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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.

Walking and Drinking in Seattle

March 16, 2012 3 comments

In walking from my Downtown hotel to Capitol Hill I prefer to cut through First Hill. Located east of downtown and south of Capitol Hill, First Hill was a wealthy 19th century Seattle neighborhood. Many wealthy families built homes on this 300+ foot hill in the 1880s and 1890s. In the early 20th century many hospitals were built such as Grace Hospital (1908, predecessor to Swedish Hospital) and Virginia Mason in 1920. With the construction of I-5 in the late 1950s and early 1960s First Hill became cutoff. Zoning changes resulted in many tall post-war buildings being built. In 1976 Freeway Park covered a portion of I-5 bringing some connection across it.

Freeway Park in Foreground with First Hill in Background

From my hotel one simply crosses over I-5 on Seneca Ave walking a moderately flat block past the Freeway Park with the Convention Center in the background. This is where the terrain and buildings become interesting. The first several blocks are increasingly steeper. Some section are so steep as to easily swallow an 8+ story building in one block.

Remains of the Alfaretta

The hills and moderate density over 100+ years have left an interesting array of nooks and crannies in the form of underpasses, garages, and forested areas.

Deep Parking

Parking Under the Convention Center

A Sally-Port in Capitol Hill

With the steepest blocks ascended the crest is marked by numerous Virginia Mason building of various heights and vintages. There are several interesting buildings within a tight radius of each other. The Blackford Hall from 1946 evokes a pre-war decade to me but it’s proportions work next to the deeply colored brick Cassel Crag building from 1925. An utilitarean building lies around the corner with interesting medical bas reliefs.

Cassel Crag and Blackford Hall

Medical Reliefs, 1944

Medical Reliefs, 1944

Continuing another block north on Terry Ave entices you with the Terri Ann apartments situated by an impossibly steep wooded ravine. Turning ones head to the right is the Talisman Condominiums designed by John Graham and built in 1965. He is one of the architects of the Seattle Space Needle which was completed in 1962.

The Terri Ann Apartments

The Talisman Entrance, 1965

The Talisman

Two nights ago I went to John’s hotel where Brian met us to kick back and try the 2009 Fidelitas, Cabernet Sauvignon. Drunk out of glass low balls this showed it’s appealing nature after half an hour. While the wood influences are marked, they are purposefully present with control. At $17 it is a good value and would make a pleasing wine at a restaurant. After a few glasses we walked across the street to Tango for dinner. While the wine list stated the 2005 Pinyolet, Seleccion the 2009 vintage was actually stocked. Having never drunk either vintage and anticipating an hours wait for our paella I quickly accepted the wine. There was enough time for the wine to open and I particularly liked the minerality of the wine.

Last evening the rain finally stopped, the sun broke through, and I was hungry. I finally realized that the restaurant which I always wanted to eat at, but had incorrectly recalled was The Apartment, was actually Dinette and very much in existence. The walk over left me thirsty for a cocktail so I picked my favorite, the Manhattan. With a life-long love of Maraschino Cherries (including the original, dark, dense, less sweet jarred cherries from Italy) I also like a rich rye that is sweet in my Manhattan. This was drier with a refreshing citrus note. Many thanks to Heather for making me feel relaxed.

Bar Ferdinand

2010 Correggia Anthos and Catnip Salmon for Our Cat

The clouds lifted and so did the temperature. I walked back a slightly different route which took me past Melrose Market where Bar Ferdinand is situated. This pocket-sized wine bar and wine store had a good buzz of people drinking wine. When I spotted the Fatalone, Teres on the menu I professed my enjoyment of the wine and asked for something different. One sniff of a sample pour of 2010 Matteo Corregia, Anthos was all that was required to order a glass. I drank this last glass of wine, pleased after looking at buildings, thrilled to have discovered a new wine, and ready to fly home.

