Toscar Monastrell 2005

Toscar Monastrell 2005

I've saved the best of these Toscar wines as the last post in the set. Before I tasted these 4, I wondered if the wine that the region is best known for, Monastrell, would come out on top. And it did. There is a bit more character with this wine, and if there is one thing I like in a wine, its personality and character. Many of the cheaper monastrells around can be a bit odd, but this is a good, honest wine that shows that a Monastrell that drinks well doesn't have to cost over $20.

As soon as I opened the bottle I could smell the earthy, dark cherry and plum and this built further in the glass show the classic wild animal and a touch of honey. Rustic and friendly, but quiet mouthfilling with bold flavours. Lush, chunky fruit tannin and a touch of acid adds real interest while the palate shows savoury plums, hot cinnamon, and some pen ink. A wine with true personality and rustic charm that is pleasure to drink with good Mediterranean style food. At $20 this would be a bargain, at $14 you'd fell like you've stolen it. 88 Pts.

Source: Ce Soir Imports Price: $14 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.salvadorpoveda.com

Torre Oria Cava Brut NV

 

Torre Oria Cava Brut NV

A bloke I worked with years ago with dropped me an email from out of the blue about this Cava he'd just had. I had to have a look he said, nice and fresh appley goodness apparently. So I tracked down a bottle at Randalls last week and polished it off in the backyard on Friday night. Its 100% Macabeo grown in Utiel-Requena, just inland from Valencia, that sees 18 months on lees. I noticed that its currently selling for just under $20, which puts it in with some pretty smart company. But its been on as low as $16 or $15 for case buys at times. At the lower price its a no brainer.

Medium bead in the glass, not too creamy just right. A clean nose of bright, green apples, a touch of lemon and chalky soil. Fine and focused in style with a persistent finish. Quite classy and pure on the palate: more flinty green apples and lemon rind with sherbet and a touch of minerals on the finish. A crisp tasty Cava, thats good value at $16. 87 Pts.

Source: Randalls Price: $16 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.torreoria.com

Toscar Tempranillo Crianza 2003

 

Toscar Tempranillo Crianza 2003

 Ok, this is the 3rd of the 4 Toscar wines.  This one is a wood aged tempranillo, and its a good drink. It shows plenty of rustic, warmer climate tempranillo character and some nice wood treatment that is virtually unheard at this price point in Australia. While I have a stylistic preference for the cooler climate gear, you'd have to pay at least 10 to 15 bucks more than this to get something barrel aged from Rioja, Ribera del Duero or Toro. And for that all important midweek drink, price matters.

Opens up with a slight earthy undergrowth character and adds some plums vanilla, dried herbs and spices. A bit rustic in character, but as with all these Toscar wines, its easy drinking: rounded, fairly smooth and balanced. The palate shows some rocky plums, white pepper, and a touch of smashed up coffee beans. The finish is a bit drying with some sandy tannins. Overall, it a wine with plenty of interest and personality at a price you can't possibly complain about. 86 Pts.

Source: Ce Soir Imports Price: $14 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.salvadorpoveda.com

Granbazan Albariño ‘Amber’ 2005

 

Granbazan Albariño 'Amber' 2005

 

I've been meaning to buy the 2006 of this wine for a while, I've been downing bottles of the stuff at bars but haven't written it up yet. So when I stopped in to Rathdowne Cellars and saw a bottle of the 2005, it went straight in the basket. The packaging on this has to be one of the most kitsch out there, but it somehow works and draws your attention straight to this funky little bottle. 

Its the colour of old hay in the glass and shows some white peach, florally lemon, and a shake of sherbet on the nose. Quite powerful in the mouth, it walks a fine line between lean and full flavoured with a spine of acid to keep everything ship-shape. The palate shows mostly bright green apples, but with some lime/grapefruit sherbet and slatey minerals. A generous finish with some more of those lovely minerals and a touch of apricot. Drinking really well now, you could keep it around for a couple of years without too much harm. 90 Pts.

Source: Rathdowne Cellars Price: $38 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.agrodebazansa.es

Lunch at Movida

Lunch at Movida
I took the day of from painting to roam around the city and have some lunch. It started raining around 12, so I ducked into Movida to warm up and have a bite to eat. The great thing about Movida is that its the kind of place where you can muck around with your mates (and the staff) if you want or just chill out at the bar eating and drinking. I took the second option. I’ve had some really good experience at Movida, as well as some average ones, but it seems they are in top form at the moment. The food is always a mix of modern and traditional Spanish food, with some really innovative gear as highlights. The staff are great and I really like the way they bring out the dishes one at a time so you can enjoy them without rushing.
I kicked off with three tapas and a glass of La Goya Manzanilla. The Oritz anchovy is just the perfect thing to get you in the mood. A thin slice of crisp toast, anchovy and a glob of smoked tomato sorbet on top with some capers and EVOO on the plate. Excellent. The subtle mushroom croqueta was well done, those Japanese crumbs make a huge difference. The next dish was a bit ho-hum, but not everything can be great. It was piquillo pepper stuffed with crab and potato, crumbed and deep fried, served up with a dollop of aioli.
A chorizo and prawn empanada was one of the specials, so I grabbed that along with Costilla con sobrasada, which is a couple of lamb cutlets encased in a Catalan pork & paprika pate. Both really good. A glass of Telmo Rodriguez Lanzaga 2004 went down a treat with these two, showing a more of its earthy side today which really suited the food. To finish off I ordered the queso del dia, which was a well proportioned wedge of Garrotxa, a stunning semi-hard goats cheese from high up in the Pyrenees in Catalonia. I needed no help to get this down, but the glass of Montenovo Godello matched up fine.
The crowd can be too heavily weighted to the “cool young things” for me at times (I’m uncool, I have a blog about wine for pete’s sake!) but its always nice to pretend for a couple of hours. Today it was relaxed, friendly and a good place to chill out. Just what I was after. Is it Australia’s best Spanish restaurant? It could just be…

