the structure and acidity.  The flavors had a cool aspect and when combined with the greenhouse notes, I imagine this will have a nice future.  ***(*) Now-2025.


2005 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent), Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses
Imported by Wine Brokers International.  Alcohol 13%.  There were rounded notes of white and yellow fruit in this beautiful wine.  It was almost spritely with a chalky middle, lovely integrated acidity, a good grip, and even more minerals in the finish.  Top notch!  ****(*) Now-2025.


2004 Terredora di Paolo, Taurasi Pago Dei Fusi
Imported by Vias Imports.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was very fresh with greenhouse aromas, small berries, and eventually a fine, wood aroma.  In the mouth the linear flavors took on licorice.  With air the gentle fruit existed within a resolved structure that made a return in the finish by drying the gums.


1999 Domaine Jamet, Côte-Rôtie
Imported by Robert Kacher.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Very aromatic with bacon and stems.  In the mouth were good, controlled powerful flavors of violet fruit.  The wine became salty with air and maintained a sense of purity to the acidity driven red fruit.  Lovely.  ****(*) Now-2025.


2000 E. Guigal, Côte-Rôtie La Mouline
Imported by Ex Cellar Wine Agency.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a lifted nose of bloody meat.  In the mouth were acidity driven flavors that were savory, dense, and glycerin infused.  There was still fruit and very fine, fresh structure.  **** Now – 2023.


2003 Thierry Allemand, Cornas
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was aromatic with fruit power, camphor, and a touch of raisins.  In the mouth was a load of tangy, red and pruned fruit with good acidity.  With air the wine remained quite fruity, building in flavor towards the middle where mineral and sweet spiced fruit came out.  ****(*) Now-2030.


1999 Tardieu-Laurent, Côte-Rôtie Vieilles Vignes (en magnum)
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  Alcohol 13%.  This was aromatic with roast notes from the oak.  In the mouth were soft flavors and vintage perfume.  The structure was still there but there was low acidity and a generally limp impression.  Not Rated.


2003 Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Alcohol 14.5%.  This was beautiful, powerful, and earthy.  The wine really packed in the components, exuding power as well as grainy black then red and violet fruit.  On the second night it had expanded more to show very good midpalate complexity.  ****(*) Now-2030.


1995 Domaine du Pégaü, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Maxim
Imported by T. Elenteny.  Alcohol 14%.  Oddly morphing, seemed clearly corked at first then as if through sheer determination powerful fruit tried to come through. Not right so bummer.  Not Rated.


1995 Château de Fonsalette, Reserve, Côtes du Rhône 
Imported by Le Vin.  Alcohol 14%.  This was aromatic with bloody and stinky notes.  Very firm and linear at first this developed a weighty start with midpalate ripeness, cedar, and sweet fruit.  In the end it came across as very mature.  Drink up.  ** Now.


2003 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve, Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT
Imported by Vinifera Imports.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This remained young over two nights but showed future potential.  Clearly powerful, with tart acidity, good components from wood, and a perfumed finish.  Should improve but needs time.  ***(*) 2020-2030.


2000 Chateau Quinault L’Enclos, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This smelled increasingly mature and earthy with air.  In the mouth it was cooler tasting with very fine grained structure.  This bottle seemed very mature with the structure outliving the fruit.  ** Now.


2008 Bodegas y Viñedos Paixar, Mencía Bierzo
Imported by Grapes of Spain.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was very aromatic with floral and black fruits.  In the mouth was a perfumed, black fruited start with some cedar notes picking up in the middle.  The wine showed more acidity by the finish becoming lively.  The structure revealed wood that had fine texture which combined well with the mineral finish.  *** Now-2020.


2001 Gelchw Albertz-Erben, Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Imported by Michael Skurnik.  Alcohol 8.5%.  There were hints of petrol on the nose.  In the mouth were weighty flavors that fleshed out, filling the mouth with ripe fruit and residual sugar.  The wine turned youthful with weighty, lemon flavors, and structure in the end.  It left a fresh impression.  **** Now.


