Posts Tagged ‘Emporda’

Good Wines Abound From Emporda, Montsant, Ribera del Duero and More!

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

This past week we have been fortunate to taste five very enjoyable wines from Spain.  We first began with the 2010 Bodega Vina Enebro, Quercus Red recommended by Lindsey and Zach at Despaña Vinos y Mas.  I asked for a bottle to try in our hotel room and after confirming that an earthy wine would be acceptable, they recommended the Quercus.  And it was quite earthy but with good character added by its juicy and textured qualities.  Lou recommended we check out the Union Market in DC.  After eating lunch we picked up some cheese, charcuterie, bread, and of course wine from Cordial Fine Wine and Spirits.  The 2011 Bodegas y Vinedos Valderiz, Valdehermoso, Roble immediately attracts you by the nose that leaves you a little unprepared for the fine, drying structure.  Still the wine was very tasty but I would cellar it for one year.  I picked the 2011 Roig Parals, Tocat De l’Ala because it was imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This was still a primary wine but the minimal structure meant it was more approachable than the Valdehermoso.  I like the interplay between fresh fruit, acidity, and spices.  From MacArthur Beverages come another pair.  The 2010 Bodegas Palacios Remondo, La Montesa offers up a lot of modern flavor and extract for the price.  It is a wine you can tuck into with your friends.  Finally the 2011 Orto Vins, Orto shows elegance with very attractive acidity and mineral notes.  While it is a wine for the short-term do not neglect to give it some air.  There is quite a range of wines featured in this post so I would simply try what sounds the most agreeable to you!  The Bodega Vina Enebro was purchased at Despaña Vinos y Mas in Manhattan, the Valderiz and Parals at Cordial Fine Wine and Spirits in DC, and the Remondo and Orto at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 Bodega Vina Enebro, Quercus Red, Murcia – $23
Imported by Critical Mass Selections.  This wine is 100% Monastrell which was fermented with indigenous yeasts.  No sulphur was used.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were definite earthy and funky textured flavors of macerated berries.  The wine possessed ripeness and seamlessly integrated acidity.  There was really good fruit which turned cooler towards the finish as some watery acidity came out.  This was a juicy wine for drinking right now.  It had a bit of a wood note with lots of texture and ripe tannins in the aftertaste.  The flavors become less earthy as it progresses in the mouth.  Nice.  *** Now-2019.


2011 Bodegas y Vinedos Valderiz, Valdehermoso, Roble, Ribera del Duero – $21
Imported by C&P Wines.  This wine is 100% Tinta del Pais which was aged for six months in French and America oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This wine possessed a good, fruity and floral nose which revealed depth.  The mouth followed the nose but with a dry start.  There were flavors of blue fruit, a little cool, dry structure, and overall attractive youth.  There is perfume lurking within the structure.  With air the flavors become rounder, a little salty, and the fine drying tannins take on a touch of spiciness.  A young but tasty wine.  *** 2015-2022.


2011 Roig Parals, Tocat De l’Ala, Emporda – $22
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache from 30-100 year old vines and 40% Carignan from 40-90 year old vines.  The wine was aged for four months in French and American oak barrels  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a youthful nose followed by roundish flavors of blue fruit surrounding some structure.  Notes of dried herbs come out with the intertwined structure and acidity. The younger flavors become a touch tart towards the end with a hints of ripe spices and berries.  With air the fruit becomes perfumed and takes on weight towards the finish.  *** Now-2019.


2010 Bodegas Palacios Remondo, La Montesa, Crianza, Rioja – $18
Imported Folio Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of  55% Garnacha, 40% Tempranillo, and 5% Mazuelo which was aged 12 months in French and American oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were plummy berries and vanilla notes on the nose.  In the mouth was a soft entry of plummy, blacker fruit.  There was a lot of flavor with some concentration and extract.  The acidity was noticeable in the back of the throat and sides of the tongue.  I enjoyed the floral violet notes in the aftertaste.  ***  Now-2018.


