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Three, No Six, Wait…Nine wines from Spain

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

We have tasted these nine Spanish wines over the past two months.  Except for the 2007 Casta Castillo, Valtosca at $26 all of these wines cost between $10 and $18. At the inexpensive end the 2011 Zestos, Old Vine Garnacha for $10 and the 2011 Leceranas, Monte La Sarda for $12.50 offer good flavor for the price.  Both are high-altitude, old-vine Grenache.  The 2010 Breca, Garnacha offers up a lot of deep flavor but also alcohol as well.  I kept wanting to like it more but could not.  At the more intellectual end the 2009 Tampesta, Fina los Vientos is made from 100% Prieto Picudo.  This varietal appears to get some bad press but I thought this a decent wine.  I got the impression it should open up with a little bit of bottle age.  By the way, it is imported by Peninsula Wines which according to the website import wine “made from single-vineyard, unknown varieties and up-and-coming wine regions.”  This is another label of Alberto Orte and Patrick Mata of OLE Imports.  Next up the 2010 Joan d’Anguera, Garnatxa and 2007 Casa Castilla , Valtosca are nice wines.  The Joan d’Anguera is a pure, clean wine which sees no oak whereas the Casa Castilla wears its new oak well.  My favorite of the lot was the 2010 Monasterio de Corias, Seis Octavos.  It is Mencia with a twist since it also include Carrasquen and Verdejo Negro.  It is also from Asturias where there are only a handful of producers.   These wines were purchased at Despana Vinos y Mas and MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 Joan d’Anguera, Garnatxa, Montsant – $15
Imported by De Maison Selections.  This wine is 100% Garnatxa sourced from 15 year old vines on chalky soils at 250 meters.  It was fermented in stainless steel then bottled without aging.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The light nose was of cranberry and cherry.  In the mouth the fresh fruit follows the nose but with a little weight.  There was integrated acidity, which was a little juicy in the finish.  The black and red fruit became a touch ripe with air.  A clean, pure wine.  *** Now-2016.

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2010 Bodegas Breca, Garnacha, Calatayud – $13
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from vines planted between 1925 and 1945.  It was aged for 21 months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 15.5%.  The nose revealed smoky fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were smooth at first with cool blue fruit then they burst in the mouth with blue and black flavors.  There were some minerals and quite frankly, a lot going on.  There were powerful tannins in the finish which coat the inside of the lips.  You can feel the heat in the back of the throat as cinnamon spice came out in the aftertaste.  Make sure to drink this cool.  ** Now-2014.

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2007 Casa Castillo, Valtosca, Jumilla – $26
Imported by Eric Solomon.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 22-year-old vines at the Valtosca vineyard. The soils are sandy and at 750 meters.  It was aged for 12 months in new French oak barrels.  The color was a medium+ black cherry.  The light nose revealed sweet spiced vanilla, blue fruit, along with low-lying darker aromas.  The flavors were focused in the mouth with darker black fruit and minerals followed by textured tannins in the finish.  The aftertaste had good acidity.  *** Now-2020.

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2010 Bodegas Monasterio de Corias, Seis Octavos, Calidad de Cangas, Asturias – $18
A Jose Pastor Selection imported by Vinos & Gourmet.  This wine is a blend of Carrasquen, Verdejo Negro, and Mencia.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was light and delicate with spiced, fresh berries.  In the mouth the somewhat tart red fruit was integrated with the acidity and tickles the tip of the tongue.  There were black and red fruit in the middle becoming juicy towards the finish.  There were minimal spiced tannins which became grapey and a touch citric.  There was red fruit and some pepper notes in the aftertaste.  *** Now-2015.

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2011 Bodegas Leceranas, Monte La Sarda, Vieilles Vignes, Tierra del Baja Aragon – $12.50
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Garnacha sourced from 50+ year old vines located at 500-600 meters.  It was fermented then underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel.  Alcohol 14%.  The light+ nose revealed plummy red fruit and ripeness.  In the mouth there were raspberry fruits, spices, minimal tannins, and a focused finish.  ** Now-2014.

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2009 Soligamar, Crianza, Rioja – $17
Imported by C+P Wines.  This wine is 75% Tempranillo and 25% Garnacha aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels.  Alcohol 11.5%.  The color was a light to medium grapey garnet.  The light nose revealed plummy, balsamic aromas of dark red fruit.  In the mouth there were medium weight red fruit which followed the nose.  Then black red fruit, a clean modern aspect, soft expansiveness, and a drying finish with textured tannins.  ** Now-2015.