Three wines tasted in Seattle


I spent the evenings of my recent trip to Seattle reading late 20th century wine articles.  This, of course, requires wine to maintain focus and the first bottle I opened was a random grab.  I noticed two red wines at Whole Foods imported by Barrique Imports, a name new to me, so I grabbed the less expensive 2012 Clos de Caveau, Les Bateliers, Cotes du Rhone.  It was everything I could hope for, earthy and traditional with complex fruit.  And that is out of a hotel tumbler!  It drank great on the second night.  If you like the wines that I enjoy then buy many bottles of this.  I only hope it becomes available in DC.

The next night I was torn between Pike Place Market and Capitol Hill (which I did not visit last trip) so I headed east to Bar ferd’nand.  It was my first tim seeing the reconfigured space which happened to coincide with Wines of the PNW and in particular MTHRFCKN Memaloose.  Brian McCormick, farmer and cellarmaster at Memaloose, had driven up to pour several of his wines.  I first tasted Memaloose nearly four years ago when I tried the Cabernet Franc and Barbera based wines.  I could not resist a chat nor picking up a bottle.  For those back home this is available in DC and Virginia.  Say yes to Oregon Cabernet Franc and Barbera.  Finally, the 2012 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo is full-throttle Mencia.  Almost lust and certainly mouthfilling upon first pour, the wine balances out to become a selection for now and the cellar.  The Clos de Caveau was purchased at Whole Foods and the other two wines at Bar ferd’nand.


2012 Clos de Caveau, Les Bateliers, Cotes du Rhone – $19
Imported by Barrique Imports.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The attractive nose bore mixed red fruit and earthy aromas.  In the mouth the wine was almost prickly on the tongue, eventually becoming lively on the tongue tip.  It was immediately complex, earthy, and carrying both cedar and garrigue flavors.  While it is currently drinking great I suspect it will reach its peak in a year.  It was very similar on the second night just a touch firmer.  *** Now-2020.


2012 Memaloose, Estate Cabernet Franc, Columbia Gorge – $25
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Idiot’s Grace vineyard.  It was fermented and aged in a mixture of oak and stainless steel.  Alcohol 13%.  Aromatic varietal notes with just the right hint of greenhouse.  With air this wine shows weighty, almost savory red and black fruit.  The greenhouse hint carries through shedding weight to become tart, tangy, and textured with grapey flavors and salivating acidity in the end.  ***  Now – 2018.


2012 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo – $25
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14%.  The flavors are not quite lush for there is texture, structure, and acidity.  With its dark fruit, this is Mencia unfurled that seems wanting to be drunk now but the building level of very fine, drying tannins hint at some future development.  It wraps up with graphite. What a strong mouth full of wine.  *** Now-2022.

Tasting 2001-2011 vintages of Descendientes de J. Palacios in Bierzo

January 16, 2015 Leave a comment

It is easy to taste more wine and research more subjects than I can write about.  These notes from a fall tasting of wine from Descendientes de J. Palacios prove that point.  The Palacios wines all came from a single cellar purchased last year by MacArthur Beverages.  The owner bought them direct from the Rare Wine Co. and had cellared them properly since purchase.  Thus there was no more reason needed to purchase these wines other than curiosity.  As I have an incredibly tiny dining room Roland generously offered to host the tasting.

Introductory Wines

That a white wine from Bierzo could be purely Dona Blanca was revealing for most.  The nose of the 2011 La Vizcaina, La Del Vivo, Lomas de Valtuile, Bierzo  was quite engaging and I enjoyed the mouthfeel.  It’s a shame it was so pricey. The 2011 Adega Algueira, Ribera Sacra  acted as a transition wine being made from Mencia in Ribera Sacra.  This young, grapey wine left me wanting to jump into the Palacios wines.  This pair of wines were purchased at Despaña Vinos y Mas.


2011 La Vizcaina, La Del Vivo, Lomas de Valtuile, Bierzo –
Imported by Peninsula Wines.  This wine is 100% Dona Blanca.    Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was aromatic with forest and fresh pine notes.  In the mouth fresh fruit flavors eventually developed and were kept lively by balanced acidity.  The wine was rounded with glycerin becoming softer towards the finish.