2008 Pendulum Winery, Pendulum, Columbia Valley – $15
This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Malbec. It underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 32 months in 25% new American oak and 75% in various second and third use oak. Last tasted this past September, this immediately showed more restraint than the endowed 2006 vintage. With a mixture of red and dark red fruits this showed some structure and barrel influences, in a dry, and pleasing manner. Good value. ** Now-2015. Find it at Wine-Searcher.com

2009 Fidelitas, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley – $17
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 25% Gamache, 20% Boushey, 20% Lady Hawk, 15% Hightower, 10% Discovery, 5% Champoux, and 5% Red Mountain vineyards. It underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 22 months in 50% new French and American oak barrels. The nose revealed dark red and blue fruit which was sweet. In the mouth there was dark red fruit with initial subtle sweet spices with a softness to the text but still plenty of enlivening acidity. There was just a hint of tart red fruit before fine+ ripe tannins came out in the finish. There is black fruit in the aftertaste. With air this shed some baby fat to reveal more structure with dark red fruit and vanilla notes in the aftertaste. **(*) 2014-2017. Find it at Wine-Searcher.com

2009 Pinyolet, Seleccion, Montsant, At Tango – $20
Imported by Peninsula Wines. This wine is a blend of 80% Garnacha and 20% Carinena that was aged for eight months in two-year old French oak. The Garnacha was sourced from vines planted in 1945 and the Carignena from vines planted in 1928. After one to two hours of air the nose revealed red fruit and raspberry candy. In the mouth there were initial flavors of red fruit, minerals, and citrus acidity. This wine became focused with stone flavors in the middle before turning blue in the finish. There was gentle weight, gobs of acidity, along with raspberry and cherry flavors in the aftertaste. *** Now-2017. Find it at Wine-Searcher.com

NV Manhattan, At Dinette –
This cocktail is a blend of Rye whiskey, muddled oranges, raw sugar, brandied cherries, and bitters. An oxidized blood-orange color with machine-made ice. A citrus nose with undertones of bitters and a hint of sweet rye. In the mouth cool flavors immediately make way to less sweet (dry) orange-citrus right before rye notes come out. The citrus fades as the rye stands out with a minerally, cola, and stone vein in the aftertaste. There is a floral perfume to this refreshing cocktail with an underlying darkness. Now.

2009 Sozo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Contribute, Columbia Valley, At Dinette –
There is a sweet, slightly scented grapey nose. In the mouth there is forward red and grapey fruit with a touch of darkness. With respectable acidity, this wine has a bit of everything but there is some roughness and heat. ** Now-2014. Find it at Wine-Searcher.com

2010 Matteo Correggia, Anthos, Rosso, At Bar Ferdinand –
This wine is 100% Brachetto. There was a medium-strength nose of perfumed, delicate berries and pastilles with a bit of grit. The strong nose entices one to take a drink. In the mouth powdery red fruit is tart with Myer lemon and floral Lavender flavors. This fun and fresh wine finished with floral herbs. *** Now. Find it at Wine-Searcher.com

Four Wines From Spain

January 13, 2012 2 comments

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

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

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

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

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

Another Wine From Sara Perez and Rene Barbier, Jr

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I have consistently been thrilled by the 2009 Mas Sorrer so that it was with great excitement that we got a bottle of Venus la Universal.  This is quite a different wine, with fresher, restrained fruit, and structure that calls out for a few years of age.  My recommendation is you drink the Mas Sorrer while you wait for the Dido to mature.  This wine is imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates and distributed in my area by Bacchus Importers Ltd.

2008 Venus la Universal, Dido, Montsant – $27
This wine is a blend of Grenache, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 10-year-old vines grown on soils of granite and sand.  The vineyards are located at 350-400 meters and farmed organically.  The fruit is fermented in open 500 liter barrels, wood tanks, and concrete tanks.  The wine is then aged for eight months with two-thirds in partially new 300 liter French barrels.  There is a nose of fresh red fruit.  In the mouth the wine tastes young with ripe, grapey tannins which coat the inside of the mouth.  With air the dark red fruit takes on some sweet spice and mineral notes.  This needs a few years of age. **(*) 2015-2020.

