Tasting #248 December 6, 2022 – 12:30 Wines from the “Camino de Santiago”

Tasting #248          December 6, 2022 – 12:30 Wines from the “Camino de Santiago”  “The Way of Saint James”

 Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

From where these wines come from:

The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

Plan your Camino by Booking a Tour

Yearly, hundreds of thousands of people of various backgrounds walk the Camino de Santiago either on their own or in organized groups. People who want to have peace of mind will benefit from an organized tour or a self-guided tour while many will opt to plan the camino on their own.

Origins of the pilgrimage

The history of the Camino de Santiago goes back at the beginning of the 9th century (year 814) moment of the discovery of the tomb of the evangelical apostle of the Iberian Peninsula. Since this discovery, Santiago de Compostela becomes a peregrination point of the entire European continent.

You may recognize some “Way of Saint James” pilgrims.

The Way was defined then by the net of Roman routes that joined the neuralgic points of the Peninsula. The impressive human flow that from very soon went towards Galicia made quickly appear lots of hospitals, churches, monasteries, abbeys and towns around the route. During the 14th century the pilgrimage began to decay, fact brought by the wars, the epidemics and the natural catastrophes.

The recovery of the route begins at the end of the 19th century, but it is during the last quarter of the 20th century when the authentic contemporary resurge of the peregrination takes place. There is no doubt that the social, tourist, cultural or sport components have had a great importance in the “jacobea” revitalization but we cannot forget that the route has gained its prestige thanks to its spiritual value. 

Additional information on the Camino de Santiago could be found  here   (https://santiago-compostela.net/)   among many other good informative sites in the internet.

Tasting Presenters

Erico Silva and Nick Marzella

Participants:

TBA

Menu

Zuppa di Aragosta

Insalata di Rucola

Fettuccine con Ragu di Vitello

Salmone alla Griglia

 

Wines

Muga Rioja Blanco Flor de Muga 2019

López de Heredia – Viña Tondonia Reserva 2010

Raul Perez Bierzo Tinto Ultreia el Rapolao 2019

Guimaro – Ribeira Sacra A Ponte 2019

Notes on the Wines of the Camino

 

  1. Muga Rioja Blanco Flor de Muga 2019

The second vintage of their top white is the 2019 Flor de Muga Blanco, produced with a blend of 40% Viura from red limestone and clay soils, 30% Garnacha Blanca from classical clay and limestone and 30% Maturana Blanca planted on sandy soils. It fermented in small barrels with indigenous yeasts and then matured in concrete eggs for three months and new barriques built in their own cooperage for six months. The wine is 13.2% alcohol and has a pH of 3.2 with very good acidity. There are only 37 hectares of Maturana Blanca in Rioja, of which they have eight.

It’s the same grape as the extinct Ribadavia variety from Galicia. The variety disappeared because it delivers very low yields, but they love the quality when it is picked fully ripe when it still keeps very good acidity. The wine is still a little oaky and powerful, from a warm and dry year, but the palate is electric and almost salty. This is a white that should develop nicely in bottle (I wish I had a time machine!), and as with the rosé, this feels like the finest vintage to date… only the second one! 11,892 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2020.  WineAdvocate 94+ points

Structured, complex and layered white with medium body and a creamy, phenolic texture. Dried lemons, apricot stones, cedar, flint and sea salt. Long and evolving. Very fresh, too. Fantastic. About 12,000 bottles made. 40% Viura, 30% grenache blanc and 30% maturana. Drink or hold.   James Suckling 95 points

 

2. López de Heredia – Viña Tondonia Reserva 2010

About as delicious as old-school Rioja ever gets, this is a joy now and will just get better all at just 13.0% alcohol. Pair it up with rich lamb or braised beef and you will  be very happy. The 2010 Viña Tondonia Reserva has all I expect from a Reserva from Tondonia, complexity, elegance and evolution, a developed nose with notes of forest floor and wild berries, herbs and flowers, a touch of iodine, brick dust and very fine, polished tannins. It has the seriousness and elegance of Tondonia. This is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho (they use the masculine form of the name of the grape) and 5% each Graciano and Mazuelo that fermented in the ancient oak vats from when the winery was created 144 years ago and matured in well-seasoned, American oak barrels for six years. Wine Advocate 96 points

 

3. Raul Perez Bierzo Tinto Ultreia el Rapolao 2019

The blend is similar to Perez,  Ultreia St Jacques, but all the fruit comes from a tiny plot of 100+ year-old, ungrafted, vines in Bierzo El Rapolao cru. The whole grape bunches go into open-top chestnut vats, ferment at their own pace with native yeasts, and then sit and soak for 30 days after fermentation with no sulfur while a film of flor yeast grows across the top. The free-run juice is drained into two used 500-liter and one 225-liter French oak casks to rest for 12 months.

Around 1,500 bottles are filled.

If you are looking for a blockbuster, big and bold, wine this is NOT it! This is all about delicacy, silkiness, and purity, with highly polished tannins and a floral, blue-fruited, finish that does not quit. It is delicious now, probably at peak from 2024 and best enjoyed through the end of the decade.

It is not clear which vintage is better for the Ultreia range, as it depends on the wine. I think the 2019 Ultreia El Rapolao is better than the 2020, perhaps because it is from a warmer and riper year, when this wine tends to behave better. This is juicy, round and complete, with abundant, very fine tannins and the balance and stuffing to develop nicely in bottle. Wine Advocate 97 points Guimaro – Ribeira Sacra A Ponte 2019

Pedro Rodriguez great project – restoring this formerly family-owned vineyard to its former glory. Slopes range up to 80% here where Pedro and his father planted a classic Ribera Sacra field blend. Amazing amount of power from such a young wine and worth decanting if you are opening it soon.

The single-vineyard 2019 A Ponte was produced with grapes from vines planted in 2010, a vineyard that used to belong to the Guímaro family a long time ago that they had to buy again and replant. It is a blend of 30% Mencía and similar parts of Caíño, Merenzao, Brancellao and Sousón. All the grapes fermented together with 100% full clusters in closed troncoconic vats with a 50-day total maceration time and always matured in 500-liter barrels. It has less color and is rather light and ethereal compared to its siblings. All the 2019s are more closed than the 2020s, and the wines are more austere and, in general, have more depth and balance, with lower alcohol. This has 13% and a subtle nose of wild flowers and herbs, nuanced and complex.

This is superb for such young vines. 4,000 bottles produced.  Wine Advocate 95+ points

4. Guimaro – Ribeira Sacra A Ponte 2019

Pedro Rodriguez’s great project – restoring this formerly family-owned vineyard to its former glory. Slopes range up to 80% here where Pedro and his father planted a classic Ribera Sacra field blend. Amazing amount of power from such a young wine and worth decanting if you are opening it soon.

The single-vineyard 2019 A Ponte was produced with grapes from vines planted in 2010, a
vineyard that used to belong to the Guímaro family a long time ago that they had to buy again and replant. It’s a blend of 30% Mencía and similar parts of Caíño, Merenzao, Brancellao and Sousón. All the grapes fermented together with 100% full clusters in closed troncoconic vats with a 50-day total maceration time and always matured in 500-liter barrels. It has less color and is rather light and ethereal compared to its siblings. All the 2019s are more closed than the 2020s, and the wines are more austere and, in general, have more depth and balance, with lower alcohol. This has 13% and a subtle nose of wild flowers and herbs, nuanced and complex.

This is superb for such young vines. 4,000 bottles produced. Wine Advocate 95+ points.

.o0o.

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Tasting # 247 – November 15, 2022 – 12:30   The Best Red Wines of 2022:

Tasting # 247 – November 15, 2022 – 12:30   The Best Red Wines of 2022:
Priorat, Ribera Del Duero, Ribera Sacra, Rioja, and Toro

 Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

 

Power Point presentation version in pdf format by Ricardo Santiago    click here

1 – Objective and Tasting Procedure  

1.1 Objective

Compare the best red wines selected in the tastings of the Club del Vino in 2022.

1.2 Tasting Procedure

– Blind Tasting in random order.

-Participants will rank the wines by order of preference (subjective ranking).

– The preferences are aggregated and informed to the participants.

– Participants will comment on the wines.

– Participants may try to identify the wines.

– The wines are identified, and prices are disclosed.

– Participants select ‘best value’ wine.

Presentation by Ricardo Santiago

Members Present:  TBA

Menu

– Appetizer: Calamari Fritti (Fried Fresh Calamari & Zucchini, served with mild fra-diavolo sauce).

– Pasta: Ravioli di Vitello (Homemade Ravioli filled with veal and mozzarella in aurora sauce).

– Meat: Lamb chops with Rice al Fungi.

-Cheese: Cheese from Spain (TBD: Manchego, Idiazabal, Mahon, Tetilla, or   Zamorano).

   -Dessert.

2  – Red Wines Tasted In 2022

  • 29 red wines were tasted in 2022.
  • Wines were from the 2 Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa/DOQ) and from 9 Denominación de Origen (DO).
  • Great representation of the diversity and excellence of red wines of Spain. (Future tastings should include Vinos de Pago, Mencía wines from DO Bierzo and additional DOCa Priorat and Garnacha Tinta based wines.)

3. Red Wines Tasted By Region And Do/Doca

  1. Green Spain: Galicia   —                DO Ribeira Sacra       2
  2. Duero River Valley: Castilla Y León  — DO Ribeira D. Duero     6,                                                                                                     —    DO Toro    3
  1. La Rioja: Rioja                                     —      DOCa Rioja             7
  2. Ebro River Valle: Navarra             —       DO Navarra                1                                                     Aragon                       —       DO Campo De Borja     1
  3. Cataluña: Cataluña                          —        DOCca Priorat           3
  4. Central Meditter.: Valencia            —        DO Valencia           1                                                                                                     —       Do Alicante            2
  5. The Meseta: Castilla-La Mancha —-DO Manchuela     1                                                                                                          —-        Do Almansa     2

 

4 – Best Red Wines, Spain, 2022, By Tasting 

 

#237 – Jan    DO Rib Sacra:           Dominio DO Bibei, Lalama, Ribera Sacra, 2017 (Mencía 90%, Brancellao, And Traces Of Garnacha And Mouraton)

 #238 – Feb   No Red Wines

#239 – Mar   DO Rib Duero:         Condado De Haza, Ribera Del Duero, Crianza, 2018  (Tempranillo 100%)

#240 – Apr    DO Almansa:            Venta La Vera,Ternario 1, Almansa, 2019 (Garnacha Tintorera 100%)

#241- May    Doq Priorat: Ferret Bobet, Vinyes Velles, Priorat, 2017 (Carinena 74% And Garnacha 26%)

 

#242 – Jun    DOCa Rioja:  Marqués De Cáceres, Reserva, Rioja, 2016 (Tempranillo 90%) And Latitud 42, Gran Reserva, Rioja, 2010 (Tempranillo)

#243 – Jul      Doc Alicante:           Bodegas Artadi De Laguardia, El Seque, Alicante, 2019 (Monastrell 100%)

#244 – Aug   DOCa Rioja:  Sierra Cantabria, Crianza, 2017 (Tempranillo 100%)

#245 – Sep    DO Rib Duero:         Emilio Moro, Malleolus, Ribera Del Duero, 2017 (Tempranillo 100%)

#246 – Oct    DO Toro:        Hacienda Terra D`Uro,  Uro, Toro, 2016 (Tinta De Toro 100%)

 

  1. Selection of the Wines

Five wines were selected from the best wines in the ten tastings that included red wines.

– Selected wines are from five different DOC/DOCa.

– Wines are from the main DOC/DOCa.

– Vintages may be different from the wines originally tasted because of availability of wines in the market.

– Prices were not taken into consideration.

  1. WINES SELECTED

–     WINES FROM THE TWO DENOMINACIÓN DE ORIGEN CALIFICADA

     Marqués de Cáceres, Reserva, Rioja, 2016.
     Ferrer Bobet, Vinyies Velles, Priorat, 2018.