2011 Adega Algueira, Ribeira Sacra –
Imported by Polaner Selections.   This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 13%.  This wine seemed reduced at first eventually showing a grapey, black fruited style of Mencia.  The wine was young with a citrus hint and grapey tannins.

The Descendientes de J. Palacios Tasting

The wines of Descendientes de J. Palacios are the result of the collaboration between Ricardo Perez and Alvaro Palacios that began in 1999.  They put together some 30 hectares of vines located in the hills near Corullón in the region of Bierzo in the northwest of Spain.  For our tasting we spanned much of the estate’s history with vintages that went from 2011 back to 2001.  The wines themselves encompassed four different bottlings.  Petalos marks the entry level and is made from old-vine Mencia sourced from many sites.  The Villa de Corullón uses fruit from vines up to 90 years of age located in vineyards that flank Corullón.  The Moncerbal and Las Lamas wines are made from vineyards located in the same valley south of Corullón .  The Moncerbal vineyards are located on a steep hillside between 650 – 740 meters in elevation.  The vineyards generally face south-west.  The soils here are a mixture of slates, quartzes, and marbles.  Las Lamas represents the fourth wine we would taste.  The fruit for these wines are sourced from small vineyards located just west of Moncerbal at similar altitude.  Here the vineyards face south with soils of broken slate.

The wines of Descendientes de J. Palacios quickly escalate both in price and scores.  With this in mind it might be surprising that the pair of vintages from the entry-level Petalos caught everyone off guard.  The 2011 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo  is a strapping, young wine that I strongly recommend you find some for your cellar.  I write this because the 2006 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo  has entered that second stage of life showing both fruit and bottle aged flavors.  It has developed incredibly well.  I will admit that, for no particular reason other than a lack of information, I half expected it to be past its peak.

Of the other selections my favorites included the 2007 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Moncerbal, Bierzo and the 2005 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Las Lamas, Bierzo.  This pair showed good balance of fruit, acidity, and strong structure that should reward after a few more years in the cellar.  Sadly, the trio of wines from the 2001 vintages showed as a whole that they were past their prime drinking.


2011 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This showed round, grippy young fruit, some smoothness before savory, black minerals, and a slightly warm finish.  With air this robust wine became salty with drying, fine tannins.  A strapping wine.


2006 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14%.  The attractive nose immediately showed more maturity.  The low-lying flavors were almost meaty with fine to medium textured tannins.  There was significant life in this wine which was still fruity showing red cherry, tart cranberry, and strawberry flavors.  With air the wine became more fragrant with floral aromas that made way to old wood and tart red fruit in the mouth.  Lovely.


2011 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Villa de Corullón, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 15%.  This wine was young and robust with a tight core of deep, sexy, racy fruit.  The fruit was sweet (alcohol?) but not from residual sugar.  This wine definitely stepped things up with not quite brawny floral flavors that retained lots of focus.


2007 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Moncerbal, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was an attractive, dark nose that was not quite stinky.  The flavors had a cool start followed by very fine blue fruit, a cinnamon finish, and dense, expansive aftertaste.  There was a robust, powerful structure that left drying tannins on the gums.   With air this wine showed good balance with dense, sweet blue fruit, lovely acidity, and a black minerally finish.


2007 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Las Lamas, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a hint of butter on the nose.  In the mouth were lighter red fruit flavors that were gently dense and stylistically different.  There were very fine, smooth tannins that were more obviously from wood.  It had some texture.


2005 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Las Lamas, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The subtle berry nose opened up to step out of the glass.  There were exotic flavors in the mouth that were savory with strawberry notes and spicy tannins in the structure.  There was concentrated fruit, lovely acidity that was more abundant than the 2007, and a really good finish.  Nice wine.


2001 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Las Lamas, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a nose of tobacco followed by firm fruit in the mouth.  There was acidity and vintage perfume notes but the soft focus and hollow middle were detracting.


2001 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Villa de Corullón, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 13%.  The vintage perfume aromas were delicate.  The wine was very easy to drink with a personality of lighter fruit, strawberry flavors, and acidity.  It remained very approachable.


2001 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Moncerbal, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14%.  Though this was fruity the flavors dropped off by the finish.