2011 Orto Vins, Orto, Montsant – $29
Imported by Peninsula Wines.  This wine is a blend of 55% Samso, 29% Garnacha, 10% Ulle de Llebre, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vines 18-90 years of age.  It was aged for three months in 100% used French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed a certain baking spice sweetness with its fruit.  The mouth followed the nose with plummy fruit a touch of vanilla and very moderate tannins.  The acidity was integrated.  The juicy fruit flavors become a little brighter with air as notes of stone and good acidity come out.  *** Now-2017.


Wines of Catalunya Lunch at Jaleo

April 10, 2013 1 comment


I have been anticipating the Wines of Catalunya Lunch and Tasting for a long time. It was originally scheduled for Tuesday, 30 October 2012 but the widespread forces of Hurricane Sandy caused it to be delayed until yesterday. This event was organized by Nuria Ruiz Mila who is the Export Manager for the Associacio Vinicola Catalana.  Holly Hansen of Holly Hansen Public Relations and Gastronomic 34 handled the PR. Approximately two dozen wine and food writers and buyers were invited to sit down for a pre-tasting lunch at Jaleo. The lunch featured wines and dishes from Catalunya. The menu was selected by José Andrés with the wines matched by Wine Director Lucas Paya.

Our lunch turned out to be a leisurely two-hour progression of eight courses with wine. My companions included Kelly Green of Girl Meets Food, Todd Godbout of Wine Compass, and Christopher Prawdzik of Prawdzik Group, along with Michael Birchenell of Foodservice Monthly. At the other table was the familiar Dave McIntyre, the Washington Post Wine Writer and author of Dave McIntyre’s Wine Line along with new acquaintance Michael Cavanagh of Chasing Pangea. The lunch was generous in all meanings with attractive flavors, substantial portions, and large pours of wine. A bottle was always left at the table so we could revisit the wine. José Andrés stopped by the table prompting the conversation to immediately turn to his advising the Hannibal series. He walked away encouraging all of us to drink and eat. I had plans to taste through the large number of wines being poured at the afternoon tasting but I succumbed to the lunch. It was a bright day which made the food look all the more attractive. The warm, summer temperatures and certainly the wine created a festive air. I decided to only visit a handful of producers after the lunch. I shall leave descriptions of the meal to the food writers but please find the menu below.

Pa de vidre amb tomaquet
Coca de recapte amb anxoves
Bacalla amb samfaina
Esparrecs amb romesco
Canelo de sant esteve
Fricando amb bolets
Pa amb oli & xocolata

As for the wines the 2008 Gonzalez Byass, Vilarnau, Albert de Vilarnau Chardonnay proved a strong start with balance between yeast notes, fruit, stones, and acidity. It is actually a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The second Cava 2006 Caves Llopart, Leopardi, Brut Gran Reserva was fruitier which made it a good contrast. At one point I peered towards the other table where I saw one gentleman wearing the most ridiculous sunglasses I had ever seen. A few minutes later the 2007 Torello, 3D by Custo, Brut Gran Reserva with a riot of a label was poured. Francisco de la Rosa Torello handed out 3-D glasses and it all made sense. The nose was very aromatic in this expressive Cava which captured Francisco’s personality.

The single white wine 2012 Agusti Torello Mata, Subirat Parent XII was of interest because it was made from Subirat Parent. This is actually Malvasia and carried white tropical fruits on the nose and in the mouth.

The red wines were off to a seductive start with the 2010 Miguel Torres, Salmos, Priorat. This was the most approachable of the four reds of which I appreciated the savory flavors and grip. The 2008 Abadal, Abadal 3.9 was deep with mixed berries and earth. It was a touch more forward than the classically structured 2008 Pares Balta, Gratavinum, 2PiR which will benefit from a few years in the cellar. The oldest and final wine 2005 Castillo de Perelada, Gran Claustro Tinto bore an old-school, savory profile. I have only drunk a handful of wines from Emporda so I was pleased to enjoy this wine.