–    THE TEMPRANILLOS OF CASTILLA-LEÓN: TINTO FINO AND TINTA DE TORO

      Emilio Moro, Malleolus, Ribera del Duero, 2019.
      Hacienda Terra d`Uro, Uro, Toro, 2016.

–   THE MENCÍA OF RIBEIRA SACRA

      Dominio do Bibei, Lalama, Ribeira Sacra, 2018.

 

  1. Ratings of Selected Wines by Wine Club Members, %

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.  WINES

 

8.1       FERRER BOBET, VINYES VELLES, PRIORAT, 2018.

Varieties: Cariñena (86%) and Garnacha Tinta (14%).
Vineyard: old vines grown on steep slate hills around the village of Porrera.
Harvest: Manual.
Fermentation: In oak and stainless-steel.
Aging: 15 months in French oak and 11 months in bottle.
Bottled without clarification and filtration (may have harmless deposit).
Alcohol: 14.5%

 

8.2 DOMINIO DO BIBEI, LALAMA, RIBEIRA SACRA, 2018

Variety: 85% Mencía and 15% (Brancellao, Mouratón, Sousón, and Garnacha Tintorera).
Vineyards: Vines 23 to 100 years old in different types of soils.
Harvest: By hand.
Fermentation: French oak troncocónicos (25, 35, and 45 HL).
Aging: 18 months in old French oak barrels (300 and 500l)  and 10 months in troncocónicos of French oak (45 HL).
Alcohol: 14%

 

8.3 EMILIO MORO, MALLEOLUS, RIBERA DEL DUERO, 2019.

Variety: 100% Tempranillo (Tinto Fino)
Vintage 2019 in DO Ribera del Duero: Excellent.
Vineyards: Selected grapes from old vines trained as bushes and on trellising.
Malolatic Fermentation: 30 days in stainless-steel tanks.
Ageing: French oak barrels
Alcohol: 14.5%

8.4    MARQUES DE CACERES, RESERVA, RIOJA, 2016

Varieties: Tempranillo (90%) and other varieties (10%).
Vintage in 2016 DOCa Rioja: `Very Good`.
Vineyards: Old vineyards from Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa.
Harvest: By hand.
Aging: 15 months in French oak barrels, equally divided between new barrels and one- and two-year old barrels. Minimum two years in bottle.
Alcohol: 14%

 

8.5 HACIENDA TERRA D`URO, URO, TORO, 2016

Variety: 100 % Tinta de Toro.
Vintage 2016 in DO Toro: ‘Excellent’.
Vineyard: “Finca La Coscojosa” pre-phylloxera vines of 90 years of age planted in bush.
Viticulture: Organic – Ecological.
Harvest: Exclusively manual.
Fermentation: In 5000 liters oak barrels.
Aging: 20 months in French oak casks of 500 liters.
Alcohol: 14.5%

  1. REFERENCES

-Information on the appellations, wineries, and varieties of the selected wines can be found in the Club del Vino tastings:

Tasting # 237 – Ribeira Sacra

Tasting # 239 – Ribera del Duero and Toro

Tasting # 241 – Priorat

Tasting # 242 – Ribera del Duero and Rioja

Tasting # 244 –  Rioja

Tasting # 245 – Ribera del Duero

Tasting # 246 –  Toro

-Recommended book on Spanish wines:

Ballesteros Torre, Pedro. Compreender el Vino: Casi todo lo que aún no te havian contado de los vinos españoles. Planeta Gastro, 2021.

Available on Amazon Kindle, $8.99 (Comprender el vino: Casi todo lo que aún no te habían contado de los vinos españoles: Ballesteros Torres, Pedro: 9788408249795: Amazon.com: Books)

 

.o0o.

Three wise lessons:

3 lessons:
1. Do not despair before it’s over.
2. Do not celebrate before it’s over.
3. Do not leave your post before the fight is over.

.o0o.

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Brazil’s winemakers aiming to toast more global sales

Brazil’s winemakers aiming to toast more global sales

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Giorgia MezacasaIMAGE SOURCE,GIORGIA MEZACASA
Giorgia Mezacasa says Brazil’s winemakers just need overseas drinkers to try their wines

Giorgia Mezacasa says that overseas drinkers are often taken aback by the high standard of the wines her colleagues produce.

“The client buys the first bottle because they’re curious, and they are surprised by the quality,” says Ms Mezacasa, who is export supervisor for Aurora, the largest winery in Brazil.

“Then the second bottle they buy is a confirmation that we are producing top-quality wine.”

Brazil is not the first country most people associate with wine. Much of the vast nation has tropical weather that is too hot and humid for growing vines.

Yet down in the far south of Brazil, near the borders of Argentina and Uruguay, the climate is far milder. And it is here in the state of Rio Grande do Sul that Brazil now has a thriving wine industry, with more than 1,000 wineries.

Last year, Brazil produced a collective 3.6 million hectolitres of wine, according to country-by-country figures from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine. That’s certainly enough for a good party, but it is tiny compared with the giants of the wine world.

A glass of Pizzato rosé sparkling wineIMAGE SOURCE,PIZZATO
While Brazil produces still wines, it is gaining most regard for its sparkling bottles

Italy, the largest producer, made 50.2 million hectolitres in 2021, while second-placed France was on 37.6 million. Meanwhile, Argentina, which has the biggest winemaking sector in South America, totalled 12.5 million hectolitres.

To try to help it catch up, Brazil is now continuing with an export drive, hoping to encourage wine fans around the world to try its bottles. Currently it exports just 2% of its production.

As Rafael Romagna, manager at export agency Wines of Brazil, explains, they have a strategic approach.

Rafael RomagnaIMAGE SOURCE,WINES OF BRAZIL
Rafael Romagna’s organisation works to help Brazilian wine increase its profile on the world stage

His organisation was set up in 2004 by wine trade body Brazilian Union of Viticulture to work with the government to introduce Brazilian bottles to wine fairs and trade shows around the world.

So instead of each Brazilian winery having to do overseas promotion all on its own, Wines of Brazil would do it for all of them. “A Brazilian winery would hardly have the ways to afford the costs to go on their own to these events,” says Mr Romagna.

“As part of the strategy, Wines of Brazil enrols Brazilian wines in blind tastings, often with positive results. Our country is not recognised as a producer yet, so people are surprised when they find out they had just tasted a Brazilian wine, and more than that, a product with high quality.”

Grapes at winery MioloIMAGE SOURCE,MIOLO
Brazil’s winemakers have a long way to go to catch up with production levels in neighbouring Argentina

Aurora’s Ms Mezacasa says that patience is required to build up an export business. “Things don’t happen overnight, and there’s a whole study needed to define that a product is well-received among overseas clients.”

She adds that while Brazilian wine will probably be compared with that of its neighbours Argentina and Uruguay, their focus is mostly on reds, while Brazil has developed a specialism for sparkling wines made the same way as champagne.

“We prefer to focus on what we do better – sparkling wine,” she says.

Presentational grey line

Global Trade

Presentational grey line

Aurora now exports its wine – sparkling, plus red, white and rosé – to more than 20 countries, including China and Japan. The winery itself was set up back in the 1930s, and remains a co-operative co-owned by some 1,100 families that all grow their own grapes.

Flavio Pizzato, a partner at fellow Brazilian winery Pizzato, says that the country holding the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics helped to boost wine exports, as the two events increased global interest in all things from Brazil.

Flavio PizzatoIMAGE SOURCE,FLAVIO PIZZATO
Flavio Pizzato says that Brazilian winemakers have been helped by an increased international focus on the country

His company now exports to England, Germany and the US, and he agrees that you need to take your time to build up overseas demand.

“Exporting is a long-term project. It’s not an adventure of someone looking to export once, it’s constant work. And Brazilian wine has evolved a lot, not only the quality of our products, but commercially too.”

For Rafael Boscaini, export analyst at a third Brazilian winery, Miolo, overseas sales are driven by wines getting good scores at international professional tastings. He says this makes buyers take notice.

Mr Boscaini adds that canny Brazilian wineries now produce wines at various price points. “Some countries look for more affordable wines, others prefer more expensive wines, so it’s very particular.”

Miolo's wineryIMAGE SOURCE,MIOLO
Southern Brazil has weather suitable for growing grapes for winemaking

But while Brazil’s winemakers will inevitably say that their wines are excellent, what do overseas wine experts think?

Evan Goldstein, a San Francisco-based master sommelier, says that the quality can be very high. “While Brazil may be a new participant for many on the global wine stage, once people try the wines they are – at the top end of the range of offerings – quite pleasantly surprised and delighted.”

UK-based master of wine Rebecca Gibb says that the problem for Brazilian winemakers is encouraging overseas drinkers to try them in the first place.

“While there’s nothing to say Brazil can’t find a small niche in the UK market, large volume success is hard to imagine, but there are some open-minded importers who could champion it,” she says.

“There would have to be a compelling price, quality level or signature wine style like New Zealand sauvignon blanc or Argentine malbec to gain real traction. Brazil’s sparkling wines, for example, are good, but why is a champagne, prosecco or cava drinker regularly going to opt for Brazilian bubbles?”

Back in Brazil, Ms Mezacasa hopes that British drinkers and those elsewhere will give Brazilian wine a chance.

“When it comes to wine Brazil is still relatively unknown, so our wines seem exotic,” she says. “And that’s what draws people’s attention.”

.o0o.

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Tasting No 246 – October 25, 2022 – Wines from Northern Spain

Tasting No 246 – October 25, 2022 –12:30 pm           Wines from Northern Spain

 

                                                  Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

 

 

Tasting Overview

The purpose of this tasting is to explore wines from four regions in Northern Spain – Getaria in the Basque Country, Ribera Baja in Navarra, Campo de Borja in Aragon, and Toro in Castilla y Leon.

We will have the opportunity to taste and explore one white Txakoli wine and three reds from distinct appellations. 

Tasting: Open

Presenters: Lucia and John Redwood

The wines:

  1. Txomin Etxanix 2021 (Getaria, Basque Country) –Txakoli
  2. Vina Rubican 2021 (Baja Ribera, Navarra) – 100% Tempranillo
  3. Borsao Tres Picos 2019 (Campo de Borja) – 100% Garnacha
  4. Uro Toro 2016 (Toro) –100% Tinto de Toro

  ♣   Notes on the Wines and their production regions by John Redwood     .pdf format

 Menu:

  • Butternut squash soup
  • Arugula salad with Parmesan cheese
  • Veal ravioli with tomato sauce
  • Beef medallion with potatoes and vegetables

 Participants: 

Marcello Averbug; José Brakarz; Jorge Requena; Ruth Connolly; Clara Estrada; Jorge Garcia; Claudia Perazza; John Redwood; Lucía Redwood; Ricardo Santiago; Érico Silva; Cecilio Berndsen; Alfredo Gutierrez; Raimundo Arroio invited by José Brakarz; and two friends invited by Ruth Connoly.

 

Places and DOs

  1. The Basque Country: Getaria

Txakoli de Getaria is a DO wine zone located within the province of Gipukoa of the País Basco, between Bilbao and San Sebastian in the northern coast of Spain. In Getaria, nearly all the land situated between the Garate mountain, and the coast is covered in vineyards, due to the microclimate that this area generates. Getaria’s main sources of income are fishing, tourism, and the viticulture of the Txakolina (in Basque, or Txakoli or Chacolí in Spanish).

Txakoli is a slightly sparking, very dry white wine with high acidity and low alcohol produced in the Spanish Basque Country, and also in Cantabria, and northern Burgos. The most common white variety has a pale green color, but there are also red and rosé varieties. Most txakoli grapes are grown in the Atlantic region of the Basque Country, in areas with high rainfall (between 1000 mm and 1600 mm per year) and average temperatures between 7.5o C and 18.7o C, occasionally suffering from frost.

