Posts Tagged ‘Montsant’

Recent drinks or cheap stuff that tastes like Aubert and Sine Qua Non

We tried a number of value wines over the holiday break and I am happy to report there are certainly some fine values out there.  The 2016 Lafage, Novellum, Chardonnay is being compared to Aubert and the 2015 Lafage, Bastide Miraflors, Syrah & Vieilles Vignes de Grenache, Cotes du Roussillon to Sine Qua Non on a budget.  The former is ample in flavor and body, the later shows more focus.  At $15 each you cannot go wrong with either.  For a few bucks more I highly recommend you try the 2015 Antoine Touton & Fred Torres, Seleccion, Montsant.  Think mixed berries, fat, and juicy acidity!  The 2014 Mas Marer, Montsant is good too, just keep it in mind it is a structured wine from Monsant.  Finally, the 2016 Maitre-de-Chai, Carignan, Poor Ranch, Mendocino profess to fall in the middle camp of Californian wine making.  There are firm flavors of red fruit, bright acidity, and fine citric tannins.  There are hints of that Pilsner natural wine style which I find distracting but perhap you will not.

2016 Lafage, Novellum, Chardonnay – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay.  Alcohol 13%.  A very light straw yellow color.  The nose is mineral with white, tropical flowers.  The tropical fruit continues in the mouth with floral notes and a nutty body that is supported by just enough acidity.  The wine takes on a mineral hint towards the end.  This wine has ample body with grip underneath and a baking spiced finish.  *** Now – 2019.

2015 Lafage, Bastide Miraflors, Syrah & Vieilles Vignes de Grenache, Cotes du Roussillon – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars. This wine is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache sourced from vines averaging 55 years of age which was raised in concrete tanks and demi-muids.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The flavors come across as ripe at first then they show more focus with cool red and black fruit.  This focus is good, carried by slightly juicy acidity into an almost chewy finish.  The wine becomes floral and citrus infused with air.  There is some textured structure to support drinking over a few years.  ***(*) Now – 2021.

2015 Antoine Touton & Fred Torres, Seleccion, Montsant – $19
Imported by Lawrence Boone Selections.  This wine is mostly Garnacha with some Carignan sourced from vines mostly on clay and calcareous soils.  It was raised in stainless steel.  Alcohol 14%.  Grapey on the nose.  A dense, almost glycerin start brings fresh floral berries, and pure fruit covered with fat.  There is a bit of texture as baking spiced flavors come out.  The red fruits morph to blackberries.  In the end the seductive mouthfeel and juicy, acidity supported brambleberries, are hard to resist.  ***(*) Now – 2021.

2014 Mas Marer, Montsant – $15
Imported by Weygant-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Merlot aged for 14 months in used French oak and concrete tanks.  Alcohol 14%.  A moderately structured wine of cherries and herbs with good acidity moving the wine along.  It has a bit of a stone/earth note to it.    It shows a touch of bottle age already but might develop further into the year.  **(*) Now – 2022.

2016 Maitre-de-Chai, Carignan, Poor Ranch, Mendocino – $27
This wine is is sourced from vines planted in the 1930s and 1940s on soils of mostly sand and granite.  Alcohol 13.2%.  Sampled over two nights the nose remains delicate with bright berry aromas.  In the mouth are tight, slightly focused red fruit and some very fine citric tannins.  The firmness of flavor matches the bright acidity making this wine more about texture than depth of flavor.  It is verging on a natural style.  ** Now – 2021.

Tasting wines from Bourgogne to Priorat with Lou

Lou came over last week for another casual tasting.  I had opened up the 2012 Domaine Belle, Les Terres Blanches, Crozes Hermitage Blanc as Jenn and I prepared the table.  White Rhone wines are new territory for me.  There was nothing but pleasure when we each tried our first taste.  On the first night it was more vibrant and textured whereas on the second night it was smooth and mature.  If you are looking for a new white wine then you must pick up a bottle.


