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Five different Spanish wines from five different vintages

February 26, 2016 3 comments

The parade of interesting wines I have tasted continue with five selections from Spain.  It is interesting enough that each one is from a different vintages.  Having drunk a modest share of mature red Rioja I suggest you try the 2010 Bodegas Olarra, Cerro Anon, Rioja Reserva if you want a similar experience at an affordable cost. The nose smells great with blood and meat, offering a counterpoint to the somewhat short finish.  The 2011 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de Casa, Priorat  is no amped up Grenache based wine.  Made from the youngest vines on the property, it is an elegant wine that will make you think of stones.  The 2012 Barahonda, Barrica, Yecla offers strong value for only $12.  Whereas the 2011 vintage had more complex, mature flavors, this latest vintage tastes younger and cleaner.  The 2013 Finca Villacreces, Pruno, Ribera del Duero  is a generous wine offering up strong aromas and a cloud of flavors in the mouth.  It is a little on the young side but if you don’t want to wait a year then double-decant it several hours ahead.  If you only try one wine from this list then the 2014 La Zorra, Teso Rufete, Sierra de Salamanca is the one.  Not only is it produced from old vines of the rare variety Rufete, it smells and tastes like nothing else.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 Bodegas Olarra, Cerro Anon, Rioja Reserva – $17
Imported by Classic Wines.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose is great with bloody and meaty aromas which smell like a musky, mature Rioja.  There are similar black fruit flavors in the mouth with slight grip, integrated tannins, chocolate powder, and some cherry notes.  The finish is a little short with ripe and polished wood tannins.  Neat!  *** Now – 2020.

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2011 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de Casa, Priorat – $16
Imported by the Spanish Wine Importers.  This wine is 100% Grenache.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This is a different sort of wine with framed suppleness around very fine tannins.  There is a great note of dark stones, not to be confused with minerals.  *** Now – 2018.

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2012 Barahonda, Barrica, Yecla – $12
Imported by OLE Imports.  This wine is a blend of 75% Monastrell and 25% Syrah that was aged for 6 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There is a black, mineral start then focused flavors of slightly bitter black fruit, camphor, and a minerally aftertaste.  ** Now – 2017.

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2013 Finca Villacreces, Pruno, Ribera del Duero – $19
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 90% Tinto Fino and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The strong nose delivered aromas of tar and some oak.  In the mouth is a cloud of flavor which exists around black stones, lipstick, and some very fine tannins.  The wine is certainly black fruited but has a citric aspect.  This dry wine reveals more power with air, taking a few hours to open up.  It eventually reveals dried herbs in the finish which is only when the tannins are noticeable.  *** Now – 2020.

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2014 La Zorra, Teso Rufete, Sierra de Salamanca – $19
Imported by De Maison Selections.  This wine is 100% Rufete sourced from 60+ year old vines on granite and sand soils.  It was fermented in stainless steel tanks then aged for 4 months in French oak.  Alcohol 12.5%.  After a wee bit of stink blows off this aromatic wine smells distinct.  There are moderately ripe flavors of minerals and red fruit with an ethereal sweetness.  The wine becomes dry towards the finish where herb flavors come out. It leaves a satisfying tang in the end.  *** Now.

Affordable selections from Spain

The 2011 Barahonda, Barrica, Monastrell-Syrah, Yecla must be one of the most frequently opened bottles in our house after the 2012 Chateau Marvis, Old School Rouge, Minervois.  The Barahonda is a $12 beauty that is full of flavor from the black fruit and minerals but provides interest from some mature notes. Though opposite in drinking age, the 2011 La Verdosa, La Suerte de Arrayan Garnache, Mentrida is my favorite of the wines featured in today’s post.  The beautiful nose makes way to expansive flavors but this is best left in the cellar.  The 2012 Castano, Solanera, Vina Viejas, Yecla offers up the serious flavors you would expect from Eric Solomon.  For a simpler, though old-school experience you should check out the 2012 Charo Moriones, Verasol, Tempranillo-Garnacha, Navarra.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Barahonda, Barrica, Monastrell-Syrah, Yecla – $12
Imported by OLE Imports.  This wine is a blend of 75% Monastrell and 25% Syrah sourced from vines planted in 1968-1970 that was aged for 6 months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There is a  mouthfilling start followed by a core of black, mineral infused fruit.  The wine is rounded out by grip from the attractive, ripe tannins.  Though rich in flavor, it is balanced, and somewhat compelling to drink for there are hints of maturity.  *** Now – 2018.