With the last three wines from the 2001 vintage leaving us wanting, Roland returned from his basement with a bottle of 2005 Granja Remelluri, Rioja Gran Reserva.  Into the big decanter/glass it went.  Roland worked the decanter, coaxing the wine to open up before pouring it out.  It was gorgeous!


2005 Granja Remelluri, Rioja Gran Reserva
Imported by De Maison Selections.  Alcohol 13.5%.  A harmonious wine with sweet fruit complemented by wood box.  The wine tasted younger as it breathed.  There is clearly strong potential with this wine.

1988 Sauternes

Our Sauternes flight proved we were doomed by vintages served in threes.  You know you are in bad luck when Panos Kakaviatos remotely diagnosed a problem with the 1988 Chateau Climens, 1er Cru Sauternes  based on a Facebook picture.  These wines came from two different cellars.


1988 Chateau Climens, 1er Cru Sauternes
Imported by Calvert Woodley.  With flavors of apple orchard fruit this was more advanced than it should have been as also evidenced by the color.  The fruit, glycerin, and acidity was all up front.


1988 Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Sauternes
Imported by Calvert Woodley.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This managed to remain floral.


1988 Chateau La Tour Blanche, 1er Cru Sauternes
Imported by Calvert Woodley. Alcohol 14%. This had grapier fruit and while the acidity was present, the flavors were very short leading to a textured, residual sugar infused finish.

Diverse wines from Spain

November 18, 2014 1 comment

Our latest experience with Spanish wine has shown us diversity I normally associate with Italy.  The 2013 Bodegas Docampo, Rio Mino Blanco, Ribeiro is an “experimental” blend that was destined to be mixed into other wine.  Fortunately, this experiment was bottled separately for the importer so that we can enjoy acidity driven flavors of lemons, herbs, and minerals.  Try it with food.  Only 50 cases of the 2012 Casar De Burbia, Casar Godello, Fermentado en Barrica, Bierzo were produced.  This barrel fermented Godello already shows good complexity with a deft touch of toast.  It drank very well over five days so I would buy some to drink now and to cellar.  Be sure to serve it blind to lovers of barrel fermented Chardonnay.  I should note that the Docampo and Burbia should be drunk just below cellar temperature which is certainly warmer than refrigerator temperature.  The 2013 Partida Creus, Vinel-Lo, Catalunya has quite the blend of varieties. The nose is a fantastic blend of strawberries and potpourri suitable for the impending holiday seasons.  For me it is a somewhat polarizing wine due to its natural wine aspects and I think one glass at a time is perfect.  The Bodegas Docampo and Casar De Burbia were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.  The Partida Creus was purchased at Despaña Vino y Mas.


2013 Bodegas Docampo, Rio Mino Blanco, Ribeiro – $17
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is a blend of 40% Treixadura, 40% Godello, and 20% Torrontes.  Alcohol 12%.  The fruit aromas become riper with extended air.  In the mouth there were acidity driven flavors of bright and tart lemons.  The lemons enjoyably mixed with dried herbs and a stone note.  The wine maintained good tension from acidity and had a salivating finish.  It should last for some time but why not drink it now?  *** Now-2016.


2012 Casar De Burbia, Casar Godello, Fermentado en Barrica, Bierzo – $30
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is 100% Godello sourced from 50+ year old vines located at 600 meters on soils of slate and quartz.  The wine fruit was fermented in French oak barrels then aged on the lees for 12 months.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a very light amber straw.  The nose bore aromas of slightly tropical flowers, white fruit, and orchard fruit.  In the mouth were rounded flavors of white fruit that built in texture through the finish.  There was an appropriate amount of toast notes, tangy acidity, and a good mix of chalk and stones.  It has a persistent and expansive aftertaste. ***(*) Now-2020.


2013 Partida Creus, Vinel-Lo, Catalunya – $25
Imported by USA Wine Imports.  This wine is a blend of Garnatxa, Ull de Perdiu, Sumoll, Queixal de Llop, Samso, Garrut and Trepat that was trodden by foot then fermented with indigenous yeast and aged for seven months in stainless steel tanks.  No sulphur was added.  Alcohol 11.5%.  The wine was rather light with a slightly cloudy colors of straw and red.  The nose was immediately evocative of a natural wine with strawberry and potpourri aromas galore.  In the mouth a tart, berry and potpourri beginning tingled on the tongue.  It had what I consider a classic natural wine profile but the wine certainly built in attraction.  The wine was very stable after opening.  ** Now -2016.