2012 Domaine Belle, Les Terres Blanches, Crozes Hermitage Blanc – $26
Imported by DS Trading Co. This wine is a blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne sourced from vines on soils of clay and limestone.  The fruit was fermented in 20% new oak barrels, 50% one-year old oak barrels and 30% in stainless steel vats then aged for 11 months in the same vessels.  Alcohol 13%. There was textured, slightly lively white fruit at the start. The smooth flavors matched the nut aspect that was balanced by noticeable acidity on the tongue. There was a gentle finish of stones followed by a persistent aftertaste. The wine seemed young on the first night but was perfectly mature on the following night.  ***(*) Now-2020.

Blind Flight

Lou supplied this flight in brown bags with his only revealing clue that they were all pre-2005.  Blind tasting is fun since I am not embarrassed by my guesses.  That the first wine was Riesling was fairly obvious but my conclusion of it being an old New York state wine was off the mark and continent.  The 1997 Albert Mann, Riesling, Schlossberg Grand Cru showed a bit of a split personality with its youthful start and finish of beyond-mature flavors.  It is a solid wine that is best drunk up.  The fresh, articulate nose of the 2000 Chateau du Going de Saint-Fiacre, Comte de Saint-Hubert, Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre et Maine did not prepare me for smooth, nutty flavors in the mouth.  On the first night I thought this a great wine to smell and taste with some evocations of the sea.  On the second night the nose became too funky for me.  This current release is only $20 so I will grab another bottle to try again.  Worst case, drink this wild wine on the very first night!  I guessed everything wrong about the 2001 Claude Dugat, Bourgogne.  For a basic Bourgogne it is rather serious stuff.  It responded well to air on the first night where it showed a bit of everything.


1997 Albert Mann, Riesling, Schlossberg Grand Cru, Alsace –
Imported by Weygandt/Metzler.  This wine is 100% Riesling sourced from vines on soils of granite.  Alcohol 12.5%. The color was a light to medium golden amber. It smelled of mature Riesling with a hint of stones. It had a more crisp start that carried young flavors. These morphed into mature flavors with some old wood and still some ripe, tannic grip in the short finish. On the second evening it had a good mouthfeel with more prominent old flavors, dried herbs, and a tart finish.  ** Now.


2000 Chateau du Going de Saint-Fiacre, Comte de Saint-Hubert, Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre et Maine – $20
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Melon de Bourgogne sourced from 100+ year old vines.  The wine was aged sur lie.  Alcohol 12%. There was a fresh, articulate nose of white fruit that on the second night was funky, dusty, and smelled of the sea. In the mouth, the almond flavors were smooth, engagingly floral, and mixed with white fruit. The wine was cool in nature with integrated acidity and a shorter, watery finish. With air the flavors became cheesy. *** Now.


2001 Claude Dugat, Bourgogne –
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from parcels on Gevrey.  It was fermented in concrete vats then aged for 14 months in used neutral French oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%. The color was a medium garnet. The initial aromas were high-pitched before revealing some deep fruit. In the mouth the hint of Morello cherries were tart yet had ripeness before building racy mineral notes. The wine was lighter in the finish with flavors of tart berries, some structure, old perfume, and dry black flavors. The tannins remained on the gums.  *** Now-2018.

Priorat and Montsant Flight

This flight was organized around two new arrivals of Mas del Camperol.  Produced by Celler Mas Garrian this is the same winery that produced the excellent 2005 Clos Severj, Priorat that I reviewed in my post Two Great Spanish Wines.  Priorat and Montsant are neighboring regions so I added the 2004 Celler Laurona, Montsant to the mix.  All three of these wines benefited from air and I thought tasted better on the second night.  The 2004 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat was the most interesting of the bunch.  It exhibited consistently greater complexity, poise, and will continue to develop for years.  The Priorat sun comes through at first but it does balance out.  The 2003 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat  exhibited brighter, cleaner flavors with notes of dried herbs.   Tasted alongside the 2004 the reduced complexity is noticeable so I would drink this alone.  I agree with Lou that the 2004 Celler Laurona, Montsant was the more coarse wine of the three.  It did come together on the second night where it had some complexity as well as old wood notes.  I do not think it will make old bones like the 2004 Mas del Camperol so why not drink it on a crisp spring night!


