Archive for the 'Spanish Wine' Category

2004 Vinos Sin-Ley G-5, Vinos de Madrid

03182009OK, so after a bit of a break, it’s back to the wine. I was given this wine a couple of weeks ago by Sitemasher CEO, Ron Moravek. I finally cracked it open tonight with dinner to share with Candace.

From a winery whose name translates as “Wines Without Law”, I’m really liking what they’re doing – and that’s their own thing. They’re out to create wines of their taste using innovative methods. They make a few series of wines from different grapes. The “G” series are made entirely from the Grenache (or Garnacha) grape and make up G-1 through G-6. This wine’s grapes come from the Madrid area from vines that average 120 years in age…. and that age explains the complexity of the wine.

Wow… what can I say? The second I stuffed my nose into the glass to give this a sniff (after an hour of air), I was in love with it. The nose is all about the ripe red plums and some smoke with a peppery edge. A big ‘ol sip really gives you all the nose hints at. It’s juicy without being ankles-behind-the-ears slutty and earthy without being too puckery and Old World. It successfully straddles that fence between the 2 – Old World and New World. All the fruit and mineral balance, without being too juicy or austere.

If you can find it, this is a fantastic value wine. If you’re lucky enough to snag one, it should be in the $25 range.

4 1/2 stars

2 comments

2005 Condado de Haza, Ribera del Duero Crianza

01192009This may be hitting the blog a bit late, but I’ve had a bunch of this wine over the last few months and have to get it up here. I even have to say that it was actually a bit of a mistake that this didn’t make my top wines of 2008 list. It should have been on there. It’s a kick-ass wine that I love. I just forgot to include it. It happens.

OK, wow. Every time I open a bottle of this wine, I wish I had 6 more to replace it. It’s just that good. There’s so much going on – dark cherry, blackberry, smoke, mineral, violets and coffee. All of these hit both the nose and the long-lasting, mineral-edged finish. It’s a smokin’ bottle of Tempranillo juice. The Wine Dictator gave it 93 points and rated it the #34 wine of 2008.

If you can find it, it’s also really worth buying a few to sit down for a while to see how it evolves with some age. I’m sure it will more than hold its own for years to come.

$31.99 at LDB stores here in BC (if you can find it).

4 1/2 stars

8 comments

2004 Bodegas Y Viñedos Luna Beberide Tierras de Luna

This is, to me, one of those wines that successfully straddles the New World/Old World fence. It’s got all that New World sexy fruit and some of the Old World terrior-driven minerality to its flavours.

I picked it up last week at Kitsilano Wine Cellars on a staff recommendation (these folks love their wine) and popped it open tonight with some grilled Oyama elk sausages… and holy crap, this is my kinda’ wine. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Mencia that carries a healthy 14.4% booze.

I gave it some air and it opened up into a sexy nose of ripe and dark berry and cherry fruit, coffee and an earthy mineral edge. A big ‘ol sip gave me a balanced bunch of the dark fruit, sour cherry, a bit of leather and a bunch of tannins on the crisp and earthy finish.

What can I say? I loved this wine. If you can find it, take it home, give it an hour or 2 of air and enjoy.

$36 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

4 comments

Parés Baltà Brut Cava, NV

12122007.gifI love this wine. Now it’s pretty apparent that I’m partial to a decent sparkling wine from anywhere. It makes me happy. Lately, this has been my bubbly aperitif of choice. It’s a Cava, which is made using the same techniques as those lovely folks in Champagne.

It’s a blend of 58% Parellada, 25% Macabeu and 17% Xarel.lo. Now I’ll be the first person to own up to having not heard of those grapes, but dammit, they combine to make a bloody tasty Cava. The colour is a light straw yellow. A big sniff gives nice apple, pear, light flower and honey. A bubbly sip shows lemony citrus, apple and pear with a finish that lasts until the next sip.

It’s also a bonus that, in 2004, the winery was certified as organic, so you can feel safe and happy while you sip away. 🙂

This is easily the best under-$25 bottle of bubbly I’ve come across here in Vancouver.

~$23 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4 stars

No comments

2004 Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Pesquera Crianza, Ribera del Duero

11182007.jpgWow… this is a wine I’ve liked every vintage I’ve tasted. The 2004 continues that trend. It’s a serious wine, made from 100% Tempranillo with layers of flavours, 13% booze and tannins that show its best is yet to come.

The colour is a medium-dark red, with a nose that gives up a bunch of dark fruit, licorice, vanilla spice and earth. A sip shows rich dark berry fruit, coffee and that vanilla-edged licorice. the finish is a bit heavy on tannins right now, but that will mellow if you’re smart/lucky enough to sit this down somewhere and have it in a few years.

It’s Old World in all the right ways.

$31 here in BC at LDB stores.

