Romate La Sacristia de Romate PX NV

Romate La Sacristia de Romate PX NV

The La Sacristia reference in the name refers to the inner sanctum of the bodega that holds the oldest and most treasured sherries.  For a long time this was the domain of the bodega owners, their trusted staff and the odd celebrity or official passing though Jerez.  Some of the bodegas now sell some of this wine off in very small quantities.  As you can imagine, these are not cheap wines, but in terms of world wine values they are outstanding.

Dark red amber in colour.  Really refined on the nose, sure there is the customary raisins, but its the perfect level mixed in with old wood, orange peel, almond and a hint of cinnamon.  Surprisingly fresh and vibrant in the mouth, just stunning balance of all of the elements. Sweet, but restrained in the mouth with raisins, toffee, orange peel and some cinnamon on the monster finish.  If you couldn't tell, I like this a lot.   96 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $75 (500ml) Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.romate.com

Meandro do Vale Meão 2004

Meandro do Vale Meão 2004A bit of a quiet week drinks wise, this week.  But I've had a couple of great wines over the last couple of days.  This fantastic wine is from the Douro Valley and is a blend of  30% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 30%Touriga Franca, 5% Tinta Barroca and 5% Tinta Amarela.  The vineyards here were originally planted by the Ferreira family (the famous Port house) in the 1870s.  The family has held on to this vineyard through all the corporate buying and selling over the years and is now run by Francisco Javier de Olazabal, the great grandson.It is an interesting plot of land, there are a range of soil types, some areas of schist with granite and alluvial gravel.  It also has a significant red wine history, it was used to produce one of Portugal's top red wines, Barca Velha, which has a status similar to Grange in Australia or Vega Sicilia Unico in Spain.  Meandro is the second wine, Quinta do Vale Meão  is the top wine.  These wines are great value at present, get on the train before the prices skyrocket.

A nice deep red/purple colour in the glass with aromas of blueberry,light red fruit, licorice and spice with a little coffee.  Suave tannins provide excellent mouthfeel.  Well balanced, but powerful and full of attractive fruit.  Blueberry, blackberry, currents, crunchy minerals with hints of chocolate and vanilla. Long finish with minerals and a slight orange note. A great place to start adding a Portuguese section to the cellar.  92 Pts.

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

Alvear Solera 1927 PX

Alvear Solera 1927 PX Its a strange thing this website/Internet caper.  I spent a bit of time getting rid of a lot of the comment spamers and blog searcher last month but the statistics for this month have still gone up, around 6000 people have had a look at the site so far this month.  It should have gone down if anything, plus I've been slack on posting too!

Anyway this is the older brother of the PX I tasted last month, older material different packaging and a very different wine.  Its rare for me to feel like I could finish a bottle of PX, this was gone in no time.  No need for food, but I had it with some stinky blue cheese from Italy.  I've got another couple of PXes to write up later in the month. 

Like dark honey or molasses in colour, the nose on this is arresting.  Its like sniffing a big bag of sultanas and raisins, with a but of caramelised sugar, orange peel and the odd almond sprinkled over the top.  Its very fluid in the mouth, not heavy and overly sweet.  The flavours is full on PX with refinement and balance.   The palate reflects the noses and the finish goes on for ever.  If you are looking for a very well priced PX to see what its all about this is your wine. 94 Pts.

Source:  Toro/Woods Wines Price: Around $40 (375Ml) Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.grupoalvear.com

Quinta do Vale Meao Vintage Port 2003

Quinta do Vale Meao Vintage Port 2003

I visited Porto on my first Iberian trip and its an amazing place .  Loads of history, you can just walk into most of the big name houses and do a basic tasting, fantastic people and amazing old buildings while that classic tile work.  If the food was more to my taste and there were more Portugese wines available back here, this site might be called Tinto y Brancho.  Anyway, I love port and its great to see very good affordable examples arriving.

This is one of the newer style vintage ports that show really well for about 5 years from harvest, goes into a dull phase for 10 years and comes out fresh, complex and amazing.  Its also more Burgundian, softer edges, more like a structured, powerful table wine than a big solid vintage port.  Its made from 50% Touriga National, 40% Touriga Franca and 10% Tinta Roriz.

This gets off to a ripping start with black current spice, almond, slight spirit, apple, licorice and pepper on the nose.  Deep red with a ruby edge.  In the mouth there is loads of flavour, the wine remains balanced with good acid, soft, fleshy fruit tannins with a sweet/savory thing going on.  A warming bit of alcohol reminds you that this is actually port, not a table wine.  Already a complex wine with plum, blackberry, a lick of aniseed, hot cinnamon, mocha coffee and pepper.  Amazingly approachable at this age, drink until 2008 then put it away for 10 years.  94 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $110 Closure: Conventional Cork

Descendientes de José Palacios Corullón 2004

Descendientes de José Palacios Corullón 2004Ok, another big name 04 wine.  I think of all of the red wines of Spain, Mencia from Biezro is the real sleeper.  I've only had a handful of wines from the region, but they have all been intriguing wines with real character and style, seemingly built for long term aging.  I need some of these for the cellar.