Txakoli from Getaria was the first variety to receive the DO certification in 1989.  The cultivated area has increased from 60 ha to 177 ha since certification. Annually, some 900,000 liters (240,000 gallons) are produced in this area, mostly on south-east facing slopes to protect the vines from the harsh Atlantic weather. The grapes for this Txakoli are grown according to the trellis system, in which the vines are cultivated at a greater height above the ground with the foliage forming a contiguous canopy to improve the microclimate. The white grape variety used in Txakoli from Getaria is Hondarribi Zuria.

 

  1. Navarra Region

Camped along the northeastern boundary of Rioja, the wine region of Navarra was long been in competition with it (and indeed part of France), until the Bordeaux merchants chose to place their post-phylloxera trade in Rioja. For most of the 20th century, Navarra’s scattered vineyards were dedicated chiefly to Garnacha and the useful rosados, and strong, deep red blends that it produced. Then, came a revolution in the form of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Tempranillo, which overtook Garnacha in the total area.

Yet, curiously, few Navarra wines from these newer varieties have experienced commercial success. It is red blends that make the running, while wines such as Chivite’s Gran Feudo Viñas Viejas Reserva show just how good old-vine Navarra Garnacha can be. The best producers turned to older vineyards planted with Navarra’s traditional varieties – Garnacha and Moscatel de Grano Menudo – to make either single variety examples or to increase the percentage of them in ambitious blends.

In Navarra, there is a world of difference between the hot, dry, flat Ribeira Baja and Ribeira Alta subzones in the south, which lie on the banks of the river Ebro, and the less-planted cooler climate and more varied soils of the north. Ribeira Alta is measurably warmer and more exposed to the influence of the Mediterranean than Ribeira Baja, which is protected by the Sierra del Moncayo to the south. The best Garnacha wines in Ribeira Baja come from Fitero because its poor, Chateauneuf-like soils are open to Mediterranean warmth.

 

  1. Campo de Borja

 Campo de Borja is a Denominación de Origen (DO) wine zone in the Aragon region, northwest of of Zaragoza. It encompasses the Campo de Borja comarca consisting of 16 municipalities. The DO is located in a transition zone between the plains of the river Ebro and the mountains of the Sistema Ibérico. The Moncayo mountain range is the dominant feature that creates a microclimate which gives the wines a special character.

It is assumed that the ancient Romans introduced and developed grape-growing in this region, but the first written reference is a document in the archives of the Cistercian Monastery of Veruela, which refers to donations of vineyards in the year 1203. The Veruela Monastery was very influential in the development of wine production right up to the 19th century and was responsible for the replanting and grafting of the entire area after the Phylloxera plague. The area was finally recognized as a DO in 1980.

The climate is continental, with Atlantic influences during the winter, notably a cold, dry wind from the northwest, while in summer, there is a Mediterranean influence. The temperature varies a great deal, both on a daily and seasonal basis. Annual rainfall is very low, only about 350 mm in the low-lying areas and 450 mm in higher areas. The soils are mainly dark lime-bearing soils, of average rockiness, good drainage, average level of organic matter and rich in nutrients.

Grape growing conditions are affected by altitude: the vineyards are planted on a series of high plateaus at heights ranging between 350 m and 750m above sea level. There are currently about 6,300 ha under vines which produce between 20 and 25 million kg of grapes. The vines are cultivated both as low bushes (en vaso) and also on trellises (en espaldera). The authorized grape red varieties besides Garnacha, are Tempranillo, Mazuela, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah; young reds are made both as 100% Garnacha and also in combination with Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

  1. Toro

 The wine region of Toro is a predominantly red-wine appellation in Castilla y León wine region in north-western Spain. Toro is situated in the province of Zamora, west of the Rueda and Ribera del Duero wine appellations, near the Portuguese border. It is becoming increasingly well known for its powerful, full bodied red wines made from Tinta de Toro. This Spanish grape variety grown in the Toro DO is a strand of Tempranillo that dates back to the Roman times, around the 2nd century B.C. Some of the vines around today are hundreds of years old, having survived the phylloxera plague. Very small amounts of white wine are also made in Toro.

The quality of the wine was recognized by the granting of DO status in 1933, one of the first Spanish regions to achieve it. However, the area has suffered during and after the Spanish Civil War and, consequently, the original DO became obsolete. The modern version of it was created in 1987.

The region lies at the very heart of Castilla y Leon, on the vast, high plateau that separates the Cordillera Cantábrica and mountain ranges of Sistema Central. Altitude is the key to Toro’s wine quality, as so often in Spain, and plays an important role in Toro’s terroir: at 1,970 to 2,460 ft (600-750 m) above sea level, the region’s growers can depend on cool nights to “fix” the color and flavor in the grapes ripened during the torrid summer days on the region’s various red clays and sandy soils. Temperatures range from –11°C to 36°C (12°F to 97°F) and annual rainfall averages just 350mm (14in). The Duero River provides a much-needed source of water, and vineyards stray very little from its path.

To be a Tinta de Toro wine, it must be at least 75% Tinta de Toro, blended with small amounts of Grenache when permitted.

 

The Wines

 

  1. Txomín Etxanix 2021 – Txakoli — Basque Country/Getaria (alcohol: 11%)

The winery: The winery is owned and was founded by the Txeuka family, one of the oldest and most historic families in this region. There is primary source documentation proving that the family has been producing wine near the town of Getaria since 1649, around the time the town was founded.

The Txueka family currently works exclusively with the indigenous varieties of Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza, planted between 1915 and 2000 on pergolas and terraced trellises. The slopes that the vines are planted on are incredibly steep, so where pergolas cannot be used, the family plants on trellis. The winery and vineyards are only located 100m from the Atlantic, so precipitation levels are extremely high. The must is fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeast at very low temperatures to retain a small quantity of dissolved CO2. The resulting wines are beautifully refreshing, high acid white wines that pair flawlessly with seafood.

The wine: according to the winemaker notes, this wine is greenish yellow, bright with fine natural bubble. Citrus and fresh apple aromas, and mineral notes. In the mouth, it is fresh and fruity, with characteristic acidity and light carbon (Wine.com).

Tasting Notes: This wine exhibits bright aromas and flavors of brine, lemon peel, and a hint of chalkiness. 92 points (Wilfred Wong of Wine.com).

Limpid, green-hued straw. Taut and sharply focused on the nose, displaying vibrant citrus zest, quince and floral scents and a chalky mineral overtone. Dry and nervy on the palate, offering juicy lemon, green apple and honeysuckle flavors and a spicy touch of ginger. Displays firm tension and spicy cut on the finish, which hangs on with strong, mineral-driven tenacity. 92 points (Vinous).

 

  1. Viña Rubican 2021, Tempranillo, Navarra (alcohol: 14.2%)

The winery: Bodegas Correllanas has been in operation since 1900.  It is from the small municipality of Corella in the Ribeira Baja in southwest Navarra, bordering on La Rioja to the west and the larger town of Tudela to the east. Due to high demand its initial installation was first expanded in 1920 and in 1980 a project began to rebuild the wine cellar with high technology and the introduction of modern machinery. In 1940, the Viña Rubican label was introduced. In 2015, under new ownership, a new plant was built to treat the grapes better, while maintaining the traditional methods and natural processes for which the winery was famous. Their vineyards include Tempranillo, Garnacha, Sauvignon Blanc, and Petit Grain.  

According to the owners, “their vineyards are present in the best locations in the region and spread around 60 hectares of land” and that “the soil, unique microclimate, and optimum rainfall make the region perfect for the cultivation of vines”. Also, “their best grapes are used to make their famous award-winning red, white, rosé and dessert wines”.

The wine: Viña Rubican, having fresh fruit with ripe tannins, this simple red is made from partially pressed 100% Tempranillo grapes. Aged in American oaks for 3 months, the result is an easy drinking, well-rounded wine with a complex nose, and a soft mouthfeel. A great food wine, it has a “cherry, spice” taste and is “medium-bodied (Total Wine).

 

  1. Borsao Tres Picos 2019 – Granacha, Campo de Borja (alcohol: 15%)

The winery: Bodegas Borsao is situated in Borja in the northwest of the province of Zaragoza, considered to be a subunit with its own characteristics within the Moncayo region in the western part of the province. It has been the origin and engine of the D.O. “Campo de Borja” in Aragón, northeastern Spain, also known as the “Empire of Garnacha”. It is an internationally recognized wine producer and one of the world’s leading Garnacha producers. It has won numerous awards and recognitions.

Bodegas Borsao originated in 1958, when the Borja cooperative was founded with the mission of establishing the benchmark for premium Garnacha wines. It consists of some 350 growers stretching over some 2,260 ha with altitudes ranging from 350-800 m. Harvest is carried out manually in key vineyards and transported in 20-kg cases.

The wine: Borsao Tres Picos is the flagship wine, the first 100% Garnacha produced in Spain, back in 2000. Grapes are handpicked in 300 kg boxes. At the winery, a manual cluster selection is sorted. A cold maceration during 1-2 days in steel tanks with controlled temperatures of 22-30o C. The wine is aged for 5 to 6 months in new bordelaise barrels of French oak. 150,000 bottles produced.

Tasting Notes: Very intense red color with tones of purple. Presents in the nose a great concentration of aromas of ripe red fruit with floral nuances. In the mouth, it is a well-structured rich wine that evokes tastes of blackberry, plum, and tones of leather and vanilla, with a soft and silky tannin.

It pairs well with barbecue, vegetables, beef, and pork; rice and pasta-based dishes. Goes well with cheese and hearty meals, such as Chili, Shepard’s Pie, and Lasagna.

The grapes for this exceptional wine were harvested from old vine Garnacha vineyards that cling to rugged terrain on the slopes of the famous Moncayo mountain. Low Yields of less than two tons per acre produce a rich deeply colored and aromatic wine with concentrated flavors of blackberries, strawberries and nuances of leather, vanilla, and plums (description on the bottle).

This is a rich, flavorful Grenache that won’t break the bank. Big characteristic flavors of raspberry with complex herbal spice blend punctuating the finish.” It is also described as “medium-bodied” but of “intense” style (Total Wine).

 

  1. Uro Toro 2016 – Tinta de Toro (alcohol: 14.5%)

Tinta de Toro wines are full-bodied, mildly acidic, and have an intense ruby color. The wines aroma consists of berries, and the taste resembles dark fruit, black cherry, cassis fruit, smoke, and black pepper. A key tasting characteristic of Tinta de Toro is the powerful tannic flavor that come from the thick dark skins of the grapes. The best Tinta de Toro wines hold a balanced blend of oak, tannins, and fruit flavors. Wines that have extra degrees of oak and tannins can become overbearing and sometimes unappealing.

The winery: At the Hacienda Terra D’ Uro winery, the grapes are only from pre-phylloxera vines, about 140 years of age, which grow on a unique “terroir” situated in the historic Pago “Bardales” at about 750 meters above the sea level. The majority of the work is done manually, like pruning, hoeing around the vines, the treatment with Sulphur or powder of stinting nettle. Only for ploughing mechanical means are applied. For the harvest, small cases of 10 kg are used. Destemming is also done manually, and fermentation takes place in oak barrels. To respect the natural qualities of the wines, no filtration or fining technique is applied. Powerful but velvety. Respecting the ripe fruit with the right touch of wood. The grapes come from their three vineyard fincas destined for their high-quality wines. For the Uro Toro 2016 The grapes come from the pre-phylloxera Finca La Coscojosa vineyard, which is more than 90 years old with the vines planted in bush growing 100% Tinto de Toro grapes.

The wine: The wine is made in the traditional methods, was fermented in 500L oak barrels with manual daily punching down and aged for 20 months in new French oak casks. The best food pairings are robust meals.

The wine is described as “full-bodied, mildly acidic, and has an intense ruby color.” Its aroma consists of berries and the taste resembles dark fruit, black cherry, cassis, smoke, and black pepper. Its “powerful tannic flavor” comes from the dark skin of the grapes. Also described as a “serious, powerful and full-bodied red wine with lots of fruit and a juicy palate that nicely balances the abundant, fine-grained, chalky tannins, it ends very tasty, with a supple, almost salty note.”

Lots of plum, floral, and light vanilla aromas follow through to a full body with round, polished tannins, and excellent intensity. Needs time to come together, but already very enticing (James Suckling-Castilla y Leon, Spain).