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2009 Tampesta, Finca los Vientos, Tierra de Leon – $15
Imported by Peninsula Wines.  This wine is 100% Prieto Picudo sourced from vines on soils of clay at 730 meters.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light to medium ruby garnet.  The nose revealed fresh blue black fruit and was almost yeasty.  In the mouth the flavors were tighter with lighter body and blacker fruit.  There was a dry structure and lighter weight flavors towards the finish.  There was a red tingle.  Almost tastes like it was co-fermented with white fruit but it isn’t.  Black minerals come out with air.  **(*) 2014-2018.

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2010 Traslascuestas, Roble, Ribera Del Duero – $15
Imported by Moonlight Wine.  This wine is 100% Tempranillo which was aged for six months in American and French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a medium purple ruby.  The light nose bore vanilla and blue fruit then it became a little pungent or perhaps assertive with aromas of spice.  In the mouth there was dry, blacker fruit, dry tannins, a wood note, and almost tastes like it should be hot.  But the flavors were clean with some density, and good acidity.  The finish revealed more black fruit and a little, powdery tannins.  ** Now-2017.

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2011 Zestos, Old Vine Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid – $10
Imported by OLE.  This wine is 100% Garnacha sourced from 40-50 year old vines at 870 meters.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was fresh with berries and fresh herbs, along with tart, black fruit.  In the mouth it was a little powdery, showing some young tartness, tang, and a little [can’t read my handwriting].  Easy to drink and well done for the price.  ** Now-2016.

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A Slew of Spanish Tasting Notes

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

There are a tremendous number of Spanish wines available in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia area which are priced below $20 per bottle.   There are decent wines here with some more inspiring than others.  This may not be the most interesting post but perhaps it will help steer you towards or away from selections at a store or restaurant.  The 2010 Bodegas Valhondo was my favorite of the lot and showed better control than the tasty 2009 Clos Pons.  At $12-$15 per bottle the next three wines: the 2009 O. Fournier, 2011 Bodegas del Jalon, and 2009 Can Blau all provide affordable pleasure for drinking over the next several years.  At $10 the 2010 Maximo is an easy drink.  This wines featured in this post were purchased at various stores including Chain Bridge Cellars, MacArthur Beverages, and Total Wine.

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2010 Bodegas Valhondo, Valdrinal, 6, Ribera del Duero – $18
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is 100% Tempranillo which was aged for 6 months in new oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The light nose had a little vanilla and smooth blue fruit.  In the mouth this showed better balance with chiseled ripe red and black fruit which was a touch brambly.  The wine started with a bit of acidity followed by integrated structure.  There were cinnamon flavors to the slightly creamy and pebbly texture in the aftertaste. *** Now-2019.

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2009 Clos Pons, Alges, Costers del Segre – $19
Imported by JW Sieg and Co.  This wine is a blend of 40% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo, and 30% Syrah which was fermented in stainless steel tanks.  It was aged for 10 months in new and used 80% French and 20% American oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The was a light but heady nose of red jammy fruit.  In the mouth there were strong black cherry flavors, some jammy fruit, and generally lots of flavor.  There was a little spice to this somewhat muscular and dense wine.  With air it let loose a little.  ** Now-2018.

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2009 O. Fournier, Urban, Tinta del Pais, Ribera del Duero – $14
Imported by the Country Vintner.  This wine is 100% Tinta del Pais sourced from vineyards at 820 m.  It was fermented in stainless steel than aged for 3 months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There is a nose of light+ blue and red fruit which becomes darker and a little jammy.  In the mouth there are focused brambly flavors.  The sweet spices leave a little baking spice texture on the tongue.  There is acidity on the back of the tongue which comes out in the finish.  This is not quite a rich wine but certainly hearty and puts on weight with air.  Good for cold nights. ** Now-2018.

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2011 Bodegas del Jalon, Vina Alarba, Garnacha Vinas Viejas, Calatayud – $12
Imported by Artisan Collection.  This wine is 100% Garncha sourced from 50+ year old vines.  It was vinified in stainless steel, concrete, and oak.   Alcohol 14%.  The nose is light and gentle with aromas of red candy then with air, raspberry and strawberry.  In the mouth there is a little ripe red fruit then a touch of racy black and red fruit.  It shows some focus then becomes redder again in the middle.  The tannins are lightly texture and help offer a decent mouthfeel.  This needs 1-2 hours to show best.  The structure comes out in the finish.  ** Now-2015.

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2009 Can Blau, Montsant – $15
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is a blend of 50% Carinena, 25% Syrah, and 15% Garnacha which was aged for 4 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The color is a light to medium ruby.  The light nose offers up vanilla and sweet spice.  In the mouth the flavors are a little tart and red then become ripe strawberry.  There are fine ripe tannins with blue notes.  There is a core of light acidity which lasts through the finish of sweet spices.  The aftertaste bore tart red fruit along with drying, light to medium tannins.  This is easily drinkable.  ** Now-2017.

