I’ve got a bit of a cold this week, so there won’t much in the way of tasting notes this week. However, I tasted this one last week, this is the image of traditional Rioja as you would expect from Grupo Faustino. Its 100% Tempranillo that is aged in American oak for a whopping 22 months. These guy do have a very scenic and impressive Bodega, check out their website for a look see.
Mid strength red in the glass. A typical old Rioja nose with vanilla, strawberry, subtle cherry, an old leather pencil case full of shavings and a good whack of barnyard/chicken shed. Very smooth and medium boddied in the mouth with loads of wood tannins that soften towards the finish (fruit tannins?). The palate shows earthy cherry and plum, with some cinnamon and minerals. Not a lot here to get me excited, a bit too much oak and ‘terroir’ for my liking. If you’re a hardcore traditional Rioja nut, you’ll probably up this 1-2 points. 86 Pts.
Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $40 Closure: Conventional Cork
Vintage Port is one of my favourite wine styles, but I don’t always want to wait 15 years for them to really show their stuff. I drank this over a week and was very impressed with how drinkable this wine is now and how much the wine improved dramatically each night. You can definitely drink this now and get huge enjoyment out of it.
Browsing through their website I noticed that they don’t make a lot of this wine, just 9,400 bottles of the 03 were made. I think I will need a six pack for the cellar, hopefully there is enough to go around.
A smooth, exotic nose of plum, dark cherry, star anise, rosella, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg with a hint of spirit in the background. The palate is open with Class A, Export Quality tannins the provide a luxurious mouth feel. Some mild sweetness and some acid to back it all up. Warm blackcurrant, plum and cherry fruit with cola and more star anise. Very minerally. The finish is very generous and leaves the taste of Christmas cake spices and plum pudding in the mouth. This is very enjoyable now, and had me reaching for a second glass every time. Drink over the next 2 years, then cellar for 10 after that. 93 Pts.
Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $115 Closure: Conventional Cork
Like many countries, Spain has plenty of wine made outside the DO system, and there are some advantages for producers in following this path. Less overhead from the regulator and more freedom to make wine from whatever variety you like, however you like. The guys at Bodegas Mauro have taken this path, they sit just outside the Ribera del Duero DO and grow a bit of shiraz as well as tempranillo and garnarcha. They also have a bit of help from winemaking legend Mariano Garcia and his sons.
This is their entry level wine and its made from mostly tempranillo with 10% shiraz. It’s fermented in stainless steel, then into a mix of 75% french oak and 25% american oak for 14 months. Only 20% of that is new oak.
A rustic nose of dark cherry, plum, unfired clay, a touch of wood smoke, thyme and coco. Super smooth in the mouth, some subtle acid and some grainy tannins that build and soften as the wine get some air. On the palate there is plenty of dark cherry, plum, dark chocolate and some spicy oak. A bit of red cherry pops in from time to time to keep things interesting. A long finish with some grippy tannins and sage. A really interesting wine, a bit pricey perhaps, but quality all the way. 92+ Pts.
Source: Boccaccio Cellars RRP: $70 Closure: Conventional Cork
This is the top wine from Toro for Telmo Rodriguez and it must be hardest bottle in the world to take a photo of, its a good thing that the wine is bloody good. Toro generally grows big and bold fruit that can handle plenty of oak, so there is always a temptation to bung the wine in loads of new, high toast oak. As a result there are some oak milkshake type wines that come out of Toro, however this wine fruit shows through with great pruity and plenty of earthy, gamey character. There is some expertly handled oak in there too, but it’s aiming for best supporting actor, not the big gong.
Very dark in the glass, with a purple rim. The nose is off and going from the start: gamey dark cherry, blackberry, sarsaparilla, a shake of black pepper with some rose and violet high notes. In the mouth the tannins slowly build into big, soft things followed up by some minerally acid. A bit tight in the mouth, but showing show meaty, juby dark cherry with some sars, espresso coffee, and sage. A good long finish with a herbal note wraps it all up. It has all the stuffing to go well in the cellar for 3-4 years then drink well over the following 10. 94+ Pts.
Source: The Spanish Acquisition Cost: $130 Closure: Conventional Cork
Pesqurea has to be one of the most well know producers in Ribera del Duero and introduced many people to the style of wine from the regions. For sure, the juicy, juby fruit that characterises Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero is a long way from daggy oak treatment and the 100 rackings that old school Rioja has as its trademark. I wouldn’t really call this a modern wine these days, but even so even there the fruit shines through and the oak treatment is reasonable.
A classic Pesquera nose of blackberry, blackcurrant, dark cherry with a clay/earth note, violets, some herby undergrowth and a touch of iodine. The usual gamy notes and a bit of cow shed are there too. Smooth in the mouth, but focused and purposeful. The tannins take a while to appear, but when they do they add some texture and a bit of grittiness that is most welcome. More black currant and cherry pie on the palate with a bit of blueberry, a bit of pepper and star anise. This is showing well at the moment, but will fill out over the next 5 years and drink well for 10 after that. 93+ Pts.