Four Diverse Wines From Spain

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment

This quick post features four interesting and diverse Spanish wines.  The 2009 CUNE, Vina Real, Rioja is a great bargain in cellar-worthy wine.  The cinnamon spice flavor was particularly interesting.  Tasted over three nights this wine will undoubtedly age longer than I expect.   Completely opposite in flavor, the 2012 Ritme Celler, Ritme, Priorat offers ample flavors of sweet fruit and wood.  By sweet I do not mean residual sugar.  This generous wine exudes its warm origins and could use a few months to come together.  At that point you should pour away!  From very old vines the 2011 Raul Perez, Vico, Bierzo is in a subtle state right now.  The OLE website suggests this my age for 20 years and while I cannot predict that far ahead, I would certainly cellar it a year or two before trying.  Finally, the 2010 Bodegas Santa Marta, Viñaredo Sousón, Barrica Seleccion, Valdeorras is made from  Sousón.  This indigenous variety is not longer that popular so not much is produced.  In fact, this is the first time I am aware of drinking a wine made from it.   It leans towards black fruit flavors with plenty of acidity along with attractive texture and minerals.  Like the CUNE and Raul Perez this is best left in the cellar.  The Viñaredo was purchased at Despaña Vino y Mas and the rest at MacArthur Beverages.


2009 CUNE, Vina Real, Rioja – $15
Imported by Europvin.  This wine is 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, Garnacha and Mazuel which was aged for 12 months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was a little deep and meaty but remained tight with some scented ripe blue fruit and wood escaping.  There was acidity within the core of dense red and blue fruit.  The slightly tart middle made way to black fruit and minerals in the finish.  This was well-integrated, not firm but lithe with slightly salivating acidity.  It had an interesting cinnamon spice note.  This solid wine has moderate structure for the cellar.  **(*) 2016-2026.


2012 Ritme Celler, Ritme, Priorat – $22
Imported by Steve Miles Selections.  This wine is a blend of 70% Carinyena and 30% Garnatxa which was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 15%.  In the mouth the wine was round and tart before sweet fruit came out.  The flavors were rather expansive with a wood note.  With air the ripe and tart fruit became defined by red and strawberry flavors.  The acidity came out playing a supportive role to the moderately-sized, ripe and sweet tannins.  This has some structure for age.  **(*) 2015-2022.


2011 Raul Perez, Vico, Bierzo – $25
Imported by OLE Imports.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from vines planted in 1889 and 1924 which was aged for nine months in used French oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The high toned aromas of red fruit mixed with a little meat.  In the mouth the red fruit was firm with some blue fruit notes and plenty of acidity.  There was subtle ripeness and subtle weight.  With air it became a little juicy with ripe cranberry, red fruit flavors.  *** 2015-2020.


2010 Bodegas Santa Marta, Viñaredo Sousón, Barrica Seleccion, Valdeorras – $40
Imported by Peninsula Wines.  This wine is 100% Sousón sourced from 35+ year old vines on slate soils which was aged for 6+ months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was floral with black fruit. In the mouth were tart red and black fruit flavors which became blacker and picked up mineral notes.  The tannins mixed in well with plenty of acidity.  This tangy wine had lots of texture, became a little savory, and picked up drying stone flavors.  *** 2016-2024.


A Recent Pair of Tasty Wines

December 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Both of these wines are full of flavor which is undeniable after a few hours of air.  I suspect the 2010 Casar de Burbia, Casar could use with a few months of cellar time.  This is serious, more concentrated Mencia.  The 2010 Montesco, Passionate Wine, Parral received a very high score which was hard to avoid and ignore.  Despite my skepticism, I really enjoyed the savory flavors and ample mouthfeel.  It is a full but not overdone experience.  I definitely recommend you try both of these selections.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 Casar de Burbia, Casar, Bierzo – $20
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is 100% Mencia aged 8 months in French (American?) oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  With air the wine unfolds a little to reveal blue, black, and violet fruit.  The flavors have some weight before a little tangy note comes out followed by some wood.  The wine oscillates as it takes on air, sometimes showing a little vanilla and other times a watering acidity.  The structure develops with air making fine, drying tannins stick on the insides of the cheeks.  Good flavors, serious Mencia.  *** Now-2019.