There is also a range of single vineyard wines from the same stable, I think I need to investigate.

Kicks off with a slightly subdued nose of mulberry, earth and rocks.  It opens up with more air to show some boozed cherry and mocha.  Great structure and balance. A bit tight at the moment, but open enough to show the restrained power wrapped in soft and abundant luxury tannins.  Great blackberry and blueberry fruit with roasted coconut, sage, mocha and minerals.  A good long, minerally finish.  Drinking really well now, but I'd put this away for a couple of years.  94+ pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $95 Closure: Conventional Cork

Agusti Torello Mata Brut Rosat 2004

Agusti Torello Mata Brut Rosat 2004Now this rose style cava is something else.  ATM are apparently the only cava house that only make cava, the rest of them also make table wines.  Its made from a grape that I have very little information on: Trepat.  From what I can find it is a specialist rose cava variety.  The grapes are handpicked from the estate's vineyards and the resulting wine spends 16 months on lees.

A striking pink colour with a vigorous beed.  The nose is very subtle: toasty, yeasty bread with slight melon, raspberry and strawberry notes.  There is a fair bit of bubble here, not too much.  Dry and savory.  The flavours in the mouth are intriguing and make you want drink more than your fair share: raspberry, melon, slight apricot, strawberry and mandarin.  I occasionally got a brief bit of aniseed as well.  The finish is long with a mandarin sherbet note.  Very impressive.  I was looking for a second bottle as I poured the second glass.   91 Pts.

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

Web: www.agustitorellomata.com

Vallformosa Classic Brut Rose NV

Vallformosa Classic Brut Rose NVI  seem to have gone a bit crazy for pink wines this month, here is a couple of pink cavas.  This first one is from Vallformosa. I really like the MVSA, but the Rose isn't quite up at that level.  There is nothing wrong with it, it just that nothing really stood out.  Perhaps it needed food or I was having an off day?  It is however nice and crisp, with a bit of flavour, a good bet for the backyard BBQ on a hot summer's day.

A nice petrol colour in the glass with a fine bead.  Subtle aromas of strawberry with a bit toast.  Truckloads of bubbles in the mouth, crisp, dry and refreshing.  On the palate there's more strawberry, a slight herb note and bit of sherbet on the finish.   85 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $23 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.vallformosa.com 

Telmo Rodriguez M2 de Matallana 2003

Telmo Rodriguez M2 de Matallana 2003Here is a more detailed look at one of the wines at dinner last week, Telmo Rodriguez's middle tier wine from Ribera del Duero.  Its all Tempranillo with about 13 months in French oak. A serious wine this one, very good drinking now but it will improve with some time in the cellar.

Deep and dark red in the glass, aromas of black current and dark cherry, caramel oak, smoke and woody herbs with some spice.  Great juby fruit in the mouth, savory with solid tannins and good balance.  Blackberry, current and cola with more herbs, spice and a little bit of liquorice.  Really good with food now, it'll improve with a couple of years in the cellar and drink for 10 years after that.  92 Pts.

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

El Quintanal 2006

El Quintanal 2006Doesn't time fly?  The 2005 edition of this wine was of the first wines I looked at when I started Tinto y Blanco and the 06 version is just about to be released.  I'm starting to think this wine will become a must buy every year, sure I've only had two vintages but they are compelling wines at a bargain basement price (for an imported wine anyway). 

Deep dark red/purple.  Aromas of dark cherry and blueberry, some spice and earth.  Really nice mouthfeel, lots of lush soft tannins and savory flavours of dark cherry, black current and plum with a touch of pepper and nutmeg.  A strong finish and good balance throughout.  Very classy for the cash.  89 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Aquisition Cost: $25 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.cillardesilos.es

Artazuri Garnacha Rosado 2006

Artazuri Garnarcha Rosado 2006Rose style wines aren't just for summer when its 40 degrees and your sitting under a tree eating a dodgy ham and cheese roll from a picnic hamper.  I like to drink rose all year round and it is a perfect match for so many foods.  One of the key things with rose for me is to use it as a food wine, that is its real place in life.  So, you don't want huge flavours but you do want a good wack of acid for freshness, balance and length.  A bit of texture is nice.  Dry or with a bit of sweetness depends on the food, an off dry rose works very well with a salad with bitter leaves and blue cheese.  But of course, you don't make friends with salad.

Anyway, Artazuri is a project from the good people at Artadi, the famed Rioja producer.  100% Garnacha with a little skin contact for that lovely colour.

Looks like petrol in the glass, the old unleaded stuff.  A subtle nose of strawberry, mountain herbs, a little bit of earthiness and raspberry.  Crisp and fresh in the mouth with a pleasing level of acid, good weight and texture.  The palate mimics the nose for the most part, subtle and dry with a mid-length finish.  Excellent with food.89 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $20 Closure: Conventional Cork