Vega Sicilia Unico 1975

Vega Sicilia Unico 1975It was my birthday earlier in the week, so I pulled out nice bottles to celebrate.  I had heard a couple of knowledgeable people say that the 75 Unico was at the point where it needs to be drunk, so I bought this one at auction to check its progress.  I have another in the cellar that I'm saving for my 35th.

Level still in the neck, a bit of label damage but nothing too bad.  A good punt I thought at the time.  Turns out I was right.  The cork came out in one piece, in really good nick actually.  I'd left the bottle standing up for a day and opened it a couple of hours before drinking.

A deep purple core with light red and orange around the edges.  The nose is a monster with all the aromas you would expect, ripe plums, light cherry, earth, leather  and an anise/licorice combo.  And then some that you wouldn't some ripe apple and wild flowers.  For a 32 year old wine its still very intense, but open and ready for business.  From the start the tannins have lovely texture that is pure velvet and the structure of the wine is amazing, layers of flavour framed by great tannins and perfect balance.  As soon as it hit my mouth, I wanted to drink it very slowly and savour it.  Plums, black currents, ripe cherry,  a bit of dark chocolate are just a few of the flavours on the palate.   Mind blowing wine, drink it by itself.  I don't think anything could make it better. Only the 70 is better for my tastes. Time to drink up?  Pffftt not going on this bottle.  It will do another 10 years standing on its head (or side).  99 Pts.

Source: Auction Price Range: $340-$360 Closure: Conventional Cork



Bodegas La Purisma Trapio Monastrell 2003

Bodegas La Purisma Trapio Monastrell 2003I have a couple of Monastrells to have a look in the next few days, 03 and 05 both look great for this style.  I loved the 02 of this wine, but the 03 has really gone up a rung or two.  Its a very clean and fresh style that makes a red that goes well in the warmish weather, as well as the cold.  I've been told a number of times that Monastrell and areas like Yecla and Jumilla aren't well received in Spain.  I'm not sure how true that it is, but wines like this must surely turn the tide?

Deep and dark in colour, the nose is open right from the start: dark cherries, raspberry, earth and a bit of pepper and woody herbs. Very adult on the palate, savory, smooth, with soft tannins and and a prick of acid. The palate is more complex than the 02, still that lip smacking tart cherry fruit with animale, espresso coffee, nutmeg and pepper. Due to the light Oak treatment, there aren't any overt oak notes.  A ripping Monastrell, that would convince many people that great things can be done with this grape.  91 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $40 Closure: Conventional Cork

Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil 2005

Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil 2005Valdeorras is a couple of hours inland from Rias Baixas and it where the Godello grapes for this wine are grown.  Its not a particularly well known region outside of Spain, and Godello isn't exactly a mainstream grape either, but I can see a real future for it from the handful of wines I've seen so far.  Generally they're well textured, great aromatics and flavour profile with just the right level of acidity to drink with food. I'm not sure if the stars and planets had aligned or maybe I was just in the mood for a good, but this was a cracking wine on the night.

Very pale in colour with aromas of roasted pineapple, peach, melon, honey and small white flowers.  Beautiful texture in the mouth, oily and silky with plenty of acid. It feels and tastes like it should be sweet, but its quite savory. Pineapple, apricot, peach and melons, even a bit of watermelon, in the mouth.  Quite a long finish, the texture keeps me coming back for more.  91 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $22 Closure: Conventional Cork

Cillar de Silos Crianza 2004

Cillar de Silos Crianza 2004The 03 vintage of this wine was one of my favorites from last year, great perfume and fruit density.  Like most reds from Ribera del Duero, its 100% Tempranillo.  It sees 40% new french oak for 13 months, the remainder in older barrels.  Many Crianzas are ready to go when they're released, this one is always very tightly coiled on release and needs a few years in the cellar to really show its stuff.

Very dark and brooding, the nose is quite meaty and shows intense black fruit characters such as blackberry and black current with earth, subtle spice and a touch of wood.  Refined in the mouth, great tannins that are soft but with a bit of an edge at the moment, great balance.  Intense dark, sour cherries with dark chocolate, cola and pepper on the palate.  Very adult indeed.  I like it a lot  Long, drying finish with a boat load of tannin.  Didn't move much on day 2, a bit more open and a bit of softening of tannins.  Put this away for 2-3 years.  91 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Aquisition Cost: $55 Closure: Conventional Cork


Telmo Rodriguez Basa 2005

Telmo Rodriguez Basa 2005I've had countless bottles of this wine and it never fails to satisfy, especially with food.  So, I took this along to my favorite Vietnamese joint on Victoria Street, Richmond.  Mid way through a plate of salt and pepper squid, a nice English chap on the next table remarked that this was his favourite Spanish white and lamented at the lack of recognition such wines get in the UK supermarkets and wine stores.  Sounds like we have it fairly good down here in Aus (pricing aside)…