2003 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat – $37
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.   This wine is a blend of blend of 30% Garnacha, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carinena, and 15% Syrah from the estate’s older vineyards that was aged for 13 months in a mixture of new and used French and American oak.  Alcohol 15%. The nose revealed Kirsch and dried herbs. In the mouth this flavorful wine was grippy with building power and brighter acidity. With air, the racy cherry flavors continues. The aromas and flavors were consistent throughout, leaning towards the clean side. The structure was noticeable on the gums as the aftertaste had good length. *** Now-2025.


2004 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat – $39
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carinena, and Syrah from the estate’s older vineyards that was aged for 13 months in a mixture of new and used French and American oak.  Alcohol 15%. The initially ripe, rasinated fruit became more attractive with aromas of ripe, musky, generous fruit. There were deep fruit flavors, some maturity, and greater complexity with air. There was good structure for development. **** Now-2025+.


2004 Celler Laurona, Montsant –
Imported by Europvin.  This wine is a blend of of 50% Grenache, 25% Merlot, 15% Syrah, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 14%. The nose was a little plummy with some funk. It did not have as much depth and came across as coarse but with air it became less forward with better balance. There was decent complexity, some old wood but it still seemed fresh. It maintained a coarse nature with less strength. ***(*) Now-2025.


A Spanish pair from Montsant and Priorat

November 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Today’s post features a pair of wines purchased from Despana Vinos y Mas during my last trip to New York.  These wines are from Priorat and the surrounding region of Montsant.  Though they are mountainous areas the different varieties and soils have produced wines of different effect.  That written, they both have good acidity and are not full of big fruit.   Casa Rojo is an old Spanish negocient firm that produces wine from vineyards located throughout the country.  The 2013 Casa Rojo, Macquinon, Priorat is meant to highlight the slate soils of the region.  That goal is achieved through mineral rich flavors of cooler fruit.  I realize there is debate as to what minerality is but in this case just think liquid stone.  There is even a bit of structure that suggests this might improve through the winter. Ediciones I-Limitadas is a project that seeks to produce unique wines with each vintage.  The 2011 Ediciones I-Limitadas, Luno, Montsant is produced using vineyards located between 250-450m in altitude.  These mountainous vineyards have provided the spiced, dark fruit with great acidity that can only be described as crunchy.  It is a tasty wine that drinks well after a few hours in the decanter.  Be sure to try both!


2013 Casa Rojo, Maquinon, Priorat – $23
Imported by Luneau USA Inc.  This wine is 100% Garnatxa Negre sourced from 10 year old vines.  The wine was aged for four months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  There were mineral rich flavors of hard black fruit and stone.  The wine took on some tart and broad flavors of red fruit and some herbs before the puckering finish that left drying tannins on the gums.  **(*) Now – 2017.


2011 Ediciones I-Limitadas, Luno, Montsant – $19
Imported by  Martin Scott Wines.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Carignan, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 8 months in American and French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The subtle nose revealed herbs, olives, dark fruit.  In the mouth were slightly dense flavors of fresh ripe black and blue fruit that had a enjoyable ripe, spice hint.  The acidity was present on the tongue tip and help provide almost crunchy flavors.  The wine became firmer towards the herbal finish.  With extended air flavors of red fruit and Christmas spiced fruit came out.  *** Now-2018.


A Wine for the Deck: 2011 Mas Sorrer, Montsant

It is true that I went nuts over the 2009 vintage of Mas Sorrer.  I probably bought a few cases of it so I always try the new vintages.  The 2011 Mas Sorrer, Montsant is not as engaging but it is satisfying, nonetheless.  I think it is best drunk outside.  There is enough personality if you look for it but not so much that you will fear drinking it out of a cup or plastic glass.  This wine was purchased at Weygandt Wines.


2011 Mas Sorrer, Montsant – $15
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Merlot.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was a round wine with youthful fruit.  It had a bit of a cinnamon note, acidity, and drying tannins in the structure.  ** Now-2015.