Source: Boccaccio Cellars RRP: $48 Closure: Conventional Cork
Ruby Port is considered to be the lowest level of the Port tree, but there are some good ones out there. Its called ruby port because it is usually stored in a way that prevents oxygen contact, and therefore keeps its colour better than a tawny port which is aged in oak. The result is generally a very sweet wine that has very dark, almost black, colour and plenty of fruit character.
However, the the chaps at Niepoort have decided to use very large wooden vats for their ruby port. So this wine gets a bit of oxygen contact, but still retains a very deep red colour. It stays in the vats for about 3 years, then into bottle and then its off around the world.
Its starts of with a nose of spirity blackberry and dark cherry and adds some Christmas cake spices and nuts. In the mouth it’s smooth and quite long with a hit of quality spirit. Loads of dark cherry on the palate with some blackberry and blackcurrant, more spices and a touch of minerals. Plenty to like hear, and very cheap for what it is. 88 Pts.
Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $30 Closure: Conventional Cork
This wine is a bit older and gets a couple of extra months in American oak than its younger brother, Quinta, and its all the better for it. Again, its a fairly savoury and rustic wine with some amazing acid and balance.
A bit of VA on opening that blows off, then its into the good stuff: musky black current, dark cherry, and a touch of blueberry with some thyme, sage and barnyard. Great mouth feel and balance, with some minerally acid that really drives. Fine but firm tannins. A savory and juicy palate that mirrors the nose. This is more about the structure, but the fruit is great too. I could drink a lot of this. 91 Pts.
Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $25 Closure: Conventional Cork
Roda may make some pretty amazing wines, but they also spend a lot of time and money on R&D, specifially on Tempranillo clones. After studying 532 clones for 5 years, the guys in white coats have anounced their prefered clone and called it Roda 107. Not the most inspiring name, but thats scientific types for you. Sounds kind of like a radio station.
The 2004 Roda Reserva has the highest percentage of Graciano so far. This year’s blend is 81% Tempranillo, 14% Graciano, 5% Garnacha and gets 50% new oak for 16 months. The resulting wine is very classy, with the usual silky Roda tannins and a gorgious nose.
Very open on the nose straight away, very complex with aromas of musky red cherry, tobacco leaf, pencil shavings, plum, anise, and coco with some violets, undergrowth and mocha coffee. Classic Roda in the mouth, abundant silky tannins that lend a great texture, backed up buy some driving acid leaving the sence of perfect balance. The palate needed a bit more air time to show its stuff, it starts off with some red cherry and currents, plum with some earthy minerals, then adds cinnamon, pepper and mocha with time. A fairly long finish that shows off those lovely tannins. I think this may actually be a touch better than the 01, but only time will tell. 94 Pts.
Source: The Spanish Acquisition RRP: $85 Closure: Conventional Cork
Well this is a surprise package, a really interesting Spanish wine for well under $20. It’s not the usual sunny fruit, simple but good value wine. Its well and truly in the old school camp, but it has plenty of character and rustic charm. I drank this after the 04 Roda I, which is kind of like a Barry White song (smooth and polished with plenty of bottom end), where as this is more like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (full of angles, lo-fi and not everyone gets it).
If you’re not happy with gamey characters or a bit of VA, stay well clear, on the other hand if you like savoury, rustic wines like Chianti you’ll love this. Bodegas Finca Vaqueros are based just out of the Ribera del Duero DO at Tuelda del Duero. The wine is 100% Tempranillo that gets a dunk in American oak for a couple of months.
A really interesting nose: coffee, a bit of VA and crushed ants, roast lamb with rosemary, leather, violets with some subtle dark cherry, mulberry and cranberry. Its quite meaty and savoury, with a great bit of acid down the middle of the palate. Soft fruit tannins and plenty of good stuff on the palate: blackberry and dark cherry, roast meat, licorice, rosemary and sage. A very enjoyable, rustic gem that is priced so that you can drink it any night of the week. 88 Pts.
Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $17 Closure: Conventional Cork
I get more emails about the two Roda wines than any other. For the last month or so I’ve been getting one almost every day about the 04s, which have just been realeased. The two big questions seem to be 1. are they as good as the 2001s and 2. have they gone up in price? The answer is yes to both.
Roda I follows its usual formula for 2004, 100% Tempranillo from 30 year old vines, 50% new oak for 16 months, then 20 months in bottle. This 04 Roda is highly drinkable, so watch out.
Things kick off with a powerful nose of mocha, blackberry, black current and dark cherry liqueur and adds some earthy undergrowth, vanilla and anise as it gets more air. It slips into the mouth, thanks to some very impressive velvety tannins. Its not that complex on the palate at the moment, but Roda I usually needs a couple of years to strut its stuff. What it is showing now is some lush fruit and plenty of potential: black current, dark cherry and stewed mulberry. Some deft wood treatment and bit of sage towards the finish. I’d cellar this for 5 years, then drink over the following 10. 94 Pts.
Source: The Spanish Acquisition Cost: $125 Closure: Conventional Cork