Posts Tagged ‘Montsant’

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.

We Score with Spanish Wine

November 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Both Jenn and I love the red wines of the Rhone.  In photographing the latest empty bottles I noticed how many Italian wines we have been drinking and how I was willing to spend in the $20s and low $30s for a bottle from Sicily.  I felt that I was short-changing the Southern Rhone so I decided to purchase a few Chateauneuf du Papes under $30 from MacArthur Beverages.  I was sure there would be something.  Besides Bastide St Dominique and two other selections there weren’t!  Expanding out to Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and Lirac there are only a few selections as well, many of which I have already tasted.

During the early months of this blog you might recall my Notes From the Dump Bin.  There was a time when I could drink a diverse selection of mature Rhone for ridiculously cheap prices.  The Rhone dump barrel has since disappeared.  A dump stack developed at the back of the store where some perfectly good bottles have been placed amongst other selections.  The Pagos del Molino and Agricola Falset-Marca recently showed up there for $20 a bottle.  The Meritxell Palleja is a close-out so it was somewhat dumped as well.  In the end I walked out with a Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and a trio of $20 Spanish wines.

Bobal in Utiel-Requena, Image by Jose A Ferrer (Flickr)

I have eyed the Pagos del Molino at its more expensive price for some time.  It is a wine made from the Bobal varietal of which I have only encountered in two wines: 2009 Bodegas Mustiguillo, Mestis and 2004 Mustiguillo, Qiuncha Coral.  Many things grab my curiosity and Bobal is one of them.  According the Utiel-Requena DO Bobal is the second most planted varietal in Spain (behind Tempranillo) and most of it is in Utiel-Requena.  This is an appellation I had never heard of.  Located in Valencia this region experiences late frosts followed by very hot and dry summers.  Bobal may produce wines of intense color with high levels of tannin.  This bottle from Pagos del Molino is “only” from a good (3/5) vintage but is just starting to come into its own.  It is certainly a wine worth trying at $20.  I think there is more development in store for this wine but it is perfectly drinkable now, just give it several hours of air.  Perhaps Bobal will be the next Mencia.  The first time we drank the 2005 Agricola Falset-Marca, Etim L’Esparver we were disappointed.  For our second time we were quite pleased by the spicy cinnamon and meaty flavors.  The Meritxell Palleja, Nita is a nice wine as well.  It is actually attractive and I think we gave it short-shrift by drinking it in one evening.  It came recommended to me which I extend to you.  If I had to pick only two wines then I suggest you try the Pagos del Molino and the Meritxell Palleja.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2004 Pagos del Molino, Arras de Bobal, Utiel-Requena- $20
A Jose Pastor Selection imported by Vinos & Gourmet.  This wine is 100% Bobal sourced from 80-year-old vines at 620 meters.  It was aged for 16 months in new French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was medium garnet with a dark cherry core.  The medium strength nose started with mature aromas which blew off to reveal roast earth, wood notes, and a saline aroma.  In the mouth this medium bodied wine had rugged blue and red fruit which was mouthfilling with a little orange citrus, some black fruit concentration, and spicy tannins in the finish.  As the drying tannins came out there was a hint of ripeness to the fruit.  With air violets came out of the fleshy fruit along with cloves.  The mature nature returned in the aftertaste.  Give it at least 2-3 hours of air or better yet, cellar further.  ***(*) Now-2022.

2005 Agricola Falset-Marca, Etim L’Esparver, Montsant – $20
Imported by OLE Imports.  This wine is a blend of 45% Grenache, 45% Carignan, 5% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon that was fermented in 500 liter French oak then aged for 20 months in barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a medium+ purple ruby.  The nose was light to medium with finely scented wood aromas and spicy notes.  In the mouth there were high-toned red fruit followed by fine drying tannins, spicy cinnamon, and an acidic expansion in the finish.  With air it took on meaty flavors followed by noticeable acidity and very fine tannins in the aftertaste.  *** Now-2019.

2009 Meritxell Palleja, Nita, Priorat – $20
Imported by Folio Fine Wine.  This wine is a blend of 45% Garnache, 35% Carinena, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Syrah sourced from purchased fruit.  It was aged for one year in stainless steel and concrete tanks and bottled according to the waning or waxing of the moon.  TA 5.1 g/L, pH 3.42, Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a medium ruby garnet.  The light nose revealed a little blue fruit and strawberry, which was a touch high-toned.  In the mouth there was attractive, dusty red fruit mixed with a little citrus note.  There was a touch of concentration to the red fruit along with mixed acidity then strawberry flavors developed.  The fruit took on a fine jam nature which filled the mouth to become a little heady as fine textured tannins came out.  Give it a few hours or air.  ***  Now-2019.