Toscar Cabernet Sauvignon Crianza 2003

 

Toscar Cabernet Sauvignon Crianza 2003

Alicante is well known for its Monastrell based wines, but there have also been large scale plantings of other Spanish and French varieties. The region is quite hot and dry, but also quite high in places so this allows for a good growing season without many dramas as long as it rains every now and then. The soils are mostly limestone, with very low nutrients and not a lot else but the vines and woody, weedy herbs growing in this harsh environment.

Aromas of blackcurrant and dark cherry liquor, pepper, chocolate and pepper. Smooth, well rounded with a longish finish and fine tannins. Medium bodied and savoury. In the mouth it shows bright fresh fruit that mirror the nose.  Another good wine from Toscar that is perfect with food and casual drinking. 87 Pts

Source: Ce Soir Imports Price: $14 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.salvadorpoveda.com

Toscar Syrah 2005

 

Toscar Syrah 2005

 

I've got 4 wines here from Alicate, so I sat down today and went through the lot.  Quite impressive for the asking price of $14, all of the wines are well balanced, show well ripened fruit character, are mostly medium boddied and easy to drink. Its the kind of stuff that is a great midweek drink or for the BBQ on the weekend. Well any time really. First up is this Syrah.

Aromas of plums and dark cherry, a touch of pepper, dried herbs and earth. In the mouth its smooth and balanced, medium bodied with light tannins and a touch of acid. Rustic with a bit of polish and well made from obviously good fruit. The palate mirrors the nose for the most part, but adds a bit of prune and more black pepper. Nice light, no hassle drinking that is well worth grabbing if you want something a bit different with your pasta or grilled meat. 87 Pts.

Source: Ce Soir Imports Price: $14 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.salvadorpoveda.com 

Lustau “Escuadrilla” Amontillado

Lustau "Escuadrilla" Amontillado 

Just a quick note today, I've got a load of painting to finish off before the end of the week. I'm mainly a fino/manzanilla guy, but I do enjoy a bit of older sherry action from time to time. Amontillado is a handy style as it goes well with cheese and is great with soup to start off a meal. 

In the glass its the colour of molasses. Fresh and vibrant nose of crushed almonds and peacans, coffee, and a touch of orange rind. In the mouth its savoury and mouth coating, but balanced by the acid and a touch of heat. Good length with an orange and coffee twist. Goes well with a wedge of hard cheese.  90 Pts.

Source: Boccaccio Cellars Price: $19 (375ml) Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.emilio-lustau.com

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2000

 

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2000

 The second of my Priorat auction purchases went much better. One of the problems with buying wine at auction is you never really know whats happened to it before it got to the auction house.  I've had good luck so far and have usually picked up very well stored bottles.  While there is still a very small amount of Spanish wine sold at auction, it is growing and the prices seem to be quite good.

 

The nose is almost non-existent on pouring, a lot of vigorous swirling bought it up a bit, however I think it needed more time in the decanter. A touch of rose, raspberry leaf, ripe red and black fruits with some hot rocks. In the mouth its a glorious drink, plenty of soft, refined tannins, well structured and balanced with an acid backbone. notes of dark cherry, raspberry and plum with black pepper, sage and loads of minerals. A long finish with more of those lovely minerals. Right in its drinking window now, but will last another 5 years in the cellar with no problems.  

Source: Auction Price Range: $55-$70 Closure: Conventional Cork

Clos Mogador 1996

 

Clos Mogador 1996

I picked up this wine and a bottle of 2000 Finca Dofi from auction to see how they were looking and to test the theory that these wines from Priorat can age well and develop additional complexity. While there is quite a bit of old vine material in the region, modern methods have only been used in the last 20 years, so its a fairly young region that's in a constant state of innovation. Plus its not an easy working environment: the hills are all shisty rocks on steep slopes and it can be bloody hot here so keeping everything from the picked grapes to the bottles in the cellar cool is very important. I have noticed that from around 2000 onward there has been a big jump in quality from many producers, so I was interested to see what this bottle looked like.

 

Opened up quite mousey and earthy, a touch of old raspberry leaf with subtle red and black fruits. None of the classic soot character. Disappointing, there were a few questions about TCA on the nose, but I don't think so. A touch of brett perhaps. The palate is much better showing some trademark minerals and rocks, raspberry, dark cherry and plums. A touch of old leather and barnyard but really quite simple.  Quiet pleasant to drink but nothing special. I went back to it a couple of hours later and it was looking much better, it had lost that mousy character and was not showing some mountain herbs, richer fruit and more complexity.  So if you've got some in the cellar, a couple of hours decant at minimum. 

Source: Auction Price Range: $55-75 Closure: Conventional Cork