2008 Gonzalez Byass, Vilarnau, Albert de Vilarnau Chardonnay, Cava – $80
Imported by the San Francisco Wine Exchange. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which was aged for 36 months. Alcohol 12.0%. The nose was yeasty with some ripe, yellow fruit. In the mouth there were yeasty flavors, toast notes, and whiter fruit than on the nose. There were firm bubbles which eventually just disappeared showing good acidity, levity, and chalk in the finish. Nice.

Celia Almirall I Valls, Llopart

Celia Almirall I Valls, Caves Llopart

2006 Caves Llopart, Leopardi, Brut Gran Reserva, Cava – $25
Imported by Fine Estates from Spain. This wine is a blend of Macabeau, Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Chardonnay aged for at least 4 years. Alcohol 11.5%. The nose bore a subtle yeast note with perfume and some berries. There was an earthy note to the start before fruit bursts in the mouth with a fine bubbly mousse. This made way to more firm and ripe fruit in the finish. A fruit driven Cava.

Francisco de la Rosa Torello

Francisco de la Rosa Torello

2007 Torello, 3D by Custo, Brut Gran Reserva, Cava – $87
Imported by United Cellars. This wine is a blend of Xarel-lo and Macabeo aged for at least 4 years. Alcohol 11.5%. There was an expressive nose with some yeast and nuts, living up to the 3D name. The flavors fill the mouth with moderate bubbles which softly burst. There was a toast, yeast note before the flavors became drier and savory towards the finish.

Antonio Alvarez

Antonio Alvarez

2012 Agusti Torello Mata, Subirat Parent XII, Penedes – $23
Imported by Mata Wines. This wine is 100% Subirat Parent which was aged for six months in oak. Alcohol 11.5%. This had a fruity nose with a hint of tropical, white fruits. In the mouth there were focused, gentle tropical white flavors with a bit of subtle stone in the finish. Good mouthfeel and flavor but not the most complex.


2010 Miguel Torres, Salmos, Priorat – $42
Imported by Dreyfus Ashby & Co. This wine is a blend of Garnacha Tinta, Syrah, and Carinena which was aged for 12-14 months in oak. Alcohol 15%. The nose revealed sweet, ripe black and blue fruit. The mouth followed the nose with savory, weighty, expansive flavors. It tilted towards a more seductive, international style. There was a little grip in the finish along with ripe, sweet tannins.

Mireia Crespillo, Abadal

Mireia Crespillo, Abadal

2008 Abadal, Abadal 3.9, Pla de Bages – $31
Imported by Classic Wines, Inc. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah sourced from Plot 3, Parcel 9 which was aged for 12 months in oak. Alcohol 14%. There were deep aromas of mixed berries and earth which tightened up with air. The wine was more structured in the mouth with purple and red fruit, a wood note, and tart red fruit. The acidity caused some salivation in the finish. Though young with structure it was still easy to drink.

Oriol Bargallo, Pares Balta

Oriol Bargallo, Pares Balta

2008 Pares Balta, Gratavinum, 2PiR, Priorat –
Imported by Broadbent Selections. This wine is a blend of Garnatxa, Carinyena, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah which was aged 14 months in oak. Alcohol 15%. In the mouth there were firm, drying tannins with good depth to the fruit. Young. There were some wood notes along with sweet, finely textured ripe tannins. This needs a few years in the cellar.

David Begg, Castillo de Perelada

David Begg, Castillo de Perelada

2005 Castillo de Perelada, Gran Claustro Tinto, Emporda – $50
Imported by Perelada Commercial. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Garnatxa, and Samso which was aged 14 months in oak. Alcohol 14.7%. This The nose was pungent with raspberry aromas. The mouth gave a sense of age but still has future development. The flavors bore some density and darkness in this savory wine. It was a touch old-school in profile. The structure started to come out as the tannins dried the inside of the lips. It left impressions of cocoa powder.