Rated 94 points by James Suckling.

 

CV Members Rating

Individual ratings ranged from Mediocre to Exceptional by 16 participants before disclosing their prices. The combined results are as follows:

Best Rated Wine: Uro Toro 2016
Best Buy: Borsao Tres Picos 2019 and Txomin Etxanix 2021.


♣     View a printer friendly Tasting Summary in .pdf format

 

  ♣     Notes on the Wines and their production regions by John Redwood      .pdf format

 

References:

Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson, The World Atlas of Wine, 7th edition, 2013.

Wine.com

Total Wine

Wine searcher

Hacienda Terra D’ Uro

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Tasting #245 September 27, 2022 Ribera del Duero, Spain

Tasting #245 September 27, 2022 Ribera del Duero, Spain

Capri Ristorante, McLean, VA

Tasting Overview

The purpose of this tasting is to explore the wines from the Ribera del Duero Region in Spain. This is one of the best wine regions in Spain and could very well be among the most renowned Dos in the country, but in fact, it is one of the de least known. The Tempranillo wine is the main product.

We will taste one white Albariño and three 100% Tempranillo reds and have the opportunity to compare wines from different wineries.

Type of tasting: Open

Presenter:  Marcello Averbug

The wines:

1. La Caña Albarino Blanco 2021 – 13% alcohol.
2. Condado de Haza Crianza 2019, 100% Tempranillo -14,5% alcohol.
3. Pico Cuadro 2016, 100% Tempranillo – 14,5% alcohol.
4. Malleolus Emilio Moro 2017, 100% Tempranillo – 14,5% alcohol.

The menu:

Squid
Eggplant a la pizzaiola
Minestrone soup
Escalope al Marsala

Participants:

Marcello Averbug, Jose Brakarz, Jorge Claro, Ruth Connolly, Agilson Perazza, Claudia Perazza, Lucía Redwood,  Jairo Sánchez, Ricardo Santiago, Érico Silva

The Ribera del Duero Wine Region

The Duero River Valley houses wine-producing areas such as Ribera del Duero, Toro, and Rueda.

 

The Ribera del Duero is one of the best wine regions in Spain. It would deserve to be among the most recognizable “denominaciones de origen” in the country. Rioja may be the most famous region in Spain, but Ribera del Duero is no slouch.

The region is isolated by the mountains that protect it from any maritime influence. It comprises 2.000 hectares of vinyards in the provinces of Burgos, Segovia, Soria and Valladolid. The local climate is ideal for Tempranillo, known locally as Tinta del Pais, IT which is the most prestigious wine in Ribera del Duero. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are increasingly used in modern red blends.

The popularity of the local wines slipped drastically in the 1970s. Extremely long barrel aging and old winemaking practices made the wines extremely inconsistent. With modern winemaking practices and attention to detail, these wines are now becoming as consistently remarkable as they should be.

In recent decades, the Ribera del Duero has become a magnet for skilled winemakers from around the world. Hot, dry days and cool nights here can produce concentrated and lively red wines. Its 250+ wineries look for their own differentiated wines, expressing all the nuances of the terroir and variety of the Tempranillo grape.

Some facts about Ribera del Duero:

 archaeological presence of wine dating 2500 years ago;
 in 17 th and 18 th centuries, wines from the region were exported;
 99% of wines produced are red wines;
 Ribera del Duero wines are known for being strong, dark-colored wines filled with dark
fruit, tobacco, and vanilla;
 There is not one, but many Templanillo “types” from la Ribera del Duero.

The Wines

1. LA CAÑA Blanco, 2021

La Caña is a white wine that Jorge Ordonez and his winemaking team
craft to demonstrate the potential that Albariño shows as a serious,
high-quality wine. He was the first person to export this variety.
La Caña demonstrates the complexity, intensity, and longevity Albariño can achieve when sourced from old vineyards and using good winemaking practices.

Hand-harvested and stored in small baskets. 25% fermentation by
indigenous yeast in French oak. 75% fermentation in stainless steel
tanks.

Aged 8 months sur lie in the fermentation vessel. 25% in puncheons and demi-muids and 75% in stainless steel, with battonage.

Wine Enthusiast called Rías Baixas Albariños, “some of the world’s most elegant white wines”, and La Caña is one of the region’s prevailing specialists. The Albariño is aged for eight months on the lees (sediment), adding a silky polish. Partly aged in stainless steel and partly in oak, the finished wine boasts a fine balance of depth and fruit purity.

2. MALLEOLUS 2017

Of a deep mature cherry color, this wine, by Emilio Moro, stands out for the intensity and quality of the sensations it offers. From black fruit aromas to strong and mature tannins that fill our mouth.

The 2017 Malleolus is pure Tempranillo from small parcels (in Spanish "majuelo" and in Latin "malleolus") of vines aged between 25 and 75 years. Yields were reduced by 50% in 2017, so it is a very unusual vintage. It matured in French oak barrels for 18 months. 

Very expressive, aromatic, and fresh, without excess ripening and with fruit in the foreground and the oak neatly folded into the fruit. It  is  juicy, medium to full-bodied, perhaps as concentrated as others, but balanced, with fine-grained tannins.  R. Parker, 93 pts

3. CONDADO DE HAZA, 2018

Lots of body, well integrated acidity, well-rounded tannins providing volume and persistence on the palate. The licorice aromas are present on the aftertaste. Ideal for accompanying all kinds of meat.

Clean and brilliant with an attractive black cherry color and purple undertones. Quite intense aromatics revealing ripe red berry and black fruits. A fleshy, silky entry on the palate with perfectly integrated acidity and very pleasant, gentle tannins. The oak is very nicely integrated, expressing notes of toast and vanilla, characteristic of a wine aged in American oak barrels. A medium to long finish.

Great with rice dishes, white and red meats, roast suckling lamb or suckling pig.

4. ORIGINAL – PICO CUADRO 2016

Riper, darker, and more concentrated. It shows more rusticity and black rather than red fruit. It has abundant, fine-grained tannins. Would pair beautifully with cured meats, smoky cheeses, or grilled veggies, such as eggplant. 

Original is a tasty and opulent wine that reveals notes of ripe black fruits, flowers, and sweet balsamic touches that are very well proportioned. The wine has great depth with captivating and generous tannins. Very balanced, it offers a long and delicious finish. This is typically the kind of wine you need to enjoy with a beautiful perfectly grilled prime rib.      Robert Parker 90 pts.

CV Members Rating  – It will be posted after the tasting

View the full evaluation here:


Best Rated Wine:    Malleolus Emilio Moro

Best Buy:    Albariño blanco. 

References: Several sites provided by Google.


ALGUNOS OTROS VINOS MÁS CONOCIDOS DE RIBERA DEL DUERO

8000 MARQUÉS DE BURGOS
Es un vino con el que las archiconocidas Bodegas LAN demuestran que su presencia en Ribera del Duero no es ninguna aventura.

ALEXANDER VS THE HAM FACTORY
Un vino creado para dejarlo envejecer y comprobar cómo mejora en botella en los próximos diez años.  Crianza de año y medio en barrica de roble y al menos seis meses más en botella. Su producción es limitada.

ALTOS DEL ENEBRO
Un clásico ajeno a modas del mercado y muy centrado en la identidad vitivinícola de la  Ribera del Duero. Con mucha dedicación en la selección de la uva, 100% Tinto Fino, de 18 meses en barrica y con edición limitada y numerada.

ANTÍDOTO
10 años cumple ya este vino especialísimo. Un 100% Tinto Fino Soriano, con doce meses de crianza en barrica, apto para todos los días. Proviene de cepas de entre 80 y 100 años, cosechadas a mano y distribuidas en unas 350 pequeñas parcelas de viñedo.

CARDELA CRIANZA
Elegancia y sutileza. Es lo que ofrece Bodegas Bohórquez con este vino a la vez fresco y vivo, bernet- Sauvignon y un 3% de Merlot, pasa su crianza de doce meses en barrica.

CONDADO DE ORIZA GRAN RESERVA
Elaborado con uvas muy selectas, procedentes de viñedos de cuarenta años, el Condado de Oriza Gran Reserva encarna a la perfección la evolución de los Ribera del Duero en las últimas décadas. Sus diez días de fermentación a temperatura controlada logran que la Tempranillo ofrezca todos sus matices. Se perfecciona después con 24 meses de permanencia en barrica de roble francés y americano y otros 36 meses en botella.

GRAN ARZUAGA
Un vino creado a partir de cepas centenarias de Albillo y Tempranillo, combinadas con Cabernet-Sauvignon. Es por tanto un vino de gran madurez y equilibrio, con una elaboración prácticamente artesanal. Su finura la alcanza tras veinte meses de crianza en  barrica.

LA LOBA
Una joya elaborada con Tempranillo de viñedos centenarios. La climatología, a priori adversa para el viñedo, en realidad se configura como un condicionante definitorio de la personalidad de estos vinos.

PEÑAFALCÓN SIGLO XI
Este vino es la variedad Tempranillo elevada a obra de arte. Se caracteriza por una larga maceración antes de fermentar, siempre con el objetivo de que la uva se exprese, muestre todos sus perfiles. Sus crianzas en barrica van desde los 14 hasta los 60 meses.

PORTIA
Portia ofrece una gama de tintos 100% Tempranillo de la Ribera del Duero con diversos niveles de crianza. Van desde el Roble, con cuatro meses en barrica de roble francés, hasta el Prima La Encina, con quince meses. Son vinos muy limpios e intensos en aromas.

VALSOTILLO VS
Este Tempranillo es un reserva de 24 meses, durante los que reposa en barricas de roble americano y francés situadas en una bodega subterránea que data del siglo XVI. Se elabora a partir de viñedos seleccionados con más de 80 años y producciones muy escasas. El mayor patrimonio de la Val Sotillo Bodegas es la galería subterránea de más de 1.200 metros cuadrados, que garantiza una maduración en excelentes condiciones.

 


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Robert Parker’s Tasting in HongKong

Robert Parker’s Tasting in Hong Kong

 

“”91,063 views Oct 24, 2015 PARKER´S TASTING – THE MAGICAL 20 This has been the largest Bordeaux tasting ever organized and by far the best presentation of wines I have attended. Parker clearly demonstrated, in front of 1100 professionals, why he is who he is…the most influential wine critic in history.””

This presentation was suggested by Juan Luis Colaiacovo. Very instructive. Very interesting and entertaining. You may appreciate it more going to the full screen in YouTube. Happy tasting!

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Tasting #244 August 2022 Were You There?

Tasting #244 August 2022 Were You There?

Check this friendly group out. Were you there in the tasting #244? The evaluation of the wines is at the bottom of this post. It also has been included in the post with all information on the wines and their production region as presented by José Brakarz and Ricardo Santiago.

Original MS PowerPoint presentation in .pdf format . Presentation by José Brakarz and Ricardo Santiago.  It may take a few seconds to download.

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Tasting #244 Rioja Wines: Crianza vs. Gran Reserva – August 30, 2022

Tasting #244 Rioja Wines: Crianza vs. Gran Reserva – August 30, 2022

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Original MS PowerPoint presentation in .pdf format . It may take a few seconds to download

 

Objective and Tasting Procedures 

  • Compare different reds from La Rioja with different élevage protocols.
  • Get acquainted with Crianza and Gran Reserva red wines from the DOCa Rioja.
  • Compare the Crianza with the Gran Reserva in Semi-Blind Tasting: the wines are known but not in which glass they are poured.

Tasting Methodology

  • Blind Tasting in random order
  • Participants will rank the wines by order of preference (subjective ranking).
  • Participants will comment on the wines
  • The wines are identified, and prices are disclosed
  • Participants select ‘best value’ wine

  Selection of Wines

  • Two red Crianza and two red Gran Reserve
  • Prices: Crianza: $15/20 and Gran Reserva $35/60
  • Vintages: Crianza: 2016 and 2017 and Gran Reserva: 2011 and 2012
  • Grapes: Gran Reserva: blends Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano and Crianza: 100% Tempranillo and blend Tempranillo and Garnacha.