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2010 Maximo, Tempranillo, Edicion Limitada, Tierra de Castilla – $10
Imported by Frederick Wildman.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The light and gentle nose revealed vanilla and sweet aromas of baking spices and red fruit.  In the mouth there were soft, red cherry candy fruit, candy liquor, acidity, and a gentle personality.  The spices returned as Christmas spice in the finish.  This was an easy, fresh wine for current drinking.  ** Now.

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2008 G del R, Mencia, Bierzo – $16
Imported by Saranty Imports.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose has aromas of red fruit and a little toast.  In the mouth there is a little more concentration than the nose.  There were red fruits, a little black fruit  then a little grapefruit.  The flavors are kind of soft from the lack of acidity.  There was some ripeness.  OK. * Now.

A Pair From Spain Including an Excellent Value

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

I always have great fun tasting wines from Spain.  The Las Pizarras del Jalon has a soft and fat mouthfeel throughout but no great depth of flavor.  Perhaps it is in an awkward state right now.  The Herencia Altes is a good wine and also priced ridiculously low.  I double checked the price of my bottle against the website and it really is $10!  The raspberry flavors mix well with the tangy acidity and should drink well for several years.  You should definitely pick some up. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2005 Las Pizarras del Jalon, Alto, Old Vines Grenache, Calatayud – $17
Imported by Monsieur Touton Selection.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from 70-100 year old vines located on slate vineyards at 800 to 1050 meters.  The fruit begin fermentation with indigenous yeasts then was inoculated with selected yeasts.  It underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged 11 months in 100% new French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  There was soft, dark red fruit.  The soft flavors mixed with some liquor before tart black cherry flavors and wood came out in the middle.  The flavors harden up a bit but there is still some soft and fat body, along with fine, drying tannins.  ** Now-2017.

2011 Herencia Altes, Garnatxa Negra, Terra Alta – $10
Imported by Eric Solomon Selections.  This is 100% Grenache sourced from old and young vines which was aged in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 14%.  The light nose reveals fresh red raspberry aromas.  In the mouth the flavors are initially smooth and round before similar red raspberry fruit comes out.  The wine remains smooth with gentle, ripe and sweet berries in the aftertaste.  The acidity is tangy.  The wine showed better on the second night.  I spent more time drinking this wine rather than taking notes.  *** Now-2017.

Four Wines From Spain

January 13, 2012 2 comments

Of these four wines I strongly recommend the Joan d’Anguera which may be drunk now but will develop over the short-term.  The Alvaro Palacios is a good wine in need of age.  The Zestos is a decent drink but there are better wines for the price.  The Altovinum is an alcoholic bomb that should be avoided. The Zestos and Altovinum were purchased at MacArthurs with the Joan d’Anguera and Alvaro Palacios purchased at Soul Wine.

2010 Zestos, Vinos de Madrid – $10
Imported by Ole.  This wine is a blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Granacha.  This shows redder fruit with a hint of mushrooms and some tartness midpalate.  There is decent acidity.  On the second night, hints of dark, racy flavors develop along with notes of cherry.  There are fine+ coating tannins.

2010 Altovinum, Evodia, Calatayud – $9
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is 100% Garnacha sourced from vines up to 100 years old.  It is aged for five months in stainless steel.  There is a lifted nose of smoke and pine, which is actually a bit odd.  In the mouth there are gobs of ripe fruit, blue flavored, with the strong notes of smokey pine continuing in the mouth.  There are strange candied flavors midpalate.  This medium-bodied wine has good texture.  The balsam nose continued on the second night.  Lorelei commented “Pepperoni pizza” when she smelled the wine.  Not recommended.

2009 Joan D’Anguera, Planella, Montsant – $20
Imported by De Maison Seletions.  This wine is a blenc of 45% Carignan, 35% Garnacha, and 20% Syrah sourced from 15-50 year old vines grown on chalky clay soils.  The wine was aged for 11 months in French and American oak.  There is a riper, violet nose.  In the mouth the slightly soft fruit has flavors of ripe black fruit, and some spice.  in the middle the flavors become berry-like and a somewhat chewy in nature.  It finishes with stone notes and dusty tannins.  On the second night the finish is sweeter with fine tannins mixing with a minerally aftertaste.  This is well done and the aftertaste is enjoyable.  Will develop over the short-term.

2009 Alvaro Palacios, Camins del Priorat, Priorat – $23
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is a blend of 60% Carignan.  30% Garnacha, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  The wine was aged for 3-4 months in barrique followed by aging in tank and cask. This remained a bit tight with its red, structured fruit, and some minerals.  There are fine, coating tannins.  The acidity is well-integrated.  It is a good, contemporary wine that needs age.