4 stars

No comments

Wine – 2004 Artadi Orobio Rioja

This is a very interesting wine. The first thing I smelled when I put my nose in the glass was black felt tip marker… followed closely by charred BBQ salmon skin. No, I’m not kidding. To be 100% fair, this was soon after I had opened the wine… and this is one that needs some air.

As it breathed (give it at least an hour), the hard edges of its nose softened and I grew to love it. The word that came immediately to mind was “complex”. Fantastically complex. This is one of those Old World (OW) wines that might not appeal to all folks, but if you love wine and have a palate that appreciates the challenges some OW wines toss out there, you might just love it.

What’s going on here is a 100% Tempranillo whose (aired) nose shows felt tip marker (still there), floral violet and dark fruit. The flavours show all those layers. There’s the almost spicy violet edge, the dark fruit and a finish that shows those felt tip markers. You know what? It might not sound too tasty, but it is. The finish marries all those flavours and goes on for minutes.

I hate to toss in my overused phrase, but this is a fantastic wine. If you’re an Old World wine fan, grab a bottle, settle in (and breathe it) and enjoy.

$27.99 at Liberty Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4 stars

No comments

Wine – 2005 Muga White, Rioja

09182007.jpgI first tasted this wine a few months ago and have been meaning to write it up since then. Everyone has heard of Rioja (OK, almost everyone), but white Rioja? Well, Rioja is a wine region in Spain and yep, they make some white wine there as well. This is a blend of 90% Viura (also known as Macaebo, the most widely-planted white grape in Rioja) and 10% Malvasía.

Tonight, I paired the wine with a completely simple meal of grilled wild salmon (Sockeye), green beans and new potatoes drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil (Amelia, of course)… and it rocked. The salmon and lemon brought out a distinct (and bloody tasty) lemon-citrus edge in the wine. It was delicious.

Let’s break it down – the colour is a medium-pale straw yellow, the nose is flinty lemon and herbs… and the flavour? Well, that pretty much mirrors the nose. It’s a big mouthful of crisp, yet balanced lemon and pear with a bit of an herb edge. Interesting and really good.

If you’re in the mood for something white and different (and wine), give it try. You’ll be glad you did.

$27.99 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4 stars

2 comments

Wine – 2004 Fusero, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon

Hi folks! Long time no post. I’ve been off holidaying and doing other summer-like activities. There were beaches, water, swimsuits and wine… oh yes, there was wine – lots and lots of wine. I’ll write a catch-up post on that later.

This post has something I don’t often do – negatively review a wine. Most of the time, I take a relatively educated guess and come up pretty darn happy. Sometimes though, I take a recommendation and don’t really find it up to snuff… like this one.

It’s 100% Tempranillo that tastes like it was stewed with a lot of grape stems and oak chips (no barrels here, I’m thinkin’). It’s lightly fruity with an unsatisfying, bitter edge and a short finish. It’s OK for the money, but there are others I’d go to before buying this again in a pinch.

All in all, I’d give it a pass.

$14 in private wine shops in Vancouver.

2.5 stars

1 comment

Wine – 2006 Marqués de Cáceres Rioja Rosado

08012007.jpgI had this last week on a visit to my Mom’s place with my good friend, Mike. We picked it up at a LDB store for a thrifty $14.99. With my summer fixation on rosés still in a healthy place, I figured that at that price I had to give it a go.

It’s a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Grenache from the vineyards of the Rioja Alta that is fermented in stainless steel tanks. This helps the wine keep its crisp and fruity, yet dry style. It’s a fantastic summer wine.

The nose shows light cherry, strawberry and cranberry fruit, with a light floral edge… and that’s what the wine serves up in its flavours as well.

In an upcoming issue, the Wine Dictator gives it a healthy 87 points. They got it right – I really liked this wine. I’ll definitely be grabbing it again sometime soon.

$14.99 in LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

1 comment

Wine – 2003 Telmo Rodriguez Viña 105 Cigales

05132007.jpgAs Sean has mentioned previously, Telmo Rodriguez is making some unique and darn tasty wines that buck the established Rioja, Garnacha, Tempranillo standards from Spain. We tasted some of his selections and the Vancouver International festival and they were superb. So, when I saw this one, I had to grab it.

This is a single vineyard blend made of Garnacha and Tempranillo, apparently grown and pressed together, similar to the “field blend” zin that Sean had earlier this year.

The first sniff was a little puzzling, notes of burnt toast, some earth and a hint of red fruit. This turned into nice ripe fruit with some nice toast as ot met the air. Interesting…in a good way. When it hits your mouth, it’s all ripe red raspberry and cranberry. The finish is more raspberry with some soft and tart tannins. This is plain and simple, easy drinking barbeque wine. Tonnes of fruit, nice balance and a great value make this a summer red for sure.

$17.56 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

No comments

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