Two Wines From Catalonia

January 30, 2012 1 comment

Bodegas La Cartuja, Image by Friederike Paetzold from Ole

These two wines are located within Catalonia in the northeastern portion of Spain.  Priorat is located in the south-west of Catalonia and is a Denominacion de Oreigen Calificada DOCa wine region, the highest level obtainable and only shared with Rioja.  Emporda is located in the extreme northeast of Catalonia and is a Denominacion de Origen (DO).  Emporda is split two zones the northern Alt Emporda and the southern Baix Emporda, both of which are located next to the French border where the wines are from Roussillon.

Merlot and Cab. Sauv. Vines at Pont De Molines, Image from Castillo Perelada

I highly recommend the Bodegas La Cartuja for it is both an enjoyable wine to drink over the short term and it is strongly priced.  As a project between the Osborne (as in Sherry) family and Alberto Orte and Patrick Mata (the founders of Ole Imports) the goal is to deliver the mineral character of Priorat at an attractive price.  They certainly succeeded!  The Castillo Perelada 5 Fincas is an attempt to make a complex wine bearing the traits of their five different vineyards in Emporda.  This is a solid wine but it shows cracks in the middle.  For that reason, instead of buying a bottle of each wine, you should buy two of the less expensive La Cartuja!

2010 Bodegas La Cartuja, Priorat – $15
Imported by Ole.  This is a blend of 50% Garnacha, 30% Mazuelo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah sourced from the 24 hectare vineyard La Solana.  This vineyard lies at 250 meters on slopes with soils of volcanic slate and sand.  The wine was aged for 8 months in French oak barrels.  There is a modestly ripe, fruity nose of tart raspberry.  In the mouth there are good flavors of red and blue fruit, brambly in nature,tannins, nice juiciness, and some herbs.  This medium bodied wine continues with stone flavors and juicy acidity.  After a few hours it opens up providing sweet, weightiness and medium tannins in the aftertaste.  This modern wine is a strong value.  Now-2017.

2006 Castillo Perelada, 5 Fincas, Reserva, Emporda – $20
Imported by Perelada Commercial.  This is a blend of 40% Merlot, 20% Garnatxa, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, and 5% Samso sourced from five different vineyard parcels.  The wine was aged for 17 months in 50% American and 50% French Bordelaise barrels.  Drunk over two nights this garnet color wine has a sappier, roasted fruit nose with Jenn picking up “balsam.”  In the mouth the dusty red fruit shows structure before turning a little coarse and vegetal in the middle.  There are fine+, sweet tannins in the finish along with stones and some licorice.  The empty glass leaves aromas of wood toast and whiskey.  Now-2015.

2008 Celler Espelt, Saulo, Emporda

April 15, 2011 1 comment

Emporada-Costa Brava Denominació d’Origen (DO)  was created in 1972 but has never fully recovered from Phylloxera and the World Wars.  The DO is located just inland along Spain’s rugged north-eastern coast.  Vineyards were first planted by the Phoenicians in the 5th century BC.  The hillside vineyards are often terraced and must be planted below 200 meters in altitude.  They are constantly subject to Mediterranean winds.

The Espelt family have grown grapes for several decades but only started bottling their own wine in 2000.  The are the largest land owner in the region with over 500 acres.  Of these, 130 acres are old-vine Carignan planted in 1930.  They produce wine in a modern style.  The Saulo comes from a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Carignan grown on sandy soil.  The wine spends several months in barrel and in stainless steel tanks.

2008 Celler Espelt, Saulo, Emporda
This wine has a light+ nose of candied fruit that is a bit earthy.  The scented red and purple fruits combine with some spice.  There is good mouthfeel, a soft midpalate, then develops a tartness in the finish.  A strong value.  *** Now-2015.