Archive for the 'Spanish Wine' Category

2005 Los 800 Priorat

The preview for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival has piqued my interest in Spanish wine again, directly impacting my shopping habits at the same time. Even out here in the ‘burbs, we are seeing a better variety on the shelves.  I picked out this one considering that I love Priorat, and the price was right.

I popped this one open the other night and was immediately struck by the inky, almost felt marker hints and pencil shavings on the nose (a teacher’s dream I guess ☺) with some tobacco and dusty currants. All the things I love in the unique nose of Priorat – and this one is a blend of 50% Garnacha, 30% Carignan, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah. A few sips brought on loads more currant with some rustic earth and plum. As the evening went on, the plum became more pronounced with some nice spices. The finish was distinctly Priorat in my experience, – long with cherry, chalky mineral and some pepper. A winner all around in my mind as it got better as the night went on. We had this with some nice charcuterie and and cheese – a great complement.

I tasted the Les Terasses at the festival night, and as always, it was delicious and well worth the $45. Given this reference point, this one is well worth the $29 price tag.

I’m looking for to tracking down many more wines like this in just over a month!

$28.99 at the LDB here in BC.

4 stars

1 comment

2005 Dominio DosTares Cumal

Every time I’ve drunk a wine lately, I feel a bit guilty that I haven’t been posting. I originally started this site as my online wine journal and now it’s time for to get back to that – it doesn’t always have to be an article-like write-up; I just have to get them done. I’ve got a HUGE backlog, so I’ll try to get some of them online in the next while.

This bottle is as good a place to start as any. I’m sitting here sipping and it’s pinging parts of my taste buds that haven’t been tickled in a while. It’s 100% Prieto Picudo from vines of more than 90 years of age and is from Spain’s Castilla y León region. You’d have to be forgiven for not knowing that grape. Heck, I didn’t but wow it’s tasty.

The wine is a deep, slightly opaque red, with a brilliant ruby edge. It’s big. More so than what I’m used to seeing when I think of wine from this area of Spain (near Bierzo). When I stuff my nose into the glass, I smell a seductive mix of aromas – dark plum, black currants and berries, black pepper, tobacco and some felt tip marker. A juicy sip loads my mouth with a beautiful mix of that ripe fruit and it finishes with a firm dose of tannin.

This is my kind of wine. It’s funky, interesting and most of all, tasty. In a word, it’s delicious.

$50 at Marquis Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4    1/2 stars

No comments

2003 Campo Alto Crianza, Rioja

Next up in the under $30 challenge is the Campo Alto Crianza. I picked this one up last week, being struck that is always nice to find a reasonably priced bottle that has a few years on it, particularly one from Rioja.

I popped this one, poured and gave it a swirl. Initially the nose was full of dusty violet, dried cranberry and a bit of vanilla. I gave it some time to sit and came back some felt marker had joined the fray. Pretty appealing to me! At that point I figured it was time for a swirl and slurp and I got much more of the vanilla on the palate, perhaps a little too much wood, mixed with tart red currant, a bit of veg. In general this was a nice wine for the money. The finish showed more tart red fruit and a really nice acidity, and was for me the best part.

I enjoy this wine. It’s good value Spanish sip that would certainly please the masses at a dinner or gathering.

$23.99 @ Liberty Wine Merchants here in Vancouver.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

2006 Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell, Jumilla

OK, let’s get this under-$30 thing going… and up first is this nice bottle of juice. It’s a 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre) from Spain’s Jumilla region in the southern province of Murcia that spends 12 months in French oak barrels.

I’m happy with this start to the challenge. Candace and I both really liked this wine. The nose is full of ripe dark plum and blackberry with a nice floral and herb edge. The flavours are a sexy blend of jammy dark ripe blackberry and plum with something like leather, tobacco and a bit of floral violet on the medium-long finish. It’s very well-balanced and the 14.5% booze isn’t at all noticeable.

I’m not sure on the vintage rating for 2006 in Jumilla, but I liked this every bit as much, if not more, than the 2004 I wrote up back in November, 2006. For what it’s worth, the Wine Dictator gave it 90 points and chose it as the #83 wine of 2009.

This is a heckuva’ good value. I’ll be drinking it again.

$24.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars


1999 R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, S.A. Viña Gravonia Crianza (White)

09262009I’ll start with a simple statement. I love this wine. It’s a wine geek’s wine – all funky “I don’t know what I’m really smelling here” on the nose and then full, fresh fruit and an insane finish when you take a sip.

Seriously though. When I took my first whiff of this wine, my first thought was varnish…  and maybe cracked almond shells or liqueur. That made the first sip even more surprising. Even with a touch of that Frangelico liqueur going on, it had fresh squeezed tangerine and lychee fruit. The finish builds on that and goes out with almond, citrus and a mineral-edged herbal marathon that lasts for minutes.

It’s 100% Viura and is aged in American oak barrels for 4 years before being aged an additional 4 years in the bottle before being released. This is Old World wine done in a uniquely Old World way. God bless them for it too. If you’ve never had a white Rioja and are intrigued by a wine with some age, you really need to seek this one out.

One note if you do buy this wine. Don’t chill it much. This is the type of white that is best served slightly chilled… and by slightly I mean just below room temperature. Don’t leave this in the fridge for long at all.