Tasting Wines with Potomac Selections at MacArthur Beverages

September 7, 2012 Leave a comment

This week I stopped by MacArthur Beverages to pick up some recently arrived wines.  To my excitement John Spina of Potomac Selections was pouring six of his wines.  It is bound to be fun when half of the wines are at least six years old!  My favorite wine was the Lopez de Heredia, Cubillo for its interesting aromas and combination of maturity and youthfulness.  The Buil & Gine is a fun, vigorous wine which is evocative of Montsant.  The wines of Domaine de Monpertuis seem to be popping up lately with this Cotes du Rhone showing well.  The Hacienda del Plata is a fresh, strong value in Argentine wines.  Of the whites the White Rock balanced ripe fruit and oak with acidity and structure.  The richly aromatic nose of the Charles Schleret was good fun to smell.  Below you will find my brief impressions of these wines.  Note, I used a glass which my nose barely fit in.

2009 White Rock, Chardonnay, Napa Valley – $28
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was fermented in barrel with 15% undergoing malolactic fermentation with indigenous yeasts.  It was aged on the lees for 10 months in 5% new French oak. Alcohol 13.9%.  The color is a light yellow.  The medium strength nose revealed some ripe, textured fruit and sweet oak.  In the mouth the flavors were a bit tropical showing more restraint than the nose.  The yellow fruit had a moderate richness which was framed in some structure containing some acidity and light wood notes.  Drink over the short-term.

2005 Charles Schleret, Riesling Herrenweg, Alsace – $26
Imported by Neal Rosenthal. This wine is 100% Riesling which was fermented in stainless steel tanks.  The color was a light+ vibrant yellow-green.  The nose was rich with finely textured aromas of yellow fruit and underlying tropical notes.  In the mouth it was very focused with soft flavors, a little dry in delivery, floral notes, a nice mouth feel, and some tannins and spice in the aftertaste.  For drinking now.

2005 Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia, Cubillo, Crianza, Rioja – $25
Imported by Think Global Wines.  This wine is a blend of 65% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacho, 5% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo which was fermented in large oak vats and aged for three years in barrel. TA 6 g/l, Alcohol 13%.  The color was a medium garnet.  The medium strength nose revealed maturing aromas of red fruit.  In the mouth there was fresh cherry fruit with very lively sour acidity, a little grip, fresh fruit, and some mature wood notes.  Drinkable now but will be fine over the next five years or so.

2010 Domaine de Monpertuis, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Neal Rosenthal.  This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah. The fruit was fermented and aged in cement vats.  I thought this bottle was softer and more approachable that what I have previous tried.  The fruit was lively with flavors of violets and pepper.  Well done and drinkable now.

2006 Buil & Gine, Baboix, Montsant – $26
Imported by Think Global Wines.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Merlot, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon which underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for 12 months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a very dark and grapey ruby/garnet.  The light nose was a little herbaceous with floral purple fruits and violets.  In the mouth the flavors were generous with grip, ripe drying tannins, brambly fruit.  The wine is youthful with a satisfying inky finish.  Drink now for vigor or over the next five to ten years.

2010 Hacienda del Plata, Malbec, Zagal, Mendoza – $14
Imported by Cana Selections.  This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from the Las Marias Vineyard located at 921 meters on soils of clay loam with alluvial deposits.  It was aged for eight months with 60% in stainless steel tanks and 40% in French and American oak.  RS 2.25 g/L, TA 5.0 g/L, RS 2.25 g/L, Alcohol 13.4%.  This too was dark with a purple ruby color.  The nose was fresh with grapey, purple aromas.  In the mouth the flavors were round with a finely textured, youthful purple fruit, coffee notes, and concentration.  It was a little spicy in the finish along with the ripe fruit.  Drink now for freshness or over the short-term.