Recent Drinks Including An Attractive Greek Wine Made from Mavro Kalavritino

These are several solid wines in this post that deliver regional character at an affordable price.  Of those still available I would recommend the 2012 Domaine Roger Perrin, Cotes du Rhone and the 2012 Celler de Capcanes, Mas Donis Barrica, Old Vines, Montsant.  Chances are you have seen this pair of wines before so I want to bring the 2012 Tetramythos Wines, Mavro Kalavritino, Achaia to your attention.  Tetramythos is a young winery having produced their first wine in 1999 and completed the winery in 2004.  I had never tried a wine made from Mavro Kalavritino nor from the Achaia region so I was excited to find I enjoyed this wine.  I was particularly attracted to evocations of wild scrubland herbs in the aromas and the flavors.  I recommend you try this wine and there really is no excuse not to, it is afterall, only $11.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2009 Andre Brunel, Cuvee Sabrine, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $13
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with some Syrah and Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose bore some blackberry aromas.  In the mouth were somewhat compact black fruit flavors, gentle spices, and fresh fruit acidity.  It became more robust in the middle with fine tannins in the finish and a dry aftertaste.  It opened up with air to show some roundness, a touch of earthy flavors complemented by garrigue, wood, and leather.  **(*) 2015-2022.


2012 Celler de Capcanes, Mas Donis Barrica, Old Vines, Montsant – $12
Imported by Eric Solomon European Cellars.  Alcohol 14%.  There were dense fruit aromas on the nose.  In the mouth were dense flavors that leaned towards the red spectrum before becoming black and dry.  With air the earthiness reduced but it did show some complexity with a little cherry note in the finish.  There was some extract, a little salivating acidity.  A solid wine.  ** Now-2018.


2008 Mercer Estates, Merlot, Columbia Valley – $18
The nose was a modern blend of fruit and chocolate.  In the mouth were flavors of controlled ripe fruit, chocolate powder, and hints of both greenhouse and spiciness.  There were fine, ripe, powdery tannins and some acidity.  This wine had decent flavors for the profile and should remain at this plateau for years.  ** Now-2018.


2012 Domaine Roger Perrin, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Potomac Selections.  Alcohol 13%.  The dark red aromas and macerated berries made way to mixed flavors of red and blue fruit.  The fruit tastes young.  The wine had some minerals, good acidity, and moderate structure which was left on the gums.  It had  a bit of everything but remained a little tight over two nights.  I would wait a few more months before drinking. ** Now-2018.


2012 Tetramythos Wines, Mavro Kalavritino, Achaia – $11
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  Alcohol 13%.  The attractive nose smelled of scrubland and became a little sweaty.  In the mouth were dark red fruit flavors.  This was a lighter wine with a dry flavors before a gentle, textured ripeness.  There were flavors of wild herbs that mixed with a sense of maturity and watering acidity before the dry finish.  This solid wine took up plum and cocoa flavors in the persistent aftertaste.  ** Now-2015.


2011 Valley Vintners, Trianguli, Bouquet, Danubian Plain – $19
Imported by Parallel 43 Selection.  This is made from 100% Bouquet which is a crossing between Mavrud and Pinot Noir.  Alcohol 13%.  The  nose bore dark fruit and tightened up with air.  In the mouth were modern, black fruit flavors, a hint of black tea, and a citric note in the finish.  This is a solid wine that should be aged for several months before trying.  *(*) 2014-2018.


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.


Three Recent Drinks From Austria, Serbia, and Spain

November 12, 2013 Leave a comment

I recommend you try the first two wines featured in today’s post.  The 2007 Vina Budimir, Triada, Zupa is a good introduction to the grape Prokupac.  The extended aging has left a very approachable wine with the flavors of black fruit and cherries mixed with a wood note.  It is slightly different in flavor profile but should appeal to many.  The 2011 Terra Personas, Somsis, Tinto Joven, Montsant is all about berry smacking flavor.  One bottle that I tasted on the second night revealed a serious aspect that makes me wonder if this will be even better in the new year. The 2011 Franz & Christine Netzl, Carnuntum Cuvee was a decent drink with outgoing flavors and notes of stone.  It certainly lends an Austrian perspective to things but I would rather drink the less expensive Somsis.   These wines were all purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2007 Vina Budimir, Triada, Zupa – $19
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Prokupac sourced from vines planted in 1935 which was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts then aged four years in large French and Serbian oak casks.  Alcohol 12.8%.  The nose revealed black floral fruit.  In the mouth were slightly creamy flavors of black fruit.  There was a drying structure of tannins then slightly different flavors which met a wood note.  The wine initially revealed some mature flavors but became youthful with air.  There was a little cherry in the aftertaste.  Drinking well now.  ** Now-2015.


