Fusta Nova Moscatel 2005

Fusta Nova Moscatel 2005I've been a bit slow on tasting notes, a trip up to Sydney and work have go tin the way. I've got a couple of monastrells to look at this week as well.

I think this is the first wine from Valencia I've had here in Australia. And its good too, no two-fruits and Pez thick-shake here.  Its a complex wine, with a load of flavours I wasn't expecting.

A light, golden orange colour. After spending some time in the fridge,the wine pours in the glass with a bit of thickness.  Exotic on the nose, ginger marmalade, pineapple, apricot and cinnamon.  A nice balance of sweetness, flavor, spice and acid, with the palate mimicking the nose.  A bit sweeter than I like (i'm not a sweet tooth), the complexity, acid and flavours cover it well.  This would be perfect with cheese and rich puddings.  89 Pts.

Source:  Toro/Woods Wines Price:  Around $25 Closure: Conventional Cork

San Vicente 2003

San Vicente 2003Its been a hot, humid week in Melbourne.  Not really red wine weather.  But I've been busting to try this wine for a couple of weeks now, so I cranked up the air con and put this in a decanter.

There are couple of things that make this wine unique.  Firstly, its made from Tempranillo peludo or hairy Tempranillo, so called because there are little 'hairs' on the leaves.  Secondly, it is a single vineyard wine.  While not unheard of in Rioja, single vineyard wines are rarely labeled or marketed as such. 

We don't really to the 'date' thing here in Australia, but I imagine that this is the wine to serve on a date.  Sure you could have gone the obvious Burg, but take this if you want to stand out from the crowd. San Vicente is made by Marcos Eguren, part of the team who brings you Sierra Cantabria.  Marcos uses mostly French Oak (80% with the rest old American oak) for San Vincente, the wine and wood cohabitate for 20 months.  

The wine is dark with ruby glint at the edges.  The nose is inviting with heady scents of dark cherry and mulberry, Rioja undergrowth, spice box, espresso, cedar wood and earth. In the mouth its very smooth, layered, rich and intense, everything you want your date to think of you.  If they fall for that, they will also think you need a couple of years to mature before you're ready.  Mulberry, dark cherry and slight blackcurrant with chocolate, cinnamon and the suggestion of minerals.  A long, generous finish completes the package.  You'll have to shell out a few clams to impress your date, but the wine at least is well worth it.  94 Pts.

Source:  Toro/Woods Wines Price: Around $120  Closure: Conventional Cork 

Web:  www.eguren.com

Herederos de Argueso San Leon Manzanilla

Herederos de Argueso San Leon ManzanillaI was out at lunch last week and ordered a glass of Manzanilla to kick things off.  One of the guys said "I'll have one too".  I was quite surprised, so I said "you know I just ordered Sherry?" "Oh, I thought you ordered a refreshing white wine" was his reply.  And he was right.  At 15% Manzanilla is about the same as a glass of chardonnay these days, and is the ultimate refresher in these days of climate change.

San Leon is new in town, adding to what seems to be a growing list of Manzanilla available in Australia.  Like most sherry houses, Herederos de Argueso has been around since the dawn of time and produces the full range of wines.  It is one of the leading manzanillas in the UK actually.

Very pale, almost colourless. Classic nose, salt spray, chamomile, roasted nuts and flor.  Refreshing and highly drinkable.  This is not a simple sherry, the palate is complex, but subtle.  More nuts, light sea salt and tangy apple. There is also a mealy character that I find very interesting.  You will need to order a couple of these, it goes all too quickly.  92 Pts.

Source:  Toro/Woods Wines Price: Around $18 (375ml) Closure: Screwcap

Web:  www.argueso.es

Bodegas Felix Solis Vina Albali Gran Reserva 1998

Bodegas Felix Solis Vina Albali Gran Reserva 1998Valdepeñas is a DO that you don't hear a lot about, but there are some classic wines produced at very good prices.  This wine is very Riojan in style, Tempranillo aged in American oak for 24 months.  This has to be one of the best value wines from Spain. 

Plum red in the glass, with classic Rioja characters on the nose, tobacco, spice, undergrowth and dark berry fruit.  It has a mix of ripe fruit that is well supported buy oak and tannin, nicely balanced and nothing is out of place.  Smooth and refined, its perfect for drinking now with a good set chops, or just about good anything from the BBQ. 90 Pts

Source: Toro/Woods wines Price: Around $26 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.vinaalbali.com

Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño De Fefiñanes 2005

Bodegas del Palacio de Fefinanes Albarino De Fefinanes 2005This bodega is one of the oldest in Rias Brixas (with the longest name too!), started in 1904, and they were the first to bottle an albariño wine in 1928.  And what a wine it is, possibly the best Spanish albariño I've had to date.  A great wine to put in a blind line up, there are shades of German Riesling, a bit of viognier from the Rhone, loads of minerals and flint, but remains true to form if you know what you are looking for.  This is a must see wine for the albariño freak, but its not cheap.