A fresh straw colour, with aromas of cut grass and herbs with some green pear and a lemon/lime combo.  There is enough acid to freshen up the mouth and there is a slight oiliness to it.  More tart apple and lemon on the palate with raw fennel bulb on the finish.  It dealt with the chili and spice of the squid very well, its perfect with this kind of food. Check it out next time you're at your local Asian eatery. 87 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $22 Closure: Conventional Cork

Juve y Camps Reserva de la Familia 2002

Juve y Camps Reserva de la Familia 2002 I've just grabbed a load of stuff from that good people at The Spanish Acquisition, and this wine was the first out of the box.  I find that cava is perfect in this hot weather, not too overworked but refreshing and cooling, so it was a natural choice for a hot steamy night.

The Reserva de La Familia is a blend of 40% Macabeu, 20% Xarel-lo, 40% Parellada aged in bottle for a minimum of 3 years.  Very cool retro packaging too.

Aromas of toast, lemons and apples on the nose with a boisterous fizz as its poured into the glass. In the mouth its quite tight and pointed, there is more of the apple and lemon combo with some minerals.  A very long finish with a tart fruit notes and a sherbety finish.  Classy stuff.  90 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition RRP: $60 Closure: Conventional Cork


Bodegas y Vinedos Alion Reserva 2000

Bodegas y Vinedos Alion Reserva 2000This seems to be my first look at the 2000 Alion.  I've had a few bottle in the cellar for a while, but it must have been overshadowed by the fantastic 2001.  The 2002 vintage is now available around the traps, I should have a bottle in the next week or two.

The 2000 vintage was a tough one, lots of frost in spring, a very hot and dry summer with some downpours and vigorous growth spurts around vintage.  2000 has been the most productive vintage for Alion to date, around 316,000 bottles were produced, even though over 45% of the fruit was dropped.  2000 also saw the finalisation of the winery infrastructure, large french oak fermenters where used for the first time.

Delightful aromas of cherry, black current, mocha, thyme, earthy spices and tobacco.  Very full on in the mouth, great tannins and structure.  In the mouth its black fruits, currants and blackberry, enhanced by with minerals, licorice and creamy, toasty oak.  The balance is brilliant and the finish long. Not far off the 01, more open at this stage but it will last until at least 2015.  93 Pts.

Source: Cellar RRP: $110 Closure: Conventional Cork


El Coto Crianza 2003

El Coto Crianza 2003The 2003 version of this old faithful is really quite impressive, certainly a step up from the 2001.  The hot year has done wonders for the concentration and depth in this wine.  A fairly traditional Rioja, 100% tempranillo with some American oak treatment.  While competition in the $20 range is getting better, I think El Coto still delivers something worth the money. 

The nose shows earth and under growth on a base of red cherry. A bit of spice for good measure. Smooth and rounded in the mouth with some nice tannins. Cherry with some licorice and vanilla, spice on the short finish. Overall, a good easy drinking wine.  88 Pts.

Source: Retail RRP: $20 Closure: Conventional Cork


Telmo Rodriguez Lanzaga 2003

Telmo Rodriguez Lanzaga 2003

After having an unsuccessful attempt at the Torresilo, I cracked this open and put it in a decanter for an hour.  Lanzaga is Telmo's middle Rioja wine, with LZ bellow it and Altos de Lanzaga at the top.  While it isn't that important really, I love Telmo's labels.  They just seem very odd, striking and very Spanish. Lanzaga is made from 100% Tempranillo that sees some quality French oak. 

The nose opens up straight away with dusty earth, red berries, leather, lavender and hints of animal.  Modern in style with good structure in the mouth with nice balance.  Intense, tart red cherry with cola and chocolate notes followed up by some toasty oak.  The tannins are a bit hard to start with, they soften and become chalky and friendly with some air.  The acid is just right.  A great way to start the year.  91 Pts.

Source: Randalls Cost: $42 Closure: Conventional Cork

Cillar de Silos Torresilo 2003

Cillar de Silos Torresilo 2003I thought I'd try something big and juicy to start of the tasting notes for the year.  I'd tasted this wine in Spain at the start of last year and remembered the intense sour cherry fruit, balance and restrained power of this wine.  There was none of that in this bottle however, it was acidy, dirty water.  Scalped I'd say, bloody corks. 

Anyway, Torresilo is the top wine from Cillar de Silos in Ribera del Duero.  They use fruit from some gnarly, 80 year vines and 18 months in new French oak to make a very expressive wine.  I'll have to grab another bottle of the 03 soon and re taste.  N/R.

Source: The Spanish Aquisition Cost: $110 Closure: Conventional Cork