2011 Terra Personas, Somsis, Tinto Joven, Montsant – $13
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of Carinena, Grenacha, and Syrah.  Alcohol 14%.  The good nose was a mixture of berries and ripe orange.  The mouth follows the nose with fresh yet weighty berry smacking flavor.  There was black fruit with a minor structure, lovely fruit, a little spice, and citric tannins in the gently structured finish.  **(*) Now-2016.


2011 Franz & Christine Netzl, Carnuntum Cuvee, Carnuntum – $15
A KW Selection imported by Select Wines.  This wine is a blend of 40% Zweigelt, 40% Blaufrankisch, and 20% Merlot sourced from 11 year old vines which was fermented in stainless steel tanks, underwent malolactic fermentation, and some aging in big oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This had standup flavors of red and black fruit, finely ripe stones, and almost metallic acidity.  ** Now-2015.


Wines of Catalunya Tasting at Jaleo


I set out to taste more wine after our extensive lunch which you may read about at the Wines of Catalunya Lunch at Jaleo.  The entire Jaleo restaurant was turned over for this event which 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. There was good balance between the number of attendees and the restaurant space so there was never any difficulty in tasting the wines.  I used my large red wine glass from lunch with which I found all of the wines were poured generously and at good temperatures.  I knew I could not visit all of the producers in the time remaining.   I started with the familiar Caves Llopart and Caves Avinyo because I have drunk a few of the wines but not all.  I then asked for recommendations which resulted in visiting Jane Ventura, Celler Vall Lloch, Vinyes Domench, and Cervoles Celler.

Caves Llopart

Celia Almirall I Valls

Celia Almirall I Valls

I find Rosato Cava fun to drink because they are all seemingly made from different varietals.  Monastrell leads that of the Rose Brut Reserva and I particularly liked the berry fruit.  I do primarily drink red wine so perhaps this is a natural reaction for me.  The Brut Reserva and Brut Gran Reserva reveal lots of texture on the tongue which I appreciate.  I must thank Celia for sending me home with a bottle of the Castell de Subirats.  Upon hearing that I taste and drink wine every night with my wife, she thought I should share a bottle with her.

2009 Caves Llopart, Rose Brut Reserva, Cava – $20
Imported by Fine Estates from Spain.  This wine is a blend of Monastrell, Garnacha, and Pinot Noir which was aged at least 18 months.  Alcohol 11.5%.  There was a fruit driven nose.  The mouth started with explosive bubbles then they faded leaving ripe, berry fruit.  There was a good mousse and texture on the teeth.  Enjoyable.

2010 Caves Llopart, Brut Reserva, Cava – $18
Imported by Fine Estates from Spain.  This wine is a blend of Macabeu, Zarel-lo, and Parellada aged at least 18 months.  Alcohol 11.5%.  There was an aromatic nose which was yeasty and earthy.  The firmer bubbles brought forth yeast with more acidity.  There were spices and acidity in the tongue-tip.  The flavors became chalking with textured, drying flavors.

2006 Caves Llopart, Leopardi, Brut Gran Reserva, Cava – $25
Imported by Fine Estates from Spain.  This wine is a blend of Macabeu, Zarel-lo, Parellada, and Chardonnay aged at least four years.  Alcohol 11.5%.  The nose was subtle.  In the mouth there were rich and crisp flavors with ripe, spicy flavors.  The acidity is well-integrated with the fruit.  There was lots of texture on the tongue followed by fresh herbs in the finish.

2008 Caves Llopart, Castell de Subirats, Penedes – $22
Imported by Fine Estates from Spain.  This wine is a blend of Merlot, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 12 months.  This was rich, soft, and approachable on the nose.  The fruit was red and tarter than I expected in the mouth but remained approachable.  There was acidity not great depth but tasty black and red fruit with a touch of minerals in the finish.  Upon revisiting I thought this continued to show good approachability with leather notes and a little tart, black and red fruit.