Shea, from was with me when I grabbed this and bought the 1989 vintage. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about it.

$35 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

1 comment

2005 Bodegas J.C. Conde Neo Sentido, Ribera del Duero & Floyd Landis’ Road Shoes from Specialized

You may or may not know that along with being a wine and web geek, I’m also a road cycling geek. Speaking of cycling, a couple of weeks ago, bike clothing/accessories/bikes company Specialized (@iamspecialized – you can follow me at @vinifico) had a contest on Twitter where a re-tweet of their message would automatically enter you to win a pair of Floyd Landis‘ road shoes that had been worn during racing/training. Floyd has definitely been an inspiration to me, despite being stripped of his 2006 Tour de France win under controversial circumstances. He’s done his 2 year ban and is back racing for the North American-based OUCH Pro Cycling Team. Well, I entered… and actually won.

Today I received the US Postal package (a former team of Floyd’s where he raced along-side Lance Armstrong) and opened it to check out the shoes. They had definitely seen a few miles and Floyd hadn’t even bothered to remove his Speedplay cleats before sending them to the folks at Specialized for this contest. Pretty cool. They’re the BG Pro Road shoe in white with black. I have to admit that if they had been in a size 42, I would have probably worn them, but they’re a 44.5 – Floyd has some big feet for a 5’9″ guy.

Now to the cycling/wine tie-in… this weekend marks the start of the 3rd Grand Tour of the year, the Veulta a Espana. Floyd won’t be in the race (maybe next year), but I’ll be following it at and other sites. So, I felt like pairing the shoes with a beautiful Tempranillo from Spain’s Ribera del Deuro region that I had tasted last week -  the 2005 Bodegas J.C. Conde Neo Sentido. Check out the video.

~$38 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars


2007 Marqués de Vitoria ECCO Tempranillo, Rioja

I was sent this as an agent’s sample, so when we headed out to Graham’s last Saturday, I thought I’d take it along and get his opinion on it as well.

$15.95 at LDB stores here in BC.

2.5 stars

3 stars

No comments

2006 Bodegas Valcarlos Fortius Tempranillo, Navarra

08052009Well now, here’s a bit of a find. When I received this bottle I wrote it off as a sub-$15 bottle of plonk. It’s a happy surprise to find that’s not the case at all.

Navarra is a Basque region in the North of Spain. The region extends from the Pyrenees Mountains to the edge of Rioja Baja. In the case of this wine, it has produced juice that has got that New World/Old World thing going on. It’s rustic, but also has modern soft fruit.

The colour is a bit different – it’s a pale cherry red in the glass. On the nose, it’s got dark cherries, licorice, clove and black pepper. A soft and juicy sip gives up warm ripe berry fruit, cherry and a lingering floral and softly syrupy edge to the medium-length finish.

I’m liking it. It’s a bit on the rustic side, but it’s  heckuva’ deal for the money. I’d buy it.

*Note: I received this as an agent’s sample.

$13.95 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé, NV

08042009This is a really tasty bottle of sparkling wine for the summer. It’s inexpensive, enjoyable, bubbly and fun.This Brut Rosé is made in the same méthode traditionelle used to make Champagne. That makes it a deal at less than $16. It has undergone a 2nd fermentation in the bottle for somewhere between 1 and 2 years.

It’s got a beautiful light cranberry colour in the glass with a steady stream of fine bubbles. On the nose it has strawberry, cherry, cranberry and a floral mineral thing going on. A fizzy sip comes with a mouthful of bright cherry, a bit of lemony citrus and a medium-long crisp flinty finish with a bit of a toasted edge.

In a word, it’s tasty… and is a very good deal. It’s better than you might think it would be. I’ll buy it sometime soon to sip on the patio.

*Note: I received this as an agent’s sample.

$15.99 in LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

1999 Lopez de Heredia “Vina Tondonia” Reserva, Rioja

06022009I’ve always enjoyed seeking out things off the path. As a youth, I took great delight digging through the “bins” at the front of the record store (yes records) I worked at to find a gem that had been overlooked. Finding this wine reminded me of this.

1999. That grabbed me off the bat, but a nice Rioja at 30% off at the back of the store. Sold. This one is 75% tempranillo, 15% garnacha and 5% each of graciano and mazuel. from a family winery founded in 1877.

The other night I popped it open and decanted it. The wine was a nice garnet color with some enticing tawny hints at the edges. Great start! After a nice dinner it was time to dive in.

The nose had a nice blend of sweet spices and red fruit. Lots of cedar and anise with some light cherry and a noticeable felt tip marker edge. Interesting. A few post dinner swirls and slurps brought out more cherry and some plum to a medium body that I was glad I left until after eating. The finish was really interesting, more nice spice with some tobacco and really firm tannins and acidity. I found myself liking the finish more and more, looking forward to each sniff followed by some pretty serious tartness on the finish. This was a really cool bottle.

Even after 3 hours in the decanter, this wine certainly showed it has lots of years left in it. Kind of like finding David Bowie’s Low album in the bin for a couple of dollars way back when.

If you see it, dust it off and grab it!

$34 (regular $55) at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars


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