Presenters

José Brakarz and Ricardo Santiago

Participants

Jose Brakarz, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jorge García, Agilson Perazza, Claudia Perazza, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, German Zincke, Ricardo Santiago, Érico Silva.

Menu:

  1. Cesar Salad
  2. Melanzane a la Parmegiana
  3. Papas a Riojana
  4. Lamb Chops with Rice al Fungi
  5. Deserts: Ice Cream an day cake (to be confirmed)

La Rioja: The Region and the Wine History

 

  • Phoenicians sailed up the Ebro River (11th century BCE) and introduced winemaking.
  • The Romans took over the region (2nd century BCE) and planted vineyards and produced wine for local consumption.
  • Moors incorporated La Rioja into the Muslin territory of Al Andalus (winemaking was tolerated).
  • 13TH century: wine brought to Bilbao and Santander to be exported

MIDDLE AGES TO 18TH CENTURY

  • Middle Ages: expansion of viticulture and viniculture (Monks)
  • 1560: Local authorities created safeguards to protect the quality and reputation of Rioja wines
  • 1787: Real Sociedad Económica de Cosecheros de Rioja (monitoring and regulation of vine cultivation, wine production and exportation).

19th Century

  • Many people in La Rioja took exile in Bordeaux during the three Carlist Wars (1883-1876).
  • Marqués de Murrieta and Marques de Riscal: shock of quality.
  • 1850/1860: devastation of vineyards in Galicia (powdery mildew) and France (philloxera).
  • Railway system constructed: allowed for quick shipment of wine.
  • French winemakers made their way to Rioja.
  • 1899: phylloxera arrived, but remedy was known (swift recovery).

20th Century

  • 1925: Officially recognized as a Designation of Origin
  • 1926: establishment of the Consejo Regulador
  • 1932: Spain’s Wine Statute officially created the Spanish Denominatio of Origin (DO)
  • 1991: Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa)

Location and Climate

North-central Spain 

Sits at the western end of the Ebro River Valley

Climate: Predominantly Continental with hot, dry summers and ample sun. Autumns are generally mild. Winters are cold and frost is common in spring. 

Wine producing zones have unique mesoclimates based on their individual proximity to the mountains, the Ebro River, or the northern coast.

DOCa RIOJA (Denominación de Origen Calificada) PRODUCTION AREAS

DOCa Rioja does not occupy the entire autonomous community of La Rioja nor is confined within it. It includes:

  • Álava province of Pais Vasco (20% of the vineyard area)
  • La Rioja (69%)
  • Navarra (11%)

DOCa Rioja 3 zones:

  • Rioja Alavesa (21% total vineyard area)
  • Rioja Alta (42%)
  • Rioja Oriental (37%)

 RED GRAPE VARIETIES CULTIVATED IN LA RIOJA[1]

  • Tempranillo: produces wine moderate in alcohol, moderate to low in acidity, with significant tannins and not particularly fruit forward (72% of the total area under vine in DOCa Rioja).
  • Most planted grape in Spain in 2021 and third variety for red wines in the world.
  • It is not a ‘global’ variety: 88% of world production is in Spain.
  • Recent success in Spain: 19TH century and expansion in the 1980s with the DOs.
  • Short cycle: buds later/early ripening.
  • Very yield-sensitive vine (loses phenolic concentration) and very site specific for great wines
  • Typically powerful, concentrated, full-bodied, tannic wines irrespective of oak-aging, which is common.
  • Sometimes slightly low acidity. Not particularly fruit-forward.
  • It is one of the varieties more difficult to identify tasting blindly: Tempranillo has aromas of cherry like Merlot, of red berries of Pinot Noir and species of Syrah – it does not have an aromatic profile unique and distinctive.
  • Most of the best wines are marked by aging in oak barrels: vanilla, spices, roasted coffee-bean, and leather.
  • With aging: complexes aromas, silk texture, and distinctive character is revealed

 

[1] More information on Tempranillo grape and wines can be seen on recent tastings: Tasting #239 March 29, 2022, Wines from Castilla y Leon: Ribera del Duero vs Toro and Tasting #242 June 28, 2022, Spanish Tempranillo Wines

  • Garnacha Tinta: adds red fruit and alcohol to the blend.
  • Mazuelo (Cariñena) and Graciano: add color, tannin, acidity, and spicy notes.
  • Maturana Tinta

DOCa Rioja Aging Requirements for Red Wines 

  • Genérico (Joven or Cosecha): No minimum aging requirement.
  • Crianza: 2 years before release (Minimum 1 year in barrel).
  • Reserva: 3 years before release (Minimum 1 year in barrel and 6 months in bottle).
  • Gran Reserva: 5 years before release ( Minimum 2 years in barrel and 2 years in bottle).

    Crianza

  • Easy drinking style, tend to emphasize fresh fruit above all else and spend less time in oak barrels and bottle than Gran Reserva.
  • Aromas of strawberries, cherries with varying degrees of toasty, vanilla flavors and aromas from the oak depending on producer and the type of oak. Typically fruity, clean and super quaffable.
  • Rioja`s everyday wine. As an aperitif on its own, but great with spicy food, whole roasted fish and lasagna. Great with aged sheep`s milk cheeses like Manchego.

Gran Reserva

  • Made only in the best years. Many bodegas choose to age them much longer than required. Wines of superlative elegance and finesse, ready to drink upon release or cellar.
  • A complex blend of subtle spice and soft fruit: blackberries, dried cherries, and cinnamon overlain with very developed tertiary flavors: cigar box, leather, wet earth, mushrooms, truffles, and faded flowers.
  • A special occasion wine. Excellent with fall and winter stews, sautéed mushrooms, duck confit, and chestnut soup. This is wine to linger over and return to over the course of a meal, offering the patient drinker something different with each visit to the glass.


The Wines

 

1.    Marques de la Concordia, Crianza, 2016

The Winery:

  • The name Marques de la Concordia is a tribute to Don José Abascal (1743 -1821), appointed Marquis of the Spanish Concord of Peru, in 1812, by King Ferdinand VII. He was the Vice-king (Virrey) of Peru between 1812-1861
  • Producing wine since 1870, their grapes come from the oldest (1929) and highest quality vineyards in Rioja Alta, with their wines aged in French oak. 
  • Rioja Alta extends through the territories between Haro and Logroño, south of the river, Ebro. It is a humid and mountainous zone due to its higher elevation above sea level, with a totally Atlantic climate. Most of its soils are of alluvial earth, and limestone-clay-ferrous. 
  • This altitude slows down the maturity of the grape, a grape that has more acidity, more freshness, less alcoholic strength, and a low average color intensity. 

The Wine: MARQUES DE LA CONCORDIA, VINA ALARDE, CRIANZA, 2016

  • Composition: 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha
  • Vintage in La Rioja 2016: “Very Good”
  • The grapes arrive to the winery at the optimum point of ripeness. After a careful selection, the obtained must is fermented at temperature below 28 °C.
  • Once the fermentation is complete, the wine is transferred to American oak barrels where it is aged for a minimum of 18 months.

Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Ruby red, clean and bright color.
  • On the nose: Ripe red fruits with coconut and vanilla aromas. On the palate: Well balanced and structured with oak nuances. Long and persistent.

Food Match and Temperature

    • Ideal companion white and red meats, sausages, eggs and cured cheeses.
    • Serving temperature: 16 °C

 

 

2.     SIERRA CANTABRIA, CRIANZA, 2017

The Winery:

BODEGAS SIERRA CANTABRIA

  • Winery located in San Vicente de la Sonsierra between the foothills of the Sierra Cantabria mountain range and the Ebro River
  • The Sierra protects the estate from the cold north winds.
  • Fundada en 1870, ha sido de la misma familia a lo largo de 5 generaciones.
  • Tienen las bodegas: Sierra Cantabria, Viñedos Sierra Cantabria, Señorío de San Vicente y Viñedos de Páganos, todos en Rioja

The Wine

SIERRA CANTABRIA, CRIANZA, 2017

  • Variety: 100% Tempranillo
  • Vintage 2017 in La Rioja: “Very Good”
  • Vineyard: San Vicente de la Sonsierra – Organic
  • Ageing: 14 months in French and American barrels.
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • Tasting Notes: Intense Cherry. Fine toasted notes (cocoa and coffee) and ripe fruit expression. Strong at palate, smoky with well balanced toasty notes of oak and fruit

 

3.   MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES, GRAN RESERVA, 2012

The Winery

BODEGAS MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES

  • Founded in 1970 in Cenicero, La Rioja Alta by Enrique Forner.
  • Enrique was exiled in France due to the Civil war. He had a wine business in the Rhone and Loire valleys. In 1963 he bought two chateaux in Bordeaux. After returning from exile, he founded the Marqués de Cáceres. The winery today is managed by his daughter Cristina Forner.
  • Marqués de Cáceres has also a winery in Rueda.
  • Vineyards located in Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, particularly in the town of Cenicero.
  • Many vines are over thirty years old, and the vineyards are monitored and supervised by the winery technical teams.

 

The Wine:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES, GRAN RESERVA, 2012

  • Variety: Tempranillo (85%), Garnacha Tinta (8%), and Graciano (7%)
  • Vintage 2012 in La Rioja: “Very Good”
  • Special selection of old vines of Tempranillo from Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, aged between 65 and 85 years old. Very low yields of between 3,000 and 4,500 kg/ha. Garnacha from vineyards in Rioja Alta and Graciano is mostly harvested in Elciego.
  • Harvest: 100% manual
  • Fermentation: Stainless Steel
  • Malolatic Fermentation: new French oak barrels
  • Aging: 24 to 26 months in new French oak barrels and second wine barrels.
  • Aging in bottle: 4 years minimum before release
  • Alcohol: 14.5%

 

4.  LA RIOJA ALTA, GRAN RESERVA 904, 2011

The Winery

 

LA RIOJA ALTA Group

 

  • Founded in 1890 in Haro`s Station District (Bairro de la Estacion).
  • The La Rioja Alta group has other 3 wineries: Torre de Ona (Rioja Alavesa), Lagar D Cervera (Rias Baixa), and Aster (Ribera del Duero).
  • The Group has 660 ha. of estate-owned vineyards.
  • Production of grapes under 5,000 kilos per hectare.
  • Produce own barrels with wood imported from the US (in Haro).
  • Only winery in the world with two of its wines listed in the Decanter Wines of the Year list (2021).

The Wine:

LA RIOJA ALTA, GRAN RESERVA 904, 2011

 

  • Variety: Tempranillo (89%) and Graciano (11%)
  • Vintage 2011 in La Rioja: ‘Excellent’
  • Blended from different plots of Tempranillo from vines over 60 years old and from one vineyard for Graciano
  • Fermentation: Stainless Steel
  • Natural Malolactic Fermentation: 75 days
  • Aging: 33 months in four-and-a-half-year-old American oak barrels
  • Final blend bottled in November 2016
  • Alcohol content: 14.5%

Club del Vino Participants Wines Evaluation:

References:

 

.o0o.

Laughing moment

 

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Tasting #243 July 26 2022 Spanish Mediterranean between Barcelona and Alicante

Tasting #243 July 26 2022, 12:30 pm – Spanish Mediterranean between Barcelona and Alicante

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Please send your reservations to M. Claudia or Clara Estrada

Tasting Overview

The objective of this tasting is to explore and compare lesser-known wines produced on the Mediterranean Coast of Spain, with grapes such as Monastrell (Mourvedre) grown in the Alicante and Valencia regions, and a white wine made with local native grapes (Callet and Premsal) from the Island of Mallorca.

