To be quite honest I really don’t get to taste all that much Spanish wine. Sure some cheaper stuff floats around the place, and the odd Albarino makes an appearance, but the serious wines remain a rarity. Shame that as the finest wines really are that fine.
The following lineup tasted recently did, however, feature a few of these delicacies, again reminding of the depth and variety that spanish wines offer. Now if only they were more readily available…
All of these were tasted with food, in small brackets, with the bottle in front of us. Very civilised indeed. Prices are as per auction price (on the Alion) with many of the rest coming from Bert at Winestar. Notes are as they were written on the day.
Flight One – Aperitifs
Raventos i Blanc Gran Riserva de la Finca Cava 2003 (Cava, Spain)
85% white cava grapes, 10% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Noir. 36 months in bottle. $49.95
Creamy, leesy nose with that grapefruit Cava fruit overtone. Longish palate tastes of lemonade, bready yeast richness and a creamy finish. Nice wine this. Tinny mid palate the only turnoff. Good stuff, though I can’t help but compare it to Champagne…. 17.5/91
Valminor Albarino 2008 (Riax Baixas, Spain)
100% Albarino. $33
Always good wine this. I had the 09 version last night and it was better again.
Slight spritz in the glass, with a nose of tropical guava and musk if cast a little fat and open. Pear lift. Sour, chalky and dry palate that is entirely dry, clean and quite pure, if a little neutral. Nice and fresh if just a little mono dimensional. 17.2/90
Flight Two ‘Spicy’ Varietals
Salvador Poveda Alicante Toscar Monastrell 2007 (Alicante, Spain)
100% Monastrell. $15!
Bright, ripe earthen style with chocolate oak overtones. Quite direct and full nose with nice red cherry fruit. Palate is a bit raw and ready but no shortage of flavour. Drying tannins. Entirely enjoyable for the dollars with plenty of character. 16.7/89
Cien y Pico Doble Pasta 2007 (Machuela, Spain)
100% Garnacha Tintorea. $27
Reductive, bright redcurrant nose again with that earthen edge. Bright and forward palate has red cherry fruit and a rather drying finish. Savoury but a bit short for real refreshment. Astringent tannins a distraction. 16.3/88
Laurona Montsant 2003 (Montsant, Spain)
60% Garnacha, 40% Carignan. $45
Quite obvious (and welcome bottle age) on this. Black tea and aged beef nose over a similarly beefy palate. Spicy, gamey but nicely resolved with some lovely tannins. Good, evolved and complex drink this. 17.8/93
(Group favourite of the flight).
Flight Three – Garnacha
Telmo Rodriguez Pegaso Garnacha 2005 (Castilla y Leon, Spain)
100% Garnacha. $50
Concentrated nose. Loads of new oak, boot polish and more oak. Hint of raisined fruit. Lots of bitumen, jam and red fruit. Dry and slightly dessicated palate is brutish but not terrible. Very impressive concentration and form, if notably new world. 17.3/90+
(Group favourite of the flight).
Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2004 (Campo de Borja, Spain)
100% Garnacha. $40
Medicinal, spicy red fruit nose. Palate is dry and ever so slightly scalped perhaps? Dry astringent tannin. Rather awkward palate with medicinal edges. Everyone was playing the ‘pick the fault game’ but with no decisive success. 13.5/80
Alto Moncayo Garnacha 2003 (Campo de Borja, Spain)
100% Garnacha, $55
Heavily raisined and oak crammed nose. So much expensive vanillan oak hides all the regional goodness. Very luscious and oak sweet palate. Ultimately too much oak. 16.3/87
Flight Four – Ribera del Duero
Now we are getting serious… Lots to like here.
Pesquera Tinto Crianza Alejandro Fernandez 2004 (Ribera del Duero, Spain)
100% Tempranillo. $45
Beautiful nose. All lovely and correct. Pepper and meaty nose with that lovely rich earth + fruit Tempranillo character. Dry, nicely resolved palate with lots of dry extract but without being awkward. Love the tannins here. Yes. 18.2/93
Condado De Haza Tino Crianza 2006 (Ribera del Duero, Spain)
100% Tempranillo. $43
Caramelised nose with sweet yet dry red fruit. Some red fruit though just a smidgen skinny and herbal through the mid palate, ending somewhat dry. Lots of tannic power though. I’d like more freshness really but you can’t deny the impact. Should improve. 17/90
Bodegas Alion 2003 (Ribera del Duero, Spain)
100% Tempranillo. $140
Absolutely lived up the hype. Dried meat, pepper and red dirt Tempanillo nose. The palate is a masterpiece of meaty dry tannic power. Such length! In fact, this is all about tannins, leafy, dry, distinct tannins, though it’s still quite fresh and fleshy through the middle. Just a delicious savoury dry red really. Had me thinking about Tuscan reds actually, in the very best way. Worthy. 18.6/94
(Group favourite wine of flight)
Flight Five – Rioja
Palacios Remondo La Montesa 2006 (Rioja, Spain)
60% Garnacha/Tempranillo with Graciano and Mazuelo. $28
Macerated cherry and redcurrant with black pepper. Vibrant and Garnacha driven nose. Bright and ripe, succulent palate with lovely perfume. Juicy yet without forgetting some nice drying tannins. Extremely likable (and well priced). 17.6/91
(Group favourite of this flight)
Roda Reserva Tempranillo Garnacha 2005 (Rioja, Spain)
85% Tempranillo, 9% Graciano and 6% Garnacha. $80
Always a lovely wine this. Floral red licorice nose, palate is mid weight and quite elegant, cast in the red fruit style with some herbal, meaty overtones. Very pretty and velveteen. Had me thinking about a lighter styled Aussie GSM actually (in a good way). Particularly drinkable. 18/93
Telmo Rodriquex LZ Tempranillo 2007 (Rioja, Spain)
Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha, $26
Flight Six – Priorat
I dig Priorat, but it can be variable…
Vall Llach Embruix 2004 (Priorat, Spain)
Garnacha, Carinena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. $70
Pepper, black licorice and someone suggested cardamon pods (and I’m using it). Redcurrant. Typically roasted nose. Sinewy, dried licorice and red fruit palate with a very dried out finish. Raw oak tannins. Stewed. Not quite there. 16.8/89
Clos Mogador 2005 (Priorat, Spain)
Garnacha, Carinena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. $190
Nutty, flor like nose. Red musk and red fruit on the nose. Palate starts surprisingly plush (Grenache doing it’s thing) but then comes the tannins. Excellent tannins! Long long long long long. Oak creaminess through the middle. Love that tannin! Palate is just a little stewed. Glorious tannins, though the rest isn’t totally integrated yet. 18/93
(Group favourite of the flight).
Flight Seven – Jerez
Emilio Lustau Escuadrilla Rare Amontillado (Jerez, Spain)
100% Palomino Fino. $27 375ml
Nice nutty Amontillado. Not to dry or obvious, just correct. Cheap too. 17/90
Romate Cardenal Cisneros Pedro Ximinez (Jerez, Spain)
100% Pedro Ximinez. $55
This is what it’s all about. Love this stuff. Intensely thick, rich and raisined with concentrated treacle and caramel sauce. Long, soft and absolutely complete. Marvellous PX. My bag. 18.5/94
(Group favourite of the flight and up there as wine of the night).