Two Spanish Wines From Whole Foods

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I rather enjoyed both of these wines over the first two nights.  Though completely different, I enjoyed the Vendrell for its ruggedness and fair price.  I consistently preferred the dark flavors of the Fernandez Rivera.  Clark and Julia were able to have some of the wine and they too liked the Fernandez Rivera.  Now these were drunk at out of the most unfriendly disposable plastic cups that were at my hotel.  While these are not the ideal vessels for wine tasting, I must remain flexible on travel and also realize that we do drink wine out of plastic cups at picnics.  The fact that both wines were highly enjoyable in this setting speaks a lot.  So I recommend that you try both wines then submit comments for this post!

Vendrell Vineyard, Image from Ryan Opaz (flickr)

The Josep-Maria Vendrell is imported by Beaune Imports of Berkeley, California and costs $16.  the Bodega y Vinedos Fernandez Rivera is imported by Classical Wines of Seattle, Washington and costs $19.  They are available at Whole Foods.

2008 Josep-Maria Vendrell, Sere, Montsant
This wine is 80% Grenache and 20% Carignan from younger vines.  It is produced by the 28 year old Josep-Maria with help from his father and an old family friend.  I thought this best on the first night.  It showed plummy, red fruit, good texture, and rugged power.  But on the third night it became a jammy red fruited, overt wine.  My advice, drink it over the first two nights! ** Now-2015.

2004 Bodega y Vinedos Fernandez Rivera, Dehesa La Granja, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon
This wine is 100% Tempranillo sourced from vines planted in 1998.  This wine is immediately enjoyable with its dark, ripe blue fruits.  This is smooth all around but not soft, there is a balanced amount of acidity to this weighty wine.  It is quite forward with its fruit.  This drank well over three nights without any gas. *** Now-2017.

18th Century Cellar,Image from Dehesa La Granja

Two Spanish Wines To Taste In My Hotel Room

November 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Portuguese and Spanish Wines at Whole Foods

I decided to change my routine of solely purchasing wines of the Northwest for my current trip to Seattle.    I have a deep love for the wines of France and Spain so for this trip I am focusing on tasting Spanish wines that I do not see in the Washington, DC area.  In sticking with importers from the west coast I found these two bottles at Whole Foods.  The Josep-Maria Vendrell is imported by Beaune Imports of Berkeley, California and the Bodega y Vinedos Fernandez Rivera is imported by Classical Wines of Seattle, Washington.  Both were under $20 and are proving to be quite tasty!  I will report back later.

  • 2008 Josep-Maria Vendrell, Sere, Montsant
  • 2004 Bodega y Vinedos Fernandez Rivera, Dehesa La Granja, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon

Two Exciting Iberian Wines

November 1, 2011 4 comments

We drank these two wines last week.  Mas Sorrer is a new venture from Sara Perez and Rene Barbier, Jr.  Founded in 2010 this bottle of 2009 represents their second vintage.  Sara Perez is winemaker at Mas Martinet, Cims de Porrera, and Venus la Universal.  Back in May, Lou and I drunk a bottle of her 2007 Mas Martinet BruConceito is a relatively new winery where Rita Ferreira uses the fruit from her mother’s estate.

The Conceito is imported by Vin de Terra Imports and available at Chain Bridge Cellars for $18.  The Mas Porrer is imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates and available at MacArthurs for $14.  The Conceito is more intellectual and unveils itself over a few hours.  The Mas Sorrer grabs hold of you and makes you want to drink more.  I am really excited about the level of quality here at such an affordable price.  I rather enjoyed both of these wines and recommend them!

2009 Mas Sorrer, Montsant
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah sourced from 10-year-old vines in the La Fuina vineyard.  This vineyard is located at 300 meters with soils of granite.  The wine is aged for 10 months with 40% in tank and 60% in 4-year-old oak barrels.  On the second night the wine was Rhone like with its ripe, robust blue/purple fruit that vigorously expanded in the mouth.  This is really good stuff with a yeast note and fine tannins that coat the lips thoroughly. *** Now-2015.

2008 Conceito, Contraste, Douro,
This wine is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Sousao.  The wine is aged for 18 months with 30% in tank and 70% in French oak.  The nose reveals scented berries.  In the mouth there is a lot of dark fruit which is elegant, with a powdery texture and gravelly note that is quite nice.  This wine is very approachable with some grapiness, a slightly savory midpalate, and in the end there is a lot going on.  This might be better with a year or two of aging. *** 2014-2019.