Posts Tagged ‘Rioja’

Spain: Mambo Number Five. Numero Cinco

April 3, 2010

Los Trenzones, Condesa de Leganza vineyards in La Mancha

Spain is probably the source of some of the best value you can get these days. Here some quick notes on cinco vinos de puta madre, like they say in the land of Don Quixote, Tapas and ever-choking-at-World-Cup national teams.

Legaris Crianza Ribera del Duero 2003 $30. After drinkingTempranillos from Toro for the last few months, I really enjoyed the switch over to Ribera del Duero. Elegant, satisfying fruit in a medium frame supported by lovely tannins. Good stuff. Paella, roast chicken with rosemary? No brainer. Pick it up.

Dehesa Gago, Toro 2007 $20. Telmo Rodríguez is perhaps the top winemaker in the Toro region. This Tempranillo loads up all the rustic power and concentration typical of the appellation plus unoaked fruit freshness. Solid.

Faustino V Reserva 2004 $25. 92% Tempranillo + 8% Mazuelo make this a real head turner. Intoxicating nose with toasty woody notes and a velvety mouthfeel of stewed fruit. Ok. Enough vino bul@#$^&&. Yummy.

Fortius Tempranillo 2006 $14. Look for this Tempranillo all over Vancouver, and when you find it, snatch a couple (cases). Possibly best value Tempranillo in town. Peppery, fruity acidity and weight make it a great choice.

Condesa de Leganza, Crianza 2004, Reserva 1998. Lines above I said “possibly best value Tempranillo” because it is hard to compete against this pair. From La Mancha, the Crianza* 2004 is remarkable, with elegant wood giving off cinnamon, coconut, preceding the medium bodied palate. 18 dollars? Amazing for the price.

The bigger sibling of the Crianza is the Reserva 1998. Yes, 1998. That is -let’s count- uno, dos y tres, cuatro, cinco, cinco y seis….12 years since release.

You better stick to winecouver. Which other blog educates you on wine and throws some Spanish lessons to top it off? 22 dollars is a bargain for this Reserva, gold medallist of the Concours Mondial Bruxelles 2009 (whatever that means but sounds important enough *~*) I Drank it with a friend and found all kinds of aromas on the nose. Bootylicious with persistent fruit finish.

Ok, now go grab some …y Ole!!

Condesa de Leganza bodega -winery- in Spain.

* I get asked all the time (it must be my Spanish accent -or my good looks) if Crianza is an appellation or a grape. It is neither. You will see both terms, Crianza and Reserva on lots of Spanish labels. You will also come across Vino Joven (young wine) or Sin Crianza. These last two mean no ageing in oak. Crianza red wines are aged for 2 years with at least 6 months in oak. Reserva red wines are aged for at least 3 years with at least 1 year in oak. These laws change for whites and roses.

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IVSA November 9: The Reds. Part I

November 12, 2009

Ok, let’s face it: A shiny morning doesn’t mean that our beautiful Vancouver fall is holding on. Mostly days are turning gray, cold and miserable. And it is for that reason that while I decipher my wine notes from the last IVSA, a pot of Osso Bucco -Peruvian version- is simmering on the stove, flooding my kitchen with aromas of beef ribs, porcini mushroom and melting celery. While I seep and write I keep an eye on it, you know, cooking is a serious matter for a wineaddicto like me.

The wine I have in mind for this Peruvian stew  (Estofado) is the Poggio al Lupo IGT Toscana, brought to Vancouver by Liquid Art Fine Wines. This fine, big wine is made by Tenuta Sette Ponti, the very creators of proved success stories, like the delicious Crognolo. The Poggio al Lupo is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante and a dash of Petit Verdot. The latter two are responsible for the deep coloring of this remarkable Tuscan broth and for its reverberate-on-the-palate tannic charge too. Piquant fruit on the nose, aggressive almost to a fault –but stopping just shy of- and with black fruit and herbal flavors that have a hint of bitterness, in the right sense. This makes for a challenging drink and for a great companion to a dish like the one I have on the slow cooker or for Osso Bucco, game or mature cheeses. In the vicinity of 70 dollars, this is a wine to look for. 91 points Wine Spectator 2007, 2008.

Wine Rhapsody treats British Columbians with the Chateau La Moutete, a red blend from Provence. The Rouge Vielles Vignes 2005 is a typical southern blend of Carignan, Grenache Syrah and Mourvedre. Medium bodied and straightforward in its simplicity, it will accompany duck or red meats with alacrity at c. 30 dollars. More impressive, albeit a lot pricier (7o dollars), the Marchesi di Barolo Cannubi 2001 is a big wine from Piedmont. A floral whiff precedes a full, dry, serious body that delivers all the textural –tannic- load of the properly vinified Nebbiolo grape. Braised meats like beef, lamb or game should allow the full appreciation of this biggie.

Stepping down a bit from the previous big Italian, I tasted the Sgubin Schioppettino, courtesy of Burrows, Luongo & Associates. This a red that deserves a lot more of the Vancouverite wine lover’s attention. The varietal is another incarnation of the better known Refosk grape, a local specialty which is adored in Northern Italy and Slovenia (where it is called Teran) but apparently nowhere else. Simple, rustic and tannic, it does have its charm, and having the chance of choosing a wine to have with roasted boar (ok, yes, it was road kill) I would go for this inexpensive food friendly red. 20-23 dollars. Burrows & Luongo also brings Australian wines. They showcased their Serafino line from McLaren Vale. At 26 dollars and 14.5% alcohol, both the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Shiraz represent good value. I enjoyed the Cab Sauv particularly, with its well integrated oak, juicy fruit and fine tannins.

Natalia Samborski from Select Wines walked me through some of their products. The 2008 Little Yering Pinot Noir comes to mind as excellent value. At 14.99 this Pinot from Yarra had a decent level of structure and a solid, savoury finish. The Villa Saletta 2005 Chiave (key) was the surprise novelty at this table and kept us chatting about it for a while. A blend of Cabernet, Sangiovese and Caladoc, this 16 dollar wine is light, simple and carries ticklish tannins, making the perfect complement to lighter fare. The 2004 Faustino V Rioja doesn’t need introductions and once again, impressed with its burly, intoxicating nose and stewed fruit loaded body. One of the best Riojas to be found at this price. My visit to this booth ended with the Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2006. Delivering the typical Mendoza’s Malbec style, this concentrated broth will be serious competition to the likes of Pascual Toso Reserva.

I will continue with the rest of the reds in my next post.

Salud!