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2012 Castano, Solanera, Vina Viejas, Yecla – $14
Imported by European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 70% Monastrell, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Garnacha Tintorera that was aged for 10 months in oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The serious nose is followed by young and bright fruit which is supported by structure.  This cool tasting wine wraps up with ripe tannins.  **/*** Now – 2017.

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2012 Charo Moriones, Verasol, Tempranillo-Garnacha, Navarra – $12
A Jose Pastor Selection imported by Vinos & Gourmet. Alcohol 13.5%. The interesting nose offered up aromas of ripe strawberry and ripe orange.  There were similar flavors in the mouth where the orange-red citrus note took on some creamy Orange Julius.  This attractive, old-school wine then turned a bit soft and linear with a black fruited finish.  ** Now-2017.

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2011 La Verdosa, La Suerte de Arrayan Garnache, Mentrida – $18
Imported by Tradewinds Specialty Imports.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were rich fruit aromas of plum.  The strong flavors in the mouth showed plenty of texture, some weight, and black minerals in the end where the extract paired with an expansive finish.  With air there were additional flavors of ripe strawberries and wood on the sides of the tongue.  This nears a year to open up.  *** 2016-2019.

An inexpensive pair from Spain

Given the rate at which we have been spending money  to prepare our current house for sale, I expanded my purchases below the $11 per bottle mark.  Both of the wines featured in this post are worth drinking.  At only $9 the 2013 Bodegas Ignacio Marin, Duque de Medina, Garnacha, Cariñena offers an articulate nose, black fruit, and attractive greenhouse notes.  It will not hold your interest for more than two glasses so think of it as a wine to drink while you clean your paint brushes or prepare dinner. For just a Dollar more the 2013 Bodegas Castaño, Monastrell, Yecla has attractive aromas and flavors infused with crushed orange skin.  This flavor works very well with the tart red fruit and in the end, will hold the interest of you and your friends until the bottle is finished.  At only $10 per bottle I find that incredible.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Bodegas Ignacio Marin, Duque de Medina, Garnacha, Cariñena – $9
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is 100% Garnacha. Alcohol 13%.  The nose revealed articulated aromas of black fruit with a slight greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth were ripe, textured flowers and black fruit that was delivered in a more linear fashion.  The acidity and dryness were noticeable in the second half before the greenhouse notes came out on the palate.  The dry structure was appropriate before the aftertaste of minerals and dry extract.  ** Now-2017.

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2013 Bodegas Castaño, Monastrell, Yecla – $10
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is 100% Monastrell sourced from old vines on limestone soils.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a slowly building nose of crushed, orange skin and floral aromas.  Nice!  In the mouth were orange citrus infused flavors of red tart fruit.  There were dry, gum drying tannins, and floral, lifted flavors.  A pretty wine.  ** Now-2016.

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Spanish Wines at Lou’s

May 27, 2011 1 comment

Lou and Aaron

Last night I went over to Lou’s so that we could taste some Spanish wines.  All of the wines cost between $15 and $30.  The red wines were double-decanted around 5pm and were tasted over several hours.  We first started off with an interesting white wine.


2009 Bodegas Finca Torremilanos, Penalba Lopez, Blanco, Castilla y Leon, Ribera del Duero
Purchased at Balducci’s.  This is a blend of 50% Albillo Major (Tempranillo Blanco) and 50% Sauvignon Blanc that was aged for one year on barrel.  This wine has a light color of rich straw.  It is creamy in the mouth with floral notes, toast, and perhaps some yeast.  It shows more smokiness with air then more floral notes.  The is a bit short in the finish and has just enough acidity to keep it from getting flabby.  A bit too smoky for me.  ** Now.