A Pair from Montsant

In continuing my exploration of Montsant wines I purchased these two bottles. There was a brief period where I enjoyed the Buil & Gine wine but in the end it just was not my type of wine.  The Cellers Sant Rafel on the other hand was very enjoyable and just one reason why I enjoy Grenache and Carignan from Spain. The estate was previously an abandoned farm with terraced land.  Xavier Penas has been rehabilitating the property since 1997.  Today there are 9 of the 22 hectares planted with vines ranging from 8-35 years of age.  The vineyards are located at 350-425 meters on pebbly soils of clay and limestone.  The production of the two wines is still small at 2,725 cases but Xavier will continue planting vineyards.  I recommend you give this wine a try.  Note, the 2006 vintage was just released so if you try it let me know what you think! These wines were purchased at Wine World & Spirits in Seattle.

2007 Buil & Gine, 17-XI, Montsant – $20
Imported by Cavatappi Distribuzione.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Tempranillo sourced from 10-45 year old vines.  The varietals were separately fermented, underwent malolactic fermentation, then were aged for six months in American oak casks.  This started with medium-bodied tart and stewed fruit with a core of decent red and blue fruit.  With air it became slightly gritty with red fruit and fresh, sandy tannins.  However on the second day the stewed notes returned.  ** Now.

2005 Cellers Sant Rafel, Solpost, Montsant – $24
Imported by Casa Ventura Imports.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Carignan, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged for 12 months in 60% American and 40% French oak barrels.  The nose revealed sweet spiced brambly fruit with a vanilla note.  In the mouth the brambly red fruit mixed with minerals, a cool aspect, and fine sweet tannins with spice.  With air it remained focused and young but managed to loosen up a bit.  There were ripe and sweet tannins which coat the inside of the lips.  There was good texture and a spicy note in the finish.  Drinkable now after two hours of air or wait one more year.  *** Now-2022.

A Trio of Spanish Wines

In a previous post I tasted two wines from Terra Alta which were recommended by Matt at Despana Vinos y Mas.  This post follows up with three more recommended wines from Spain. My favorite of this trio are the 2009 Les Cousins and the 2009 Clos de Noi.  These two wines both have good fruit, minerals, spices, and tannins which are balanced for drinking now yet also capable of short-term aging.  The 2007 Camino del Villar has a pleasant wood box and tobacco components but it does not have the same level of complexity.  With its similar price I would recommend purchasing the 2009 Les Cousins and the 2009 Clos de Noi.   These wines are available at Despana Vinos y Mas.

2009 Les Cousins Marc & Adria, L’inconscient, Priorat – $21
Imported by Avant Garde Wine & Spirits.  This wine is a blend of 35% Caranyana, 28% Garnatxa, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and 10% Syrah.  The wine is aged for 12 months in French oak vats followed by 2-3 months in stainless steel.  Drunk over two nights there is a dusty, tight nose with a touch of roast earth and coffee.  In the mouth there is red fruit at first then steely minerals, and blue fruit.  It takes on focus in the middle before tannins coat the inside of the lips and acidity brings it forwards.  With air the wine takes on darker, inviting flavors of blue berries, sweet spice, and slightly spicy tannins.  The wine possesses good richness without being heavy.  *** Now-2019.

2007 Bodegas Camino del Villar, Vina Aliaga,  Garnacha Vieja, Navarra – $20
A Spanish Artisan Wine Group selection imported by Sober LLc.  This wine is 100% Garnacha sourced from the Vina Aliaga vineyard.  It was fermented in stainless steel tank then aged for eight months in new American and French Allier oak casks.  After an hour of air the wine starts with red, tart berries the black red fruit with blueberries.  The older and software tart red fruit puts on some weight along with flavors of wood box in the finish followed by some tobacco and tea notes in the aftertaste.  This redder wine has a grapey  nature with a long coating yet light aftertaste. ** Now-2017.

2009 Celler Clos de Noi, Negre Samso, Vinyes Velles, Montsant – $18.50
A Jose Pastor Selection imported by Vinos & Gourmet.  This wine is 100% Samso (Carignan) sourced from 40-year-old vines located on three different sites.  It is aged 3-4 years in French oak.  The color is a medium ruby garnet.  The light nose reveals dark red and black fruit almost becoming brambly.  In the mouth there is focused minerally black fruit, some drying tannins before becoming a touch tart.  The grapey tannins are balanced by acidity.  The chewy aftertaste has good length, a little inky note, and sweet spice.  This is satisfying now but I would cellar for three years.  *** 2015-2019.