Type of Tasting: Blind

Presenters: Jorge Claro and Cristian Santelices

The wines: 

  • Quibia 2020, Ànima Negra
  • La Peña de España Tinto 2018, Bodegas El Angosto
  • Tarima Hill Old Vines 2017, Bodegas Volver
  • El Sequé Alicante Tinto 2019, Bodegas y Viñedos Artadi de Laguardia

Menu: 

  1. Seared scallops salad
  2. Gazpacho soup
  3. Breaded eggplants
  4. Lamb and potatoes
  5. Dessert

Participants: 

J. Brakarz, J. Claro; R. Connolly; M. Fryer; A. & C. Perazza; J. & L. Redwood; J. Requena; J. Sanchez; C. Santelices; R. Santiago, G. Smart; and G. Zincke.

 

Wines from Mediterranean Spain

Spain is a country with more than 500,000 square kilometers (some 20% bigger than the State of California). The country enjoys a fascinating and diverse landscape including the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, dry plateaus, and the Pyrenees mountains. All Spain’s 17 administrative regions produce wine, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

The Valencia Region

One of the regions in the Mediterranean coast is the Comunidad Valenciana, or simply Valencia. Located a few hours south of Barcelona, Valencia is responsible for 5% of Spain’s enological output and is the fourth most widely planted of the country’s 17 autonomous regions.

The Valencia Region is sometimes referred to as the Levant, meaning the “getting up place,” as it stands at the eastern edge of the Iberian Peninsula, where the sun rises first. However, the Mediterranean Sea is a primary influence on the region. The Mediterranean Spain’s enchanting Valencian Community region has long been known for its beaches, seafood, and oranges. Nevertheless, its unique wines haven’t always won the easy notoriety of regions like Rioja or Priorat—but once and for all, moving past its former reputation as a producer of bulk wines, it’s fast becoming a region to watch, for its spicy, uniquely Spanish reds.

Valencia is a complex Comunidad autónoma to summarize, because it is topographically and geologically diverse, and cultivates several varieties, creating various subregions. Climatically, the area is rather hot with low rainfall. However, the heat weather is mitigated by regular sea breezes along the coast and higher elevations in the west. Though the entire region is classified as Mediterranean in climate, the western reaches of the Comunidad skew continental, with less humidity and broader diurnal swings. The soils are generally characterized by varying sand, limestone, and clay combinations.

Valencia’s boundaries encompass three distinct Denominations of Origen (DO): Alicante, Utiel-Requena, and Valencia, with Alicante the furthest south and Utiel-Requena the most inland.

Alicante

Alicante is a port city in southeastern Costa Blanca and a municipality in the Valencian Community. Alicante is historically a land of vineyards and wines with traces of the Phoenicians and Romans since at least 1,100 BC when Phoenicians established themselves in the area of Cadiz. Also, it is the most historically celebrated of Valencia’s Dos, due to the ancient fame of its Fondillón. In addition, the dessert wine Fondillón, based on Monastrell (Mourvèdre), has been exported for centuries and is enjoying its renaissance.

Along the eastern coast of Alicante, one can find La Marina, a subzone known for its perfumed, sweet white wines made from Moscatel de Alejandría; other white grape varieties include Merseguera and Malvasía. The drier, more extreme climate to the west is home to Monastrell, which accounts for 75% of total DO vineyard plantings. Other major red grape varieties include Garnacha Tintorera and Bobal, a thick-skinned black variety native to the Levante (the eastern edge of the Iberian Peninsula).

Alicante has the fewest vines in the ground, but that wasn’t always the case. In 1877, after phylloxera tore through France, a preferential trade arrangement with Spain was signed that ushered in an era of rapid growth for the Spanish wine industry. This was effectively canceled in 1892 when Alicante had 93,000 hectares of vines in the ground. Taking this deal off the table decimated the area viticulturally and financially, and the region retreated to its Fondillón and bulk wine. The first signs of rebirth wouldn’t be seen until 100 years later, in the 1990s, triggered by the rise of the boutique winery model and the sudden popularity of rich, dry Monastrell from the neighboring regions of Yecla and Jumilla. As a result, Alicante DO has gained popularity and respect for its new light, fresh wines, and interesting varietal reds produced by pioneering bodegas.

The Monastrell grape

Monastrell or Murviedro, known in France and the United States as Mourvèdre—and in Australia as Mataró—this full-bodied, spicy, tannic grape shows intense black and red fruit supported by secondary earthy flavors of dried herbs and meat. A popular blending partner of Grenache and Syrah in France’s Rhône valley, Mourvèdre/Monastrell sees one of its most sui generis varietal expressions in Alicante’s Mediterranean terroir, where hot days allow for optimal ripening, dry conditions challenge the vines and concentrate the fruit, and limestone-dominant soils ensure acid structure and ageability, which also balance the grape’s tendency towards muscle and high alcohol.

Mourvedre is a meaty and full-bodied red wine. Mourvedre’s smell is an explosion of dark fruit, flowers like violet, and an herbaceous aroma of black pepper, thyme, and red meat. Mourvedre wine can have a gamey taste in regions such as Bandol, France, and Jumilla, Spain. Some believe the unctuous aroma in many Mourvedre wines is partially due to a wine fault called reduction. Because of this, Mourvedre benefits from decanting and is best enjoyed at around 67-71 °F.

Thought to have been brought to Spain in Ancient times by the seafaring Phoenicians, Monastrell remains one of the country’s most planted grapes, claiming 150,000 of the world’s 190,000 acres of the grape. In Alicante, it can be found in two subregions: La Marina in the north, where the cooling influence of the sea tempers the area’s intense heat, and in Clásico, inland to the southwest, which includes the region’s namesake city. Further away from the Mediterranean, this latter sub-region is marked by minimal rainfall and borderline-arid summers—a situation where Monastrell thrives, especially in its bush vine incarnation.

The name Monastrell suggests that monks may have cultivated and spread the variety. Archaeological evidence put a semi-cultivated vine in Murcia some 5,000 years ago, actual cultivation in the Iberian period (5th-6th centuries BC), and larger-scale development by the Romans. Thankfully it has survived over time and today has been restored, as we will see, to its full splendor.

In general, the Monastrell producing vineyards are not watered, and vines are grown in the traditional vase shape, except for a few areas (at lower altitudes in Yecla and Bullas) with espaliered, irrigated vines. The well-aired stocks are fairly disease-resistant, and their late budding shoots prevent spring frost damage. The medium-size, compact bunches bear small berries, which ripen late and at harvest show a high sugar content, allowing for a volume of 13 to 14.5º. The vines have also adapted very well to different yet consistently poor soils. The sandy soils of Jumilla kept the ubiquitous phylloxera from spreading widely, and as a result, some ungrafted Monastrell vines have survived. However, to carry the specific DO Monastrell label, wines must contain 85% of this variety.

Mallorca Island and its Native Wine Grapes

Mallorca immediately evokes the blue waters and white sands that frame Spain’s largest Balearic Island. Located just 170 km off the eastern Spanish coast, Mallorca is home to roughly 900,000 residents. This number swells each summer when over 10 million vacationers descend on the island.

With such a large market to satisfy and fewer than 2,000 hectares of vineyards, it’s no wonder that little wine leaves the island, and over 80% is consumed locally. This partly explains why you may have never heard of Manto Negro, Callet, or Prensal Blanc (aka Moll).

Mallorca’s wine was once significant. As phylloxera ravaged France in the 1870s, the Mediterranean Sea kept the island’s vines safe for about 20 years. Mallorca had 75,000 acres of vines in 1891 – nearly 2/3 more than Napa County has today. Mallorca’s wine was shipped to France and relabeled as French. Mallorca’s vineyard area today pales in comparison to its past. Devastated vineyards were often replaced with crops such as almonds or apricots, while the rise of tourism in the 1960s delivered another blow to wine production. A new generation was incentivized to turn their back on grape growing and invest in construction or the hotel trade.

Mallorca wines hit all the enophile’s sweet spots. You’ve never heard of Indigenous grapes that aren’t grown anywhere else (Mallorca is like the Galápagos of grapes.) Minerality from the salty air. White wines are made from red grapes. Moderate alcohol. Cooler climate than you realize. In short, good Mallorca wines are delicious and guaranteed to stump your sommelier friends.

Callet grape

This red grape variety comes from the island of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain); according to a dialect, the name means “black.” Callet clusters are large and relatively compact. The grapes are of a medium/large size, globe shape, bluish-black outer color and inside, with a very weak pigmentation, virtually non-existent. The color is not dark but shooting bright ruby, clean, medium layer. On tasting it, it will look medium-bodied, refined, and elegant.

The late-ripening vine is generally resistant to drought and diseases but susceptible to sour rot. It produces light red, rustic red wines with moderate acidity and alcohol content and an earthy aroma. On the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, the variety is often grown in mixed sets with the Fogoneu variety and blended with the latter and Manto Negro.

DNA analyses carried out in 2011 resulted from a probable natural cross between the Callet Cas Concos x Fogoneu varieties, which also come from Mallorca. Curiously, the Fogoneu, was the most planted grape on the island in the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century. It was when vineyards in France were attacked by phylloxera, and Mallorca benefited from it, as it produced and exported a lot of wine to the neighboring country. Much of this wine came from the Felanitx area and was shipped from its port, Porto Colom. The name of Porto Colom comes from the Latin Portu Columbi (“dove harbor”), a name the Romans gave for the great abundance of these birds that were raised there.

The ideal is to plant Callet in poor soils of negligible thickness and stony. However, if the soil is very fertile, a lot of vegetative growth will be generated, and the grape’s ripening will be complicated. On average, this variety is more productive in kilograms than the other autochthonous grape. The aromatic potential and color intensity are medium, and the wines obtained will also have a medium layer. On the other hand, although Mallorca is a warm area, the alcohol content is relatively low, around 11.5 / 12 % of alcohol.

In the case of elaboration based on old Callet vines, the wines will be very aromatic and expressive. The predominant aromas will be red fruits, raspberries, cherries, and blackberries, sometimes with floral or anise touches. As we have already mentioned, they do not develop a high degree of alcohol, which is one of the characteristics that does not make this variety very easy to work with. Some compare it to Pinot Noir.

Prensal grape

This white grape variety originates in Spain. Synonyms are Moll, Moll Binisalem, Moll Encin, Pansal Blanco, Pensal, Pensal Blanco, Penzal Blanco, Premsal (second main name), Premsal Blanco, Premsal Blanca, Prensal, Prensal Blanc and Prensal Blanco. The medium-maturing, the high-yielding vine is susceptible to powdery mildew. As a result, it produces fine-acidic, fruity white wines mainly used as blends. The variety is registered on the Balearic Islands in the DO Binissalem (Mallorca).

As the workhorse white grape of the Mallorca Island, the productive Prensal Blanc (aka Moll) dominates the wines from DO Binissalem, making up at least 50% of the blend. It’s also the second most planted grape and is often used to produce easy-drinking wines with lower acidity levels for early consumption. The grape ripens quite early and quickly drops its acidity if harvested too late.

 

The Wines’ Technical Sheets

 

Quíbia 2020

Wine Name Quíbia 2020
Varietal Other White Blends
Winery Ànima Negra
Grapes 60% Callet, 30% Premsal, 10% other local grapes
Origin Mallorca, Spain
Aging 4 months in Stainless steel tanks
Year harvest 2020
Alcohol % 11.5 %
Color Lemon with greenish highlights
Soil type Limestone
Altitude 100 m
Climate Mediterranean
Harvest time September-October
Awards 89 pts., Wilfred Wong

 

Vineyard Notes

Ànima Negra was founded in 1994 when two self-taught friends — Pere Ignasi Obrador and Miquelàngel Cerdà — decided that the wines of their native Mallorca weren’t reaching full potential. Taking advantage of some unused milk tanks at the dairy farm owned by Pere’s family, they made two barrels of wine from Callet grapes (a native Mallorcan varietal) they’d purchased from local farmers. The initial results were so encouraging that the friends decided to form a partnership and continue pursuing their newfound passion for wine. Situated in the southeast of Mallorca, Ànima Negra winery produces its wines on the old country estate of Son Burguera, close to the town of Felanitx. Ànima Negra sources its grapes from more than 135 carefully selected parcels of land that the partners own or control. Virtually all these parcels are within a six-mile radius of the winery, and most of the vines are 50 to 85 years old. Natural farming is prioritized at Ànima Negra. The vines are dry-farmed and are not fertilized, helping to ensure they produce small, concentrated fruit. Chemical insecticides and herbicides are avoided in favor of biodynamic practices, and indigenous yeasts are used for almost all fermentation. The resulting unique, elegant wines have garnered worldwide praise and earned a loyal following among fine wine enthusiasts worldwide. In 2010, the Slow Food Movement honored Ànima Negra with induction into the Ark of Taste.