The Five Red Wines

After starting with the white wine and three Spanish cheeses, Lou and I sat down to taste through the red wines.  The wines were tasted blind with the paper bags duct-taped shut so we wouldn’t cheat.  All of the wines were good.  While we did not rank them I particularly liked, in tasting order, the Val Sotillo (#2), the Martinet Bru (#4), and the Brozal (#5).  There are ample leftovers so when I retaste the wines I’ll add additional notes.

#1 – 2004 Solanera, Vinas Viejas, Yecla
Purchased at MacArthur’s.  This wine is a blend of 65% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Tintorera.  It is a custom blend for Eric Solomon.  This wine started off with a tight nose, almost young, with structured aromas of dusty earth.  In the mouth the red berries show a bit of sharpness and remind one of a hot, arid region.  The fruit rounds out over time but retains its coarseness, which is charming.  There are still some very fine tannins.  This was an interesting surprise as Jenn and I used to drink this affordable $14 wine.  ** Now.

#2 – 2005 Bodegas Ismael Arroyo, Val Sotillo, Crianza, Ribeira del Duero
Purchased at MacArthur’s.  This wine is 100% Tinta del Pais that was aged for 14 months in American oak casks.  This wine is much darker than the Solanera.  It has a light nose that shows some heat and perhaps a little sweet fruit.  In the mouth it is a bit richer, brawny, and shows dark tannins that taste a bit modern.  With air it loosens up a bit by developing sweet fruit that is nicely supported in this tight, structured wine.  This is a very nice wine.  *** 2015-2019.

#3 – 2005 Xavier Clua, Mas d’en pol Barrica, Terre Negre
Purchased at Ceceile’s Wine Cellar, now Chain Bridge Cellars.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot that is aged for eight months in French barriques and a wee bit in stainless steel tank.  The vineyards are 15-30 years old, are at an altitude of 450-500 meters, and have soils of calcair and clay.  It sported a nose of sweet, ripe, blue fruits, which reminds me of Grenache, combined with a lot of dusty, herbs, and some leather.  It is smooth in the mouth and has a softness that isn’t reflected in the grip of the nose.  It is a bit light in acidity and shows a bit of warmth.  It comes across as having a modest amount of barrel aging.  With air there are even more herbs and blue fruit.  An interesting wine.  ** Now-2015.

#4 – 2007 Famillia Perez Overtero, Martinet Bru, Priorat
Purchased at The Peter Weygandt store.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Merlot.  The grapes were fermented in wooden tanks then 66% were aged for 18 months in 4,000 liter vats and 34% in 300 liter French oak barrels.  This wine is a very dark, grapey color.  It has a young nose of tight, grapey aromas of raspberries and blue fruits.  This wine is mouth-filling with medium to full-bodied flavors that are creamy and marked by herbs.  With air there are cinnamon spices and more grip.  Tasted blind I would not guess that this is a Spanish wine.  It really is a lovely, contemporary wine that continued to develop through the night.  *** 2014-2017.

#5 – 2008 Bodegas El Indiano Brozal, Single Vineyard, Rioja
Purchased at MacArthur’s.  This wine is a field blend of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 10% Grenache aged for ten months in 50% new French oak.  The 3.2 acre vineyard, Finca El Brozal, is located at 1,800 feet and dates back to 1938.  Wow, this was completely different.  The nose sported dark red berries, pepper, and scented spices.  There are ample flavors in the mouth but it is still soft and balanced making it easy to drink.  The spices on the nose follow through in the mouth. There are very fine tannins that stick to the lips.  I would not have guess this as Rioja but this is good stuff.  *** Now-2017.

Later that night, two friends of Adrienn’s tried some of these wines.  They both really liked the Brozal Rioja.