Sierra Cantabria Coleccion Privada 2005

All this talk of modern V’s traditional Rioja seems logical until you come across a wine like this. The Coleccion Privada is what the Egurens call a Collection wine, that is a wine that shows character and tradition but with modern methods and oak treatment. The result is something that blurs the line between traditional and modern, however I’d have to question the oak treatment a bit here.

A quick google search tells me that the CP is made from two vineyards of 50 year old vines, barrell fermented in a mix of French and American oak and then left to age in the barrel for 18 months.

Very dark in the glass, with royal purple towards the rim. A concentrated nose of dark fruits and wood at this stage: blackberry, dark cherry with espresso, a year’s worth of pencil shavings, sarsparilla and cinamon. Very nice fruit tannins in the mouth, bigish and soft, that lend a bit of ommph and keep up with the acid. Although this is a very young wine, its fairly approachable now. The palate shows juicy black fruits with some mocha, pepper and hot cinamon. The finish is very long. A wine to be banished to the cellar for at least 5 years, preferably 7-10. But it looks like it will live for a very long time. 93 Pts.

Source: Toro/Woods Wines Price: $125 Closure: Conventional Cork


The joy of closure

I’d heard a bit about this wine before it was released: a $15 Albarino in screwcap from Vintage Cellars. It will sell by the truckload if it’s any good, I thought. Then Larry posted a comment after tasting a bottle, and it sounds quite good indeed. So I made a rare trip to my local Vintage Cellars store and picked one up, banged in the fridge for an hour or so and poured myself a glass. Yuk, completely oxidised. Buggar. The ‘cap looked OK too, no dents or anything. But its one of those Stelvin Lux plastic jobs, I’m sure if they do dent. I’ll take it back and get a new one.

However, you will be seeing a lot more wine from Spain under screwcap in the next couple of years. It would seem that regardless of any local laws or D.O. regulations, producers are installing screwcap equipment in their bottling lines and are ready, willing and able to export their wine with a screwcap keeping the wine in the bottle rather than a cork. Mainly whites at first, but the reds will come….

Salvador Poveda Moscatel NV

This is a good bottle to have in the fridge for those times when you need something sweet, but not heavy and sticky. There isn’t much in the way of details on this one appart from that its made from Muscat of Alexradria and Roman Moscatel, but I’m assuming that its made by allowing a partial fermentation of the latest year’s harvest that’s stopped by the addition of some grape spirit.This is very well priced too.

Nice goldern colour with a bit of viscosity. Aromas of lemon peel, seville orange marmalade, a bit of ginger and, well, muscatel grapes. Light, bright and fresh in the mouth, with a good dose of sugar but some acid to keep the finish fairly clean. The palate mirrors the nose for the most part, but shows some old oak character. The kind of thing you hope for when you find a nice lump of cheese at the back of the fridge at 11:30pm. 88 Pts.

Source: Ce Soir Imports Price: $20 Closure: Cork Stopper


Vinedos de Paganos La Nieta 2005

Vinedos de Paganos La Nieta 2005

Now this is a wine that will divide the modernists from the traditionalist. It’s expensive, highly expressive and extracted, limited production and very much a high expression Rioja wine. It’s from a single 1.7 Ha vineyard of Tempranillo that was planted in 1975 on trellis (which is unusual for Rioja) in the minerally clay high up in Rioja Alta near Laguardia. A lot of selection work is done for this wine, cluster selection in the vineyard then berry selection by hand in the bodega. It’s fermented then in to new French oak for 18 months. It’s presented in a way that makes me think Grand Cru Burgundy. Personally, I think its a great wine that needs to rest for at least 5 years before looking at it. But if you’re more of a traditionalist, you’ll be cursing Parker and his followers.

Very dark for Rioja, royal purple with black/red core. The wood is quite evident at the moment, mocha, a bit of caramel and some vanilla. Thats followed up by some stunning dark fruit: Dark cherry, blackberry and blueberry with some minerals and herbs layered in for extra complexity. Intensely flavoured in the mouth with plenty of soft fruit tannin but with the acid to back it all up. Its very masculine and youthful right now, but I sense that this is wine that will have have an identity crisis in its early teens and move to a more feminine mould. The palate shows dark cherry, black current, and ripe mulberry with plenty of minerals, sarsaparilla and iron type minerals. The finish is huge. If you’re not a traditionalist and get a kick out of all kinds of wine, you’ll love this. But keep your mitts off for at least 5 years, then drink over the following 15. 95+ Pts.

Source: Toro/Woods Wines Price: Around $300 Closure: Conventional Cork


Adegas Galegas Dionisos 2007


Adegas Galegas Dionisos 2007


This is a new wine for Ce Soir Imports, and it should be available later in the year. There is no sub region specified, but it has all the hallmarks of a wine from Val do Salnes. Adegas Galegas is a small producer that is part of the large Grupo Galiciano that make a huge range of wines in Galicia, including a very interesting looking Marc called Ada that has little kids running around the bottle. 

Crisp apple, pear and lime, with white peach, jasmine and a bit of smoke. In the mouth its shows direct acid and good texture with more apple, kaffir lime leaves, plenty of minerally acid and a bit of musk stick. The quality really shows here, it's in the lean and minerally camp of Albariño. A very worthy addition to the growing number of Albariño available in Australia. 90 Pts.