Winemaker Notes

Quibia gets its name from an aspirational worry-free state of mind. The wine is the brainchild of Miquelangel Cerda and his partner, Pere Obrador, celebrating the versatility of the indigenous red grape, Callet, the common thread of all their wines. The Callet lends texture and tartness. The Premsal adds roundness while Giro Ros gives the backbone of acidity.

The color is an enticing straw lemon with greenish highlights. Quíbia has white peach, pear, sea brine, and jasmine aromas. The wine is weighty with a silky olive oil texture and concentrated flavors of ripe peach, Anjou pear, and capers on the palate. Crisp, lively, and well-balanced. This wine pairs beautifully with bay scallops, langoustines, mussels in a butter broth, and seafood paella.

References

https://www.winebow.com/our-brands/anima-negra/anima-negra-quibia/2020

https://www.annegra.com/

 

La Peña de España Tinto 2018

Wine Name La Peña de España Tinto 2018
Varietal Rhone Red Blends
Winery Bodegas El Angosto
Grapes 33% Grenache 33% Syrah,  33% Monastrell
Origin Valencia, Spain
Year harvest 2018
Alcohol % 13.5 %
Color Deep ruby color
Soil type Limestone
Altitude 700-1090 m
Awards 93 pts. James Suckling

 

Bodegas El Angosto is owned by the Cambra family, located in Santa Rosa. The vineyard is worked in a reasoned way (by limiting any use of chemicals) and harvested by hand. The estate’s vines are spread over two separate properties: Santa Rosa and El Angosto. These are sloping terroirs with sandy soils, poor organic matter, and many limestones. This environment is ideal for developing the vine in depth from the root. As a result, the wines produced are of rare elegance and concentration for such prices. The press around the world embraces the great value of these superb wines. Angosto Cellar is the story of the Cambra family, and now it is the 4th generation, well known for their effort, perseverance, and know-how. Since 1905 Viveros Cambra has been the leading supplier of grafted grapevines for the region of Valencia in southwest Spain. Their practices of carefully selecting bud wood and rootstock material available and clonal selection, without forgetting the native varieties, closing the cycle of cultivation of the vine. Rhone Blends with bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise often come into play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance in California.

Winemaker Notes:

Deep ruby color with violet reflections. The aromas of fresh red fruit, blue flowers, and spices stand out on the nose. In the mouth, it’s vast, round, and tasty. Hyacinth, violets, and lavender are among the many floral notes of this redolent wine. The palate has a sense of purity, with the tangy acidity highlighting the bright, dark-fruit tones. Medium-long on the finish. This delicious and food-friendly red wine offers versatility while over-delivering on the price. Pair this with sausage on the grill, stewed red meats, and roasted vegetables.

References:

https://www.bodegaelangosto.com/

 

Tarima Hill Old Vines 2017

Wine Name Tarima Hill Old Vines 2017
Varietal Monstrell (Mourvedre)
Winery Bodegas Volver

 

Grapes 100% Monstrell
Origin Alicante, Spain
Aging 14 months in French barrels
Year harvest 2019
Alcohol % 15 %
Color Red cherry
Soil type Limestone
Altitude 650 -750 m
Climate Continental – Mediterranean
Harvest time October
Awards 93 pts. Jeb Dunnuck

Vineyard Notes:

The project of Bodegas Volver was founded in 2004, by Rafael Cañizares, an enologist by training and viticulturist through his family tradition of four generations bound to the vine and wine. The pillars of the bodega are based on the repositioning of quality Spanish wines and recovering old indigenous vineyards, which had been lost, either through low production or lack of generational succession. The vineyards were created using grapes from multiple vineyards in towns throughout the Vinalopo region: Pinoso, Salinas, El Maña, and Monover. Planted between 1935 and 1970 when traditional unirrigated viticulture produced 1.5 kg per plant.

Winemaker Notes:

Cherry color with a hint of intense ruby. The mature nose fruit contains raspberries, blueberries, spices, balsamic hints, and flowers’ notes. Tasty in the mouth, balanced and full-bodied. Long finish. Vintage:  Characterized by extreme drought, with an average rainfall of fewer than 153.6 liters per meter squared and the region’s microclimate with an altitude of 650 to 750 meters and shallow dry soil which is poor in organic material and full of limestone rocks. Humidity from the Mediterranean breezes. Pairing: Recommended with red meat, game, roast meat, rice, cured cheeses, blue cheeses

References:

https://bodegasvolver.com/nuestros-vinos/tarima-hill/?lang=en

https://bodegasvolver.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/TARIMA-HILL-FT-EN.pdf

 

El Sequé Alicante Tinto 2019

Wine Name El Sequé Alicante Tinto 2019
Varietal Monstrell (Mourvedre)
Winery Bodegas y Viñedos Artadi de Laguardia

 

Grapes 100% Monstrell
Origin Alicante, Spain
Aging 12 months in French barrels
Year harvest 2019
Alcohol % 14.5 %
Color Red cherry
Soil type Sandy quaternary soils
Altitude 600 m
Climate Mediterranean
Harvest time October
Awards 94 pts Peñin – 93pts Parker

 

Vineyard Notes:

Committed to the quest of producing unique wines with identity, winemaker and owner Juan Carlos López de la Calle believes old vines are the key to accomplishing this difficult pursuit. After achieving success in Rioja and Navarra, Juan Carlos went to Alicante for the extreme climatic conditions, disparate soil types, and the old-vine Monastrell indigenous to the region.

El Sequé has been part of the Artadi Group since 1999, when the Mediterranean and, above all, the undergrowth of the area, with poor land and abundant hours of sunshine, seemed to invite them to create great moments with the Monastrell.

Winemaker Notes:

Powerful balsamic notes, mature fruit, unctuous: a fleshy wine that satisfies the identity of the Monastrell variety from the old vineyards of El Sequé. Fresh and forceful wine from Alicante, typical of the Mediterranean style, results from experienced Rioja winemakers with a great spirit of creating new wines, as awarded as those of the parent company. The fruity sweetness of this Sequé and the balsamic nuances show the best properties of a Monastrell, giving it power and warmth. Tasty, robust, meaty, ripe tannins.

Produced from 100 % estate-grown fruit, this wine has an evident Mediterranean influence, with warm and calm nuances of black fruit, soft aromas, and tastes of balsamic and aromatic plants. This is a wine with an authentic Mediterranean character.

Fresh and forceful wine from Alicante, typical of the Mediterranean style, results from experienced Rioja winemakers with a great spirit of creating new wines, as awarded as those of the parent company. The fruity sweetness of this Sequé and the balsamic nuances show the best properties of a Monastrell, giving it power and warmth.

 

Club del Vino Members’ Ratings

 

 The wines evaluations will be published after the meeting
Best Rated Wine  & Best Buy

References

  1. https://winefolly.com/wine-regions/spain/
  2. https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/mourvedre-wine/
  3. https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/map-of-spain-wine-regions/
  4. https://www.foodswinesfromspain.com/spanishfoodwine/global/whats-new/features/feature-detail/mallorca-native-wine-grapes.html
  5. https://www.foodswinesfromspain.com/spanishfoodwine/global/wine/features/feature-detail/alicante-wines-monastrell.html
  6. https://www.foodswinesfromspain.com/spanishfoodwine/global/wine/features/feature-detail/monastrell-grape-spain.html
  7. https://www.foodswinesfromspain.com/spanishfoodwine/global/whats-new/features/feature-detail/mallorca-native-wine-grapes.html
  8. https://winetourismspain.com/wine-regions/
  9. https://daily.sevenfifty.com/an-in-depth-guide-to-the-wines-of-valencia/
  10. https://www.palatepress.com/2015/06/mallorca-the-galapagos-of-grapes/
  11. https://glossary.wein.plus/prensal
  12. https://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-spain

.o0o.

Juan Luis Colaiacovo enviou-me este curtissimo video. Acho que vale a pena ver. O que você acha? É uma pena que não saibamos quem é o autor.

.o0o

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Tasting #242 June 28, 2022 Spanish Tempranillo

Degustation #242  June 28, 2022, 12:30pm    Spanish Tempranillo Wines

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA.

Objective:

To learn about the Tempranillo grape variety grown in Spain and to taste four (4) Tempranillo wines produced with different maturation methods: Joven, Crianza, Reserva and Grand Reserva.

Presenter:
Jaime Estupinan

Menu

– Plate of salad, Serrano ham and salami.
–  Ravioli in tomato sauce.
–  Broiled stake and broiled vegetables.
–  Plate of cheeses.

Wines

1.   Vecordia Ribera Del Duero Roble, 2020 Joven, (Vecordia).

2.   Asua Rioja, 2016, Crianza, (Asua).

 3.  Marques De Cáceres,  2016, Rioja, Reserva, (Marqués de Cáceres).

4.   Latitud 42,  2010, Rioja Gran Reserva (Latitude 42).

 Participants

Tarcello Averbug; Jorge Claro; Ruth Connolly; Clara Estrada; Jaime Estupiñán; Michelle Fryer; Agilson Perazza; Claudia Perazza; John Redwood; Lucía Redwood; Jorge Requena; Jairo Sánchez; and German Zincke.

 About Tempranillo: Grapes, Wine, Region, and Pairings

Learn about Tempranillo: Grapes, Wine, Region, and Pairings, written by the Master Class staff.
Last updated: Aug 4, 2021. By James Suckling:

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/learn-about-tempranillo-grapes-wine-region-and-pairings#where-is-tempranillo-grown

 

What Is Tempranillo?

Tempranillo is a red grape variety that is the third most-planted wine grape in the world. It is especially popular in Spain, where it is the primary grape of the red wines of Rioja. Because it is often blended with other grapes, tempranillo does not have the name recognition of other famous red grapes like merlot or pinot noir, but it has a long history in Spain of making complex, long-lived wines.

Tempranillo is the main grape of the famous, lush, American-oak aged reds of Rioja, Spain. Spanish wines have long been among the best values in the world, and tempranillo-based wines, with years of age, can be found for a fraction of the price of similarly pedigreed wines from Bordeaux or Napa.

 

What Is the History of the Tempranillo Grape?

Tempranillo is an old grape, dating back to at least the ninth century. Tempranillo originated in the Iberian Peninsula and the vast majority of plantings are still in Spain, although it is also an essential component of the Port wines of Portugal. Tempranillo has spread to Spanish-influenced new world wine regions like Mexico and California. Tempranillo’s name likely comes from the Spanish temprano, meaning “early,” as the grape ripens a few weeks before other grapes in Spain.

 

 

 

What Are the Characteristics of Tempranillo?

Tempranillo grapes have moderately thin skins which result in a ruby-colored wine. Tempranillo is medium-bodied on its own as a single varietal, but it is often blended with garnacha, mazuelo, and graciano grapes to make a more full-bodied wine. Tempranillo has low-to-medium acidity and smooth tannins. Tempranillo wines are usually moderate in alcohol. The best examples of tempranillo can age for decades.

Where Is Tempranillo Grown?

Tempranillo is a hardy, productive, and adaptable vine that likes sandy, chalky, clay or limestone soils. Although it does well in hot weather, tempranillo can also withstand climates cooler than many other Spanish red grapes.