2010 Montesco, Passionate Wine, Parral, Mendoza – $22
Imported by Monsieur Touton.  This wine is a blend of 40% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 40% Bonarda sourced from 30+ year old vines which spent 12 months in French and American oak. Alcohol 14%.  There was a sweet nose of deep blue and black fruit.  In the mouth were rich but not overpowering flavors with a savory presence on the tongue.  It had thickness, decent complexity, minerals in the finish, and was spicy throughout.  With air it takes on some earth and rounds out.  It becomes a touch forceful after much air but has good flavors.  **** Now-2019.


Several Wines We Continue to Enjoy

This post features five wines which we have been drinking over the summer.  All of these are good wines, you could randomly pick anyone of these and be satisfied.  The 2012 Domaine Gramenon, Poignee de Raisins comes across as more structured than the 2011 vintage which I so dearly loved.  I would try it again in the new year.  The 2011 Tami, Nero D’Avola is made by Arianna Occhipiniti and represents an affordable introduction to her wines.  While the 2011 Lafage,  Tessellae is not a block-buster wine for me, it is, nevertheless very good quality at a strong price.  It may be drunk now but I suspect it will be best next year.  The 2012 Herencia Altes, Garnatxa Negra is a juicy, easy to drink wine and it only costs $10.  You should stock up on this for beach trips or backyard parties.  Lastly, the 2009 Bodegas Luna Beberide, Finca La Cuasta, Mencia is a wine which I really liked.  It is young and should be cellared for six to twelve months but there is good character to the flavors.   These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2012 Domaine Gramenon, Poignee de Raisins, Cotes du Rhone – $24
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is mostly Grenache with some Cinsault sourced from the domaine’s youngest vines being 5-30 year old.  The soils are of clay limestone.  The grapes are partially destemmed and both fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for six months in cement tanks. Alcohol 14%.  The light nose was fresh with scented fruit.  The fruit in the mouth follows the nose but with drier flavors and pepper.  The dry structures come out along with firm, black fruit.  There was a fine texture in the finish and a little Pilsner hint in the aftertaste.  Try next year.  *** 2014-2019.


2011 Tami, Nero d’Avola, Sicily – $17
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light to medium grapey, cranberry.  In the mouth there was a sort of black fruit with delicate and floral Sicilian flavors.  The linear fruit expands until the finish which reaches the back of the mouth.  The wine was weightless in a sense with well-integrated acidity.  ** Now-2015.


2011 Lafage,  Tessellae, Cotes du Roussillon – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon Selections.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was subtle.  In the mouth there were grapey, black flavors which left a powderly ripeness on the lips.  The wine was ripe with a firm and robust quality, good flavor, and a young nature.  There is a lot going on but it has not yet achieved great depth.  It was a good wine, probably not long-lived.  *** 2014-2017.


2012 Herencia Altes, Garnatxa Negra, Terra Alta- $10
Imported by Eric Solomon Selections.  This wine is 100% Garnatxa.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was light with ripe, raspberry aromas.  In the mouth there were ripe and fresh young berries.  The freshness continued with integrated and juicy acidity, leaving flavors which coated the inside of the mouth with pleasing fresh and sweet, ripe tannins.  The acidity was a little noticeable as a little, berry, tooty fruity flavor came out in the finish.  Juicy Grenache.  *** Now-2014.


2009 Bodegas Luna Beberide, Finca La Cuasta, Mencia, Bierzo- $19
Imported by Grapes of Spain.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 60 year old vines.  It was aged for 12 months in French barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was subtle with low-lying aromas of dark red fruit, plummy then fresher.  In the mouth there was red and black fruit with plenty of integrated acidity which touches the tip and sides of the tongue.  The structure is around the fruit with a woodsy note.  **(*) 2014-2019.