Coto de Hayas Crianza 2003

Coto de Hayas Crianza 2003An interesting blend of 60% Garnarcha and 40% Tempranillo from Campo de Borja.  It gets 8 months in French oak. I seem to prefer the straight Garnarcha wines from this region more, but this was a good mid-week glug for the price.

Deep, dark red in the centre of the glass, with some purple moving towards the edges.  Highly perfumed on the nose with plums, dark cherries, some raspberry leaf, pepper and some purple/blue flowers.  With a bit of time, a wack of coffee oak starts to dominate the nose.  In the mouth the wine is rich, open and shows good oak tannins.  The palate for the most part mirrors the nose, the fruit looks a little baked however.  There is a bitter herbal note on the finish.  Well made, but seems a bit all over the shop at this stage.  86 Pts.

Source: Toro/Woods Wines Price: Around $20 Closure: Conventional Cork


Quinta do Ameal Loureiro 2005

Quinta do Ameal Loureiro 2005 This is a wine that Gary Walsh would like, its like a cross between hunter semillon and a young riesling.  This wine comes from 12 hectares of Loureiro in the Lima sub region of Vinho Verde and is a low 11.5% alc.  Perfect lunch time hooch.  The owners of this property sold the port house Ramos Pinto at the end of the 80s and started again here, reviving the vineyards and looking to make excellent vinho verde.

Very pale in colour, almost clear actually, with aromas of kiwifruit, lemon, pineapple with a bit of musky grapefruit.  In the mouth it shows lanolin like texture, minerally acid and good length.  The palate shows a similar profile to the nose, but adds a bit of gooseberry, grapefruit and a bit of orange sherbet on the medium length finish.  A very good spring/summer drink.  88 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $24 Closure: Conventional Cork


Albariño de Fefiñanes “1583” 2005

Albariño de Fefiñanes Now this is something a little bit left of centre.  Even the name 1853 is a bit odd.  You'd think it was the date of the establishment of the vineyard or the date of some great happening in Spain, but its actually the birth year of the guy who built the Palacios de Fefiñanes. 

Redardless of all that, the wine is very complex with just about all of the things I like about good Albariño but there is also an oxidative aspect to it.   What makes this wine a bit different is that this wine sees 5 months in French and American oak, a fairly new thing in the world of Albarino.  I'm not sure if I prefer the wood treatment or not yet, I might get another bottle of this with the 2006 standard wine in a couple of weeks to compare.

Light straw in colour with a slight green tint.  Shows aromas of white peach, hints of white pepper with pear and honey suckle.  Not as tight and precise as the standard wine. I'd say broad in the mouth, but thats not quite right, perhaps mouth filling.  But balanced with a good shot of acid right where its needed.  Complex on the palate with white peach, pear, minerals, lemon and some salty capers on the long finish.  91 Pts

Source: Toro/Woods wines Price: Around $50 Closure: Conventional Cork


Flor de Crasto 2004

Flor de Crasto 2004

This is the early drinker from the guys and girls and Quinta do Crasto.  Its a blend of mostly Tinta Roriz and the two Tourigas: Nacional and Franca.  That's about all the info I have a the moment, I'll update this post when I get some more info.  Regardless, this is a very handy wine to have hanging around, highly drinkable and very different flavours.  Good winter/spring drinking.

Deep red at the centre with purple towards the rim.  Starts off with sarsaparilla, sooty earth, blackberry, blueberries and baking spices.  With some more air, a kind of salty note and the spices turn into cloves.  Very nice.  In the mouth its open and inviting, there is some good texture with nice tannins.  A bit low on acid, but this increases the drinkablity.  On the palate it shows sunny plums, pepper, clove and nutmeg, cherry liqueur and cola.  Good length and some minerals on the finish.  Drink over the next couple of years.  88 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $24 Closure: Conventional Cork

Palacio de Bornos Verdejo 2006

Palacio de Bornos Verdejo 2006Verdejo is one of my favorite wines to take to a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant.  It copes really well with the spread of flavours, salt, oil and chili while adding lemon and fennel bulb that enhances the whole experience.  This is a very good example and does the job with ease.

Pale straw in colour and shows fennel bulb, lemon, pear and peach highlight on the nose.  Don't chill this too much or you'll be missing out on the lightly oily texture to go with the crisp acid.  In the mouth flavours of pear, lemon, pineapple and a touch of honey.  The finish is a bit short, but shows a some tangy bitter herbs.  88 Pts.

Source: Toro/Wood Wines Price: Around $20 Closure: Synthetic Cork


Bodegas Muga Rosado 2006

Bodegas Muga Rosado 2006Bodegas Muga take a slightly different path to make their rosado.  The wine is made from a blend of two red grapes, Garnarcha (60%) and Tempranillo (10%), and a white grape, Viura (30%).  After 12 hours of skin contact, it is then fermented in bit old oak vats, stored there for about 2 months then bottled.  While its completely different to the Cillar de Silos, it retains that wine like quality and is highly glugable.