  • Northern Spain. Tempranillo is well-suited to the slightly cooler, high altitude areas of La Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa in central northern Spain. Northern Spain is also home to warmer areas that have a large diurnal temperature difference (difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures), which allows tempranillo grapes to ripen while hanging on to their acidity, which is naturally on the low side. Northern regions where Tempranillo thrives include Navarra (adjacent to Rioja); Toro, where it is called tinta de toro; and Ribera del Duero, where it is called tinto fino. Tempranillo is also found in Catalonia on Spain’s border with France, where it is called ull de llebre.
  • Central Spain. South of Rioja, in the central Spanish wine regions near Madrid, tempranillo is called cencibel. Unlike many Spanish red grapes, tempranillo does not accumulate too much alcohol in warm climates, so it can be grown in hot areas like Valdepeñas in La Mancha, where it is often blended with late-ripening cabernet sauvignon.
  • Portugal. Tempranillo is the most planted grape in Portugal, where it is known as tinta roriz(in the Dão and Douro regions) or aragonês (further south in Alentejo). The tempranillo grape is, along with touriga nacional and touriga franca, one of the main grapes used in the production of Port, Portugal’s historically significant fortified wine.

Because of its adaptability to various temperatures and soils, growers are experimenting and having success with tempranillo grown in newly popular regions such as Texas, Monterey in California, and in northern Mexico.

What Kinds of Wines Are Made With the Tempranillo Grape?

Although rare varietal wines made from tempranillo do exist, the grape is most often made into a blended red wine. In Rioja, tempranillo is the primary grape used in a blend that also includes mazuelo (also known as carignan), garnacha, and graciano. Those grapes all work to add body and structure to the tempranillo.

Some producers in Rioja are making rosé from the tempranillo grape, but this is a relatively new phenomenon.

In Portugal, tempranillo is used to make Port, where it is blended with the red grapes touriga nacional and touriga franca and then fortified. These range in color from deep ruby to tawny depending on age, but all are sweet and high in alcohol.

What Are the Classifications of Tempranillo Wine?

The most expensive and ageworthy tempranillo wines are made in Rioja. The Rioja DO (denominación de origen) wines are classified by the length of time they have spent aging, rather than a classification based on vineyard sites like in Burgundy. The best producers will age their wines longer than the minimums required by the Consejo Regulador, the group that governs the DO classification system. Wines from Rioja labeled “Joven,” or young, have not spent time in barrel and are not part of the classification system.

These aging requirement are:

  • Crianzawines are aged for a minimum of one year in barrel followed by one year in bottle.
  • Reservawines are aged for at least one year in barrel, followed by bottle aging that brings the total aging to at least three years before the wine is released.
  • Gran Reservawines are aged for a minimum of two years in barrel and three years in bottle before leaving the winery. These wines are ready to drink upon release but can age for decades longer.

What Does Tempranillo Taste Like?

Unfortified wines made from tempranillo are almost always dry. Tempranillo is known for its plush texture and complex aromas and flavors that range from savory to fruity to woody.

Some of tempranillo’s savory notes include:

  • Tobacco leaves
  • Earth
  • Barnyard
  • Leather

Tempranillo’s fruit profile tends toward ripe red fruits, like:

  • Plum
  • Strawberry
  • Cherry

Tempranillo is often aged in American rather than French oak barrels, which give it strong aromas of:

  • Coconut
  • Vanilla
  • Caramel
  • Dill pickles

Fortified wines made with tempranillo, such as Port, are strong and sweet, with flavors of nuts and caramel or chocolate and berries, depending on the style.

How Do You Pair and Serve Tempranillo Wine?

It’s hard to go wrong with food pairings and tempranillo. The wine’s savory smoothness and fruity finish complement a wide variety of dishes, from grilled meat to tomato sauce-based dishes to paella. Tempranillo’s moderate tannin and acidity can harmonize with spice-laden foods too. At a dinner with multiple pairings, serve tempranillo before more structured reds like cabernet sauvignon. Aged Rioja can be a surprising match with nutty cheeses like aged gouda, which bring out its caramel and truffle notes.

 

Wines of This Degustation

 

  1.   Vecordia Ribera Del Duero Roble, 2020, (Vecordia).

One hundred per cent Tempranillo red from Ribera del Duero, Spain- Violet-red. Spicy redcurrant and cherry aromas are complicated by cracked pepper, violet and dried rose; very complex for its price point. Supple red fruit flavors are quite sweet, with no obvious tannins. Rated 90+ by Beverage Dynamics. Elegant.   ABV: 14.1%, Taste: Spice, Cherry, Medium-bodied.

 

 

2.   Asua Rioja Crianza, 2016 (Asua).

Wine Advocate 92 -Rioja, Spain – “”…The oak is very subtle and in the background with some spices. It’s aromatic and has a lot of finesse. The palate is juicy and balanced, with the same freshness found in the nose and a dry, serious and chalky finish. Delicious. I love it…””. ABV: 13.5%; Taste: Black Fruit, Wood, Spice, Medium-bodied.

Winery: Asua

Asua was born as a tribute to the founders of Compania Vinicola del Norte de España CVNE, the Real de Asúa brothers. It’s a classic Rioja from a 5th generation family of winemakers that continues to receive critical acclaim and high ratings.

Every wine made at CVNE symbolizes what’s most important to them—tradition, quality and innovation. Their packaging represents the authenticity and origin of CVNE by using an image of the old winery.

Maria Larrea has been the Technical Director at CVNE since 2006. That’s not her only role though as she is also responsible for overseeing the production of Asua, from the vineyards to the development of each wine. Maria grew up surrounded by wine and became a licensed Winemaker.

Asua pairs well with a range of dishes, from red meats to leafy green salads. It’s ideal for sharing at dinner parties and is a great gift for any wine lover in your life.

 

3.   Marqués De Cáceres Rioja, Reserva,2016  (Marqués de Cáceres).

Rioja, Spain- This complex Tempranillo blend offers spicy, earthy aromas with blackberry and red fruits following on the palate. It is well-balanced with a terrific mouthfeel.  Style: Elegant; Taste: Blackberry, Medium-bodied, ABV: 14 %.

RESERVA 2016 D.O.Ca. RIOJA Made exclusively from the best vintages GRAPE VARIETIES 90% Tempranillo, 10% other varieties OENOLOGISTS, THE TRADITIONAL WINES RANGE Fernando Costa, Emilio González and Manuel Iribarnegaray VINEYARDS AND YIELDS A selection of old vineyards originating from Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. Low yields, smaller than 5,000 kg/ha. TERRAIN Fundamentally clay-limestone. Plots of Rioja Alta with ferrous subsoil. 2016 VINTAGE Abundant rainfall, specially before sprouting, led to a favorable start of the phenological cycle with a plentiful water reserve. A dry and harsh summer. During September a rise in temperature and hours of sunshine in the midst of ripening, enabled a complete and balanced harvest, producing musts rich in sugars and polyphenolic structure. Vineyards with generous yields reaching optimum ripening without problem. Complete maturing throughout the year, with high alcohol levels, excellent notes of fruit. These wines from selected plots boast a great capacity for ageing. GRAPE HARVEST Harvested by hand, meticulously deciding the optimal harvesting moment for each plot and each variety. VINIFICATION Bunches are de-stemmed of their stalks with the greatest care. Temperature controlled alcoholic fermentation. Prolonged maceration with the skins with the aim of extracting more color, elegant aromas and smooth enveloping tannic structure. Malolactic fermentation in oak barrels and a stainless-steel tanks. Once the malolactic fermentation is finalized, all of the wines move to fine grain French oak barrels. Subsequent racking every 6 months. TOTAL TIME IN BARREL 15 months in French oak barrels, equally divided between new barrels and one and two-year old barrels with 5 monthly racking. REFINEMENT IN BOTTLE Minimum 2 years before its market launch. TASTING NOTES Dark and dense ruby color. Refined and complex aroma with a touch of cherry, vanilla and soft toasted notes. Balanced in the mouth, where the silky and well-defined tannins are combined with exquisite flavors to reveal a pleasant fullness. This Reserve firmly reflects the profile of the Bodegas previous vintages, awarded with several prestigious prizes. Serve at 17ºC.

 

Winery: Marques de Caceres

In 1970, Enrique Forner founded Marqués de Cáceres, Unión Vitivinícola, S.A., a historic Alliance between a region (Cenicero, La Rioja Alta), an enterprising family that has been devoted to the wine trade for five generations, the best vine growers and vineyards in La Rioja and a Bordeaux concept which revolutionized the production and business model with a single objective: the quality to obtain the best wines, an obsession that today continues to be the leitmotiv of Cristina Forner, the third generation of this distinguished wine family.

Enrique FornerCristina’s father, worked in the wine trade as a boy. In 1920, his grandfather and his father founded ‘Vinícola Forner’, a family business devoted to the production, sale and exportation of wines in Sagunto (Valencia).

Exiled in France due to the Civil War, Enrique founded a similar business in 1952, in the Rhône and Loire valleys (France), and in 1963 he bought two chateaux grands crus classés in the Haut Medoc region (Bordeaux), Château Camensac and Château Larose Trintaudon, convinced that he would be able to make some of the world’s finest wines.

He returned to Spain in 1968 and, given that a century before wine-producers and merchants from Bordeaux had chosen La Rioja when fleeing the phylloxera plague, he opted for La Rioja and Cenicero, in the heart of the La Rioja Alta sub-region, to continue his great dream.

Enrique Forner turned to his friend, Professor Emile Peynaud, a true revolutionary of winegrowing and winemaking in Bordeaux in the 1970s and 1980s, in order to steep La Rioja in the same reformist spirit.

At least five generations linked to wine forged the family spirit of Marqués de CáceresEnrique Forner, who founded the winery in 1970, learnt the wine trade from his father, who in turn had learnt from his father and grandfather (‘Wine producer Forner’), interrupted in Spain by a period of exile during the Civil War. Cristina Forner, his daughter, key to the internationalisation of Marqués de Cáceres, manages the winery with the pride and experience of one of the great Spanish families for which high-quality wine has never known boundaries, Marqués de Cáceres wines being present in over 120 countries.

A deep conviction in the ideas assimilated by Enrique Forner in France and transferred to La Rioja from 1970 onwards, means that they continue to be the pillars on which Cristina Forner rests Marqués de Cáceres. A spirit based on the production of high-quality wines, that is continually evolving with an established policy of investing in technology and innovation, but indifferent to the passing fashions which distort winemaking from time to time and lose sight of the fundamental objective of this business: offering the consumer a wine that they can enjoy and share with their friends and loved ones, as seamlessly and consistently as the history of Marqués de Cáceres.

The name of the winery was given by an old friend of the family D. Forner Vicente Noguera Espinosa de los MonterosMarqués de Cáceres and Grande de España.

The marquesado has its origins in the XVIII century and was granted by the King of Spain to the Captain of the Royal Spanish Navy Don Juan Ambrosio García de Cáceres and Montemayor in gratitude for his outstanding services to the Crown in the war of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The current Marqués de Cáceres, D .Juan Noguera is still attached to the Bodega.

 

4.  Latitud 42, Rioja Gran Reserva, 2010 (Latitude 42).

Wine Enthusiast 91 -Rioja, Spain- “Ripe berry aromas are oaky and include a note of woody vanilla. On the palate, this is tight and has a resiny texture from extended barrel aging. Oak-heavy flavors of vanilla and berries finish with chocolate and a medicinal hint.”

Latitud 42’s wines represent the long, multi-generational legacy of its winemaking family and the traditions of Rioja, Spain. The altitude and unique terrain of the vineyards give Tempranillo grapes a natural vibrancy and finesse that only improves with aging.

Latitud 42’s collection of Riojas is rich in dark fruit flavors with hints of chocolate, tobacco and spice. Whether you need a wine to pair with dinner or just crave a taste of Spain, these highly expressive red wines offer the perfect sips.

 

Winery: El Bodega Latitud 42 de Rioja

La Bodega Latitud 42 is one of the Rioja area. They offer 8 de vines for sale, all of them from Rioja. In situ and on-line sales are available.

https://es.winedexer.com/vino/domaine-latitud-42

Assessment of the Wines

 

 

 

 

.o0o.


Laughing matter?  

Which one would you abstain from?  Wine or women?

I need to know the year.

.o0o.

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