Pale straw in colour, the sweet aromatics are on straight away: white peach, musky white flowers, apple blossom, a slight bit of sea spray with a suggestion of lemon.  The first taste immediately has me interested, a luxurious oily texture, flinty, minerally, complexity, great balance and length.  A big hit of flavour: apples, white peach, minerals and flint, and pink musk sticks.  I'd drink this on its own, not to say that it wouldn't be great with food, but its so enjoyable by itself.  92 Pts.

Source: Toro/Woods wines Price: Around $40 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.fefinanes.com

Condes de Albarei Albariño 2005

Condes de Albarei Albarino 2005Albariño certainly seems to be popular at the moment. I'm not sure how its selling, but there are at least 8 very good wines available in Australia now, not bad for a white wine from Spain.  Condes de Albarei is a fairly old co-op of 400 growers with 170 hectares of Albariño in the Salnes Valley, from which they knock out 1.5 million bottles of Albarino a year.

It falls into the glass with a pale straw colour and shows off its aromatics very well.  Lots of floral notes of white peach, apple juice and a slight lemon juice wiff.  Crisp and tangy, but lightly oily at the sames.  Well balanced and full of flavour too : white peach and melon, a bit of minerally acid and lemon.  Great summer drinking.  88 Pts.

Source: Toro/Woods wines Price: Around $30 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.condesdealbarei.com

Dominio Espinal Rosado 2005

Here is the second Rosado, this one is from the other end of the country.  From southern Spain, Yecla to be exact.  Made from 100% Monastrell.  As you would expect, it is a very different style than the Coto de Hayas.  Deeper red colour, light cherry and spice, but still very drinkable all the same.

This shows up quite dark for a rose, a crimson red colour.  You could almost fool people into thinking your drinking Pinot. The nose oozes light red fruits, fresh cherry and strawberry, with toffee and earth.  Well balanced, savory with sweet fruit.  Full of flavour and fruit in the mouth, red cherry, fresh apple and tangy Toffee Apple lollies (from the Redskin family).  The finish is crisp and is long finish too.  The thing I really like about this wine is that you don't need to chill it to death, the flavours a great with a bit of warmth without getting bitter as some roses do. 88 Pts.

Source: Toro/Woods wines Price:  Around $18 Closure: Synthetic Cork

Web: www.bodegascastano.com

Coto de Hayas Rosado 2005

Coto de Hayas Rosado 2005While its still warm I thought I'd have a look at some more Rosados.  I have two from very different areas of Spain, but both very good.  This one is from Campo de Borja and its made from a mix of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Cabernet.  The free run juice has 6 hours on skins.

I noticed that one of the Spanish importers ran out of all of their Rosados in mid January, so this style must be getting popular.   Many restaurants that have rose on their wine lists (still not enough of them do) have a Spanish Rosado as part of the list these days.  Great with food and good quality for the price you pay, why wouldn't you grab a bottle to drink with your pasta or whatever it is you're chowing down on.

Bright pink with a lively sparkle to it.   The nose is all strawberries and red cherries, no sign of sweetness, a bit of toffee.  Lashing of generous red fruit in the mouth with some leafy herbs. While there is some sweet fruit, it savory and refreshing, everything in the right place and level.   Light tannins on the finish, but its well balanced overall.  Great with food or on its own.  88 Pts.

Source: Woods Wines/Toro Wines Price: Around $18

Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.bodegasaragonesas.com

Capcanes Lasendal 2004

Capcanes Lasendal 2004I've always like this wine, but the 2004 is something else.  Bursting with flavour and a good lick of acid.  Garnacha with 15% Syrah thats aged in french and american oak for 10 months.  Its very reasonably priced for what it is too.

This wine jumps out of the bottle with a great nose of blackberry and dark cherry, a bit of smoke, orange blossom and woody herbs. A tonne of tart fruits: blackberry, dark cherry and plum.  Add to this a mix of minerals, earth and some sage. Tannins don't stand out at the moment, well integrated and balanced.  Don't worry about cellaring, you could of course, but buy a few to drink now.  90 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acuisition RRP: $35 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.cellercapcanes.com

Telmo Rodriguez Matallana 2003

Telmo Rodriguez Matallana 2003This  is another birthday wine, it sat in the decanter for a couple of hours while we drank the Unico. First released in 1999, Matallana is Telmo's top wine from Ribera del Duero, 100% Tempranillo that sees time in French oak.

This seems like such a young wine, very powerful, but not over the top.  Its quite closed at the moment, you can see the promise however.

Deep, deep purple/red in the glass with aromas of dark cherry, black current, some coffee, woody herbs and anise.  A powerful, structured wine that isn't allowed to run away on its own, its held in place very gracefully by solid structure, Lush tannins and fine balance.  On the palate there are more of those great dark fruits with added licorice, undergrowth and minerals.  It needs time in the cellar, 7-10 years, but will come out a beautiful showing of Ribera fruit and wine making.  95 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition RRP: $170 Closure: Conventional Cork