Caves Avinyo

Steven Alexander

Steven Alexander

Though the bottle do not carry vintages on the labels they are in fact all produced from single vintages.  Right now you can determine the vintage by looking at a code on the back label.  There was a berry quality which seemed present in all three wines.  I thought the Brut Rosato Reserva was well expressed and the Seleccion La Ticota showed unique, complex flavors.

2010 Caves Avinyo, Brut Reserva, Cava – $19
Imported by De Maison Selections.  This wine is a blend of Macabeu, Xarel-lo, and Parellada aged at least 18 months.  Alcohol 11.8%.  The nose was subtle with a ripe, yeasty bit and gentle berry aromas.  There were strawberries in the mouth with some ripe structure, good perfume, and perhaps cherry as well.

2009 Caves Avinyo, Brut Rosato Reserva, Pinot Noir,  Cava – $25
Imported by De Maison Selections.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir aged at least 18 months.  Alcohol 12.1%.  There was a delicate, fruit driven nose.  There was lively fruit on the tongue with integrated bubbles.  There was ripeness to the strawberry, bubble mousse with texture in the aftertaste.

2006 Caves Avinyo, Seleccion La Ticota, Gran Reserva, Cava – $37
Imported by De Maison Selections.  This wine is a blend of Macabeu and Xarel-lo sourced from the La Ticota vineyard planted in 1943.  It was produced from free run juice which was aged at least four years.  Alcohol 11.7%.  The fruit is there mixing apple and berries in a very gentle manner.  With time the wine almost becomes still with white and yellow fruit, nuts, yeast, and acidity.  There is a fruity, white finish.

Jane Ventura

Gerard Jane Ubeda

Gerard Jane Ubeda

The first two wines feature no-dosage.  Gerard said this is a popular style for Cava which is consumed in Spain.  I must admit I rather liked the Blanco Seleccio, 15 vinyes.  It was aromatic on the nose, flavorful in the mouth, and well priced!  It includes some Malvasia and for those who tasted the 2011 there is Muscat as well.  Hopefully this will be imported.  The reds were fun because they include the indigenous Sumoll.  There is no US importer.

2009 Jane Ventura, Brut Nature Reserva de la Musica, Cava – $18
No importer.  This wine is a blend of Macabeu, Xarel-lo, and Parellada aged 24-30 months.  Non-dosage.  Alcohol 12%.  There was a nose of ripe, yeasty white fruit.  In the mouth there was a soft burst of bubbles then the wine became almost still.  It started with bright, crisp acidity, followed by some herbs and a drying finish.

2008 Jane Ventura, Do of Jane Ventura, Gran Reserva Vintage, Penedes – $24
No importer.  This wine is a blend of Macabeu, Xarel-lo, and Parellada aged 42 months.  3% was barrel fermented.  Non-dosage.  Alcohol 12%.  There was a beam of white, pungent aromas.  In the mouth the firm bubbles were integrated with the fruit.  The bubbles slowly faded to still wine with a hint of yeast before leaving hints of dry berries and tannins on the lips.  Young.

2010 Jane Ventura, Reserva de la Musica Rose, Cava – $19
No importer.  This wine is 100% Garnatxa aged 18-24 months.  Low-dosage.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose was subtle.  In the mouth there were more aggressive bubbles which dissipated but some still stuck around.  The flavors prickled on the tongue.  With air I could work our red fruit and a yeasty touch in this young wine.

2012 Jane Ventura, Blanco Seleccio, 15 vinyes, Penedes – $15
No importer.  This wine is a blend of Xarel-lo, Sauvignon Blanc, and Malvasia.  Alcohol 12%.  There was a good, aromatic nose of tropical, tooty fruit.  In the mouth the focused fruit followed the nose with expanding flavors and some weight.  There were  ripe lemon flavors to match the bright, weighty acidity.  Quite nice.

2010 Jane Ventura, Negre Seleccio, 12 vinyes, Penedes – $17
No importer.  This wine is a blend of Ull de Llebre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Sumoll which was aged for 10 months.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose bore dark red berries.  In the mouth there was berry fruit which was black and red with some ripeness.  There was a firm core and some grip before the black fruited aftertaste.  There were some tannins.