Very light pink in the glass with aromas of strawberries, peach and musky rose.  Very smooth and viscus in the mouth, its light and fresh with minerally acid.  Strawberry and lemon peel on the palate with some bitter herbs on finish.  Balanced, fresh, great flavours, what more do you want in a rose?  90 Pts.

Source: Toro/Woods Wines Price: $23 Closure: Conventional Cork


Conde de Valdemar Reserva 2001

Conde de Valdemar Reserva 2001I really liked the 2000 vintage of this wine, and the 2001 is a more than worthy follow on.  How these guys get such quality at such a low price is beyond me.  Quality fruit from a top vintage, extended aging in quality barrels and more time in bottle often leads to much higher prices, this wine retails under US$10 in places in the US.

The vital stats: 85% Tempranillo and 15% Mazuelo from Rioja Alvesa and Rioja Baja.  25 months in mix of French and American oak.

Deep red, moving to ruby at the edge of the glass.  A very correct Rioja nose: Dark cherry, a hint of mulberry and strawberry, slight vanilla, coco powder, old tobacco and earthy undergrowth.  Really pleasing in the mouth, medium bodied, balanced,  and textured and silky with good acid/tannins balance.  More dark cherry and mulberry on the palate with cola, undergrowth and a sprinkle of pepper and spice.  Unbelievable value, and a great introduction to Rioja Reserva without breaking the bank.  91 Pts.

Source: Boccaccio Cellars Price: $28 Closure: Conventional Cork


Cillar de Silos Rosado 2006

Cillar de Silos Rosado 2006Its been a bit quiet on the wine front lately, but I've just stocked up with a load of new stuff including a couple of rosados.  Not many roses are made from very old vines, but as I've said before, rosados are a very important section of the wine market in Spain, well most of southern Europe really.  As such they get a lot more attention in the vineyard and winery.  It shows in wines like this.  The label is a bit flashier for this vintage and it gets a synthetic cork.  I'd prefer a screwcap, but its a start.

It sounds like a stupid thing to say, but this is a very wine like rose.  I find many rose wines have an odd quality that is not what I would expect from a red or white wine, an odd palate weight and more suited to food than just drinking.  Not a bad thing, just different. Grab a bottle of something like the Gran Feudo rosado and this and you'll see what I mean.

A radiant pink, petrol colour in the glass with aromas of pink lady apples, strawberry and subtle herbs.  Excellent mouthfeel, silky and smooth but light and highly drinkable.  Tangy and savory, there is no sweetness except for the flavour of perfectly ripe fruit. On the palate it show toffee apple lollies, strawberry with a peach/pear combo.  Really well balanced with great length.  Perfect spring drinking. Get two bottles first will go down very quickly.  91 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Cost: $28 Closure: Synthetic Cork


The Spanish Acquisition August Tasting

TSA tasting August 2007For some reason I decided not to write up tastings when I started out, something about not being able to do the wine justice in such a small window.  I'm still not happy to give a full tasting note or score from a tasting, but I now think a quite impression is more helpful than not.  Plus I can keep all my notes in one place…

I turned up to the Tea Rooms at the Supper Club, notebook in hand, to have a look at most of the 04/06 Telmo Rodriguez gear, new Cillar de Silos, Cellars Capcanes and some other stuff.  The TSA crew were well setup and in full swing.  There where also some interesting back vintages and a vertical of Torresilo 00,03,04, and 05 which gave me a good view of the the 03, 04 and 05 vintages and confirmed in my mind that 04 is not all that it is hyped to be for all the regions of Spain.  In fact I'd say Dr. Jay has it wrong with his statements that 05 is a good vintage, but not up to the standard of 04.  I don't think you can be that black and white about a whole country's wine production.  The 03s are looking very good at the moment too.

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Quinta do Vale D. Maria Vintage Port 2003

Quinta do Vale D. Maria Vintage Port 2003

Cristiano van Zeller is a fairly big name in the Port game.  He was part owner in one of the most prestigious port houses, Quinta do Noval, for many years and branched out on his own in 1993.  He started off making table wines and when the lease came up on his wife's family vineyard, Qunta do Vale Dona Maria, they quickly took over and started a reno project. 

The wine is made in a more tradition way,foot trodding in concrette lagares etc, from vines from a particular area of the vineyard.

Now this is a port that is open for business.  Wide open.  I would challenge any wine lover to stop at one glass of this stuff.  Its full of raisins, currents, plum mixed with Christmas spice, hot cinnamon and black pepper.  Smooth and luscious, the tannins give great texture and the sweetness is well balanced by the acid and not over-powering.  There are some crunchy minerals and sarsaparilla/cola that add even more interest.  Great stuff, full of character and all the flavour you want in a good Vintage Port. 93 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $105 Closure: Conventional Cork