Source: Ce Soir Imports Price: $30 Closure: Conventional Cork


Ramon Bilbao Mirto 2002


Ramon Bilbao Mirto 2002


This is the high expression from Ramon Bilbao and it looks like they've used every trick in the book to assemble a very high quality wine. Bunch selection in the vineyard, then table sorting in the bodega, temperature controlled fermentation in French oak vats, into new French oak barrels with a bit of bâtonnage thrown in for good measure. Its then bottled after 24 months in barrel. Sounds good? Well the resulting wine certainly is.

It opens up with plenty of wood derived characters: espresso, caramel, pencil shavings and vanilla which sits over some earthy boozed cherry, plum and current fruit. Very smooth and textured in the mouth, there is a lot of wood artefacts here but the fruit stands up to it. Cherry, plum, mocha, cinnamon, liquorice and pepper. Its rich and juicy with some sandy tannins on the finish. A very good wine for the vintage, it will cellar well for at least 10 years. 93 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $100 Closure: Conventional Cork


Agusti Torello Mata Brut Rosat 2005

Agusti Torello Mata Brut Rosat 2005

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how hard it is to find a low cost Rose cava.  This wine would have to be the benchmark for rosado cava in Australia and at $45 you couldn't call it low cost. How ever it is bloody good and well worth the outlay. I compared my note from this bottle to what I wrote about the 2004 and its amazingly similar. 

An unleaded petrol colour.  Lots of typical cava notes, toast and yeasty bread, with some red fruits: raspberry and strawberry.  As usual, very bubbly and creamy  Notes of raspberry, melon,  strawberry, aniseed and mandarin.  A bit of minerals on the finish, with some orange/madarin sherbet. Highly drinkable and would go really well with my mushroom, chive and goats cheese omelette. 91 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $45 Closure: Conventional Cork


Protos Roble 2005


Protos Roble 2005


Wines labeled as Roble are usually a young wine that spends less than 6 months in oak. It can be a bit hit and miss as if they use all new oak, the wine soaks up all the oak flavour but doesn't get the small amount of oxygen contact that oak barrels allow. This one from Protos has been done very well, the oak is a passenger on this ride, the fruit is doing the driving.

A clean fruity nose of cherry and plum, with a touch of raspberry followed by some vanilla and herbs. Really nice fruit here: sappy plums, dark cherry and black current with Christmas cake spices and earthy/gamey animal notes in the mouth . Some chocolate joins the party as the wine gets more air. Very clean and driven by some quality acid that leaves your mouth fresh and ready for more. Some fluffy tannins on the finish round it out. This would be a killer by the glass in a bar. 90 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $30 Closure: Conventional Cork


The Spanish Aquisition 2005 Premiums Tasting – Portuguese

The Spanish Aquisition 2005 Premiums Tasting

So after a quick bit of bread and a glass of water, I’m on to the Portuguese table wines, as well as a couple of ports. This is the best showing of Portuguese wines I’ve seen in Australia and the quality here is unmistakable. Every wine here was high quality, showed great personality and I’d love to have all of them in my cellar.

Luis Pato Vinha Pan 2005 – A funky nose (in a good way) with cherry, blueberry and raspberry some bay leaf and pine/eucalyptus notes. Medium bodied with excellent balance but intense raspberry flavours, fine grained tannins and a very long finish. I rate this highly.

Luis Pato Vinha Barrosa 2005 – More spicy and less herby than the Pan, also a more meaty. Showing great raspberry fruit characters in the mouth but still very savoury. The balance here is superb, everything is just right.

Alvaro Castro Pepe 2005 -A great nose of red and blue fruits with a bit of funky barnyard, mocha and a touch of clove and cinnamon. Nice and clean in the mouth with tangy raspberry , a bit of smoke and minerals. Quite grippy.

Quinta do Crasto Reserva 2005 – Quite smoky on the nose with some typical rocky, sooty earth notes over the top of some plum, raspberry and blueberry fruit. Fleshy and spicy in the mouth, plenty of fruit here with big soft fruit tannins.

Quinta do Vallado Touriga Nacional 2005 – Perfumed nose of violets and christmas cake spices, a touch of mint for good measure over some plums, blueberries and cherries. Tannins are quite amazing. Very interesting wine.

Valle D. Maria Douro 2005 – This is a real step up, and that’s saying something in this line up. Mint, clove and quality small goods on the nose with some lovely fruit. Good acid level, some fleshy tannins giving plenty of texture and interest. Quite meaty and juicy. Goes on forever. Excellent stuff.

Meandro de Meao 2005 – Beautiful nose of sweet fruit: cherry, plum and currents with xmas cakes spice. Complex and inviting in the mouth with more of that great fruit and spice with some added liquorice and earthy/mineraly rocks notes.

Meao Douro 2005 – The big daddy of the Portuguese wines at this tasting. The nose is intense and complex: menthol, clove, soot, brambly undergrowth, plum, cherry, blueberry. The palate is All class too, intense and complex but open business. Quality tannins and super balance. Looks like it will live for ever too.

Quinta do Valle D. Maria LBV 2003 - Excellent QPR here, subtle raisin and prune with clove and rosella jam. Very smooth and balanced, good integration of spirit and fruit.

Quinta do Valle D. Maria VP 2005 – This makes those big blockbuster Aussie table wines look even more porty. Elegant and so highly drinkable. The nose offers up ripe fruit (my notes say pomegranate and rosella, but not sure on those) with subtle clove and other spices. Its quite minerally too. Smooth as a baby’s….

Niepoort VP 2005 – This is a step up in complexity and depth from the last one. Intensely flavoured and structured. Its a bit more aggressive in structure, but shows really well right now. One to put in the cellar by the case if you’re a port fan.