2009 Jane Ventura, Mas Vilella, Penedes -$30
No importer.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sumoll which was aged 12 months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This wine was a little earthier with focus and a firm core.  The flavors were inky the finish.  There were strong, drying tannins.  This could use some age.

Celler Vall Llach

Albert Costa Miralbell

Albert Costa Miralbell

The Embruix offers up a lot of flavor for the price but the Idus is both a step up in quality and price.  The Vall Llach steps back on the richness but still presents a full-bodied wine with great complexity and appeal.  As I wrote in my notes below, I had to come back for a small drink.

2009 Vall Llach, Embruix, Priorat – $24
Imported by Folio Fine Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of Carinyena, Garnatxa, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot sourced from younger vines aged 20-25 years.  It was aged 14 months.  Alcohol 15%.  The nice nose revealed scented berries.  In the mouth there was ripe and rich fruit which was quite seductive.  There was a spicy, tannic structure inside which poked out at the end.

2007 Vall Llach, Idus, Priorat – $50
Imported by Folio Fine Wine Partners.    This wine is a blend of Carinyena, Garnatxa, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah sourced from older vines aged 501– years.  It was aged 14 months.  Alcohol 15%.  The nose was deeper with some earth notes.  The wine was seductive with mouth-filling, long, rich fruit.  It took on some tart red to blue fruit.  The structure is better integrated.  This is a generous wine best drunk one glass at a time.

2006 Vall Llach, Vall Llach, Priorat – $80-90
Imported by Folio Fine Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of Carinyena, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged 14 months.  Alcohol 15.9%.  This was the most dense and rich with a wave of low-lying flavors.  There were very powerful, fine, spicy tannins which did show some ripeness.  There were complex red fruits, sweet, grapey blue fruit.  This wine compels you to drink it.  Indeed, I returned at the end for a small glass.

Vinyes Domench

The Author and Marc Domench

The Author and Marc Domench

I could not resist a quick taste through this trio of red wines from Montsant.  I would probably spend the extra money to get the Furvus for it has good focus and balanced structure which should aid in short-term development.  The Teixar will benefit from aging.  It showed more delicacy and red fruits.

2011 Vinyes Domench, Bancal Del Bosc, Montsant – $30
Imported by Ole Imports.  This wine is a blend of Garnatxa, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged for 6 months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was good young fruit which was rich and bright on the nose.  In the mouth it was seductive with powdery berries, mixed berries, and was easy to drink.

2009 Vinyes Domench, Furvus, Monsant – $40
Imported by Ole Imports.  This wine is a blend of Garnatxa and Merlot sourced from 30-35 year old vines which were fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation, then was aged for 12 months in use French and American oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was darker with aromas of raspberry liquor.  This showed more focus in the mouth with its black and red fruit.  It was also structured with drying tannins.  This should age for the short-term.

2009 Vinyes Domench, Teixar, Montsant – $80
Imported by Ole Imports.  This wine is 100% Garnacha Peluda sourced from 80-85 year old vines which were fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation, then was aged 14 months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was more delicacy to this wine with flavors of raspberry candy and dark red fruit.  There was a firm structure and this wine will benefit from several years in the cellar.

Cervoles Celler

Alex Veen

Alex Veen

I looked around the room and Dave McIntyre caught my attention.  He was tasting a bottle of wine which he thought I should try.  It turns out this wine was recommended by Jancis Robinson as one of her top 100+ white wines of 2012.  The proof was in the glass which I was able to taste again that night from a sample.  It reacted favorably to air with both Jenn and I deeply enjoying it.  I hope this gets imported.

2011 Cervoles Celler, Cervoles Blanc, Costers del Segre – $
Not imported into the United States.  This wine is a blend of Macabeo and Chardonnay which was aged for eight months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a light yellow straw.  There were aromas of floral, weighty yellow fruit.  In the mouth the weighty and smooth fruit combines barrel fermented yellow flavors and yeast which is reminiscent of Chardonnay but different (obviously).  There were ripe notes in the expansive finish which was almost oily.  This is a complex wine which opens up well, fleshing out to a full-bodied, fruitier finish with some acidity on the sides of the tongue.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.