If you’re inclined to induldge in a bit of traditional Rioja, you’ll know all about this house and this wine. I’ve been working through the range over the weekend, starting off with this Reserva from the great 2001 vintage.
This is another of the Vintage Cellars imports and personally, I’m very impressed. I get to taste a load of stuff with some of the importers, a lot of it is in search of a cheap white like this. Unfortunately not many reach this standard, and at this price. For sure, it’s not the best wine on earth, but it really over delivers and offers a real alternative to the cheaper NZ Sauv Blanc that seems to be the big seller in bottle shops.
A month or so ago I bought a bottle of this wine and the screwcap was faulty. I had the replacement scheduled for tasting on Monday night, when I got an email from the wine buyer for Vintage Cellars followed by a chat on the phone about closures and their range of Spanish wine. It turns out that there was a bit of a problem with this batch, about 1% of the batch had a faulty or loose screwcap. Still better than cork acorrding to most failure statistics. The fault has been noted and action is being taken to resolve the fault.
Is it just me or is Spanish wine starting to take off all over again? Or perhaps its a second wind. Whatever it is, there are plenty of new wines in the market this year from both Spain and Portugal. The good thing for buyers of Spanish wine is the broad range of wines that are now available and there is some competition at the lower end of the market.
I stopped by Rathdowne Cellars on Saturday morning in search of Manzanilla and found this puppy. It comes in a full 750ml bottle so you can have two binges from the one bottle. For our non-Australian visitors, the Australian Government is about to release new alcohol guidelines that assert that more than 4 standard drinks in one day is a ‘binge’ on alcohol, and that any more than 2 drinks a day is harmful. 4 standard drinks is about 3 glasses of wine.
Last week I dropped into the Spanish Acquisition HQ for a bit of Jamon and ended up tasting a whole heap of stuff including a selection of wines from Alvaro Castro from the Dão region in Portugal. This lot are not currently being imported, but I’m sure it won’t be long before we’ll be seeing a few of these around town. The wines were served up single blind (we knew they were Alvaro Castro’s wines, but not which ones). I don’t have a lot of info on these wines or the region, but Jamie Goodie has a good overview of the region, including a bit on Alvaro Castro and his vineyards. Overall, I’d summarise the wines as very elegant and balanced, at the same time there is plenty of fruit too.
There’s not much to say here really, this is a good wine from Valdapeñas made from Tempranillo and given a bit of time in wood. It’s correct, it’s savoury and it’s good QPR. Wine from Valdapeñas is often confused for Rioja when served up blind, so that will give you some idea of the style. [...]
It is this kind of wine that leads to a few of the comments I made on the post about the Clos Fonta. In vintages like 2002, which wasn’t a great vintage, the producers still have the high costs of everything in the vineyard being done by hand, plus lower production and quality to boot. So all these costs (and some profit) get passed on to consumers, which would make this wine a hard sell at $90. Then again the 2004 will probably fly out the door. The punters expect something special at this price range, unfortunatley nature doesn’t always play along.
This is the older brother of the Vinha Pan, its made from 80 year old vines and this extra vine age really shows in the resulting wine. Its more deeply flavoured and meaty. Its starting to edge towards full bodied as well. This is my pick of the two, but it’s like splitting hairs really.
I’ve been a big fan of Priorat in the past, but the price rises over the past couple of vintages have pushed these wines into a whole new price bracket. Plus they can be challenging, confronting wines that are more for the head than the heart. That doesn’t sound like fun, does it? Well, maybe in a fetish kind of way. Actually, the cheaper wines can be much more enjoyable than ultra expensive ones. At times I think you get much better value over the other side of the Iberian Peninsula in the Douro Valley.