Acustic Cellars ‘Brao’ 2006

Acustic Cellars ‘Brao' 2006The big brother of the Acustic, Brao is made from 65+ year old vines. The old vine fruit really shows through, this is a step up in complexity, depth and minerality. 45% Garnarcha and 55% Samso with some slick oak treatment.

A deep and complex nose of black cherry and raspberry, with some subtle chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon and hot rocks. Structured, but very much open for business on the palate with excellent balance and minerally acid. On the palate the step up in complexity shows up again, with layered notes of raspberry, dark cherry, mulberry, a little sage leaf, white pepper and a shake of anise. It’s smooth and lithe, but with a deep and intense core of high quality fruit. Impressive stuff. 93 Pts.

Source: Heart and Soil Price: $70 Closure: Conventional Cork

Solomillo al Whisky

Sevilla Meat MarketThis is my favourite tapa of all time. A big call. Well it’s at least in the top 5. You will find a dish by this name in many areas of Spain, for me this is the one and only solomillo al whisky. If you’ve been to Sevilla, you will have seen it on the menu, it is the home of this simple marvel of blokes in the kitchen. I have 4 different recipes for it, but I haven’t been able to get the recipe for it from the joint that makes the best one I’ve had, Bar Monolo in Plaza Alfalfa.

This is the simplest, the others vary from slowly oven roasting a whole garlic (which I highly recommend), cooking the meat in the whiskey, and making the sauce ahead of time and refrigerating overnight (ok, but not great). The sauce is also put over Tortilla de Patatas as well.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon of beef stock
  • 5 or 6 small and very thinly sliced bits of pork loin (think schnitzel thickness)

What to do:

Put the oil in a pan and gently cook the garlic until it’s mushy. Add in the butter, lemon juice, whiskey and stock. Stir it up so the garlic is mashed up and gives the sauce a bit of thickness. Keep the heat fairly low and cook it for 15 minutes until it’s reduced, you may need to take it off the heat every now and then if things get too hot. Add salt and pepper if you think it needs it (it usually doesn’t).

While the sauce is reducing heat a frying pan until it’s super hot. Throw in the pork and cook it for 30 seconds, then straight into the sauce. If you prepared the sauce ahead of time, add it and pork to a super hot pan for 1 minute. Plate it up straight away with some bread.

I’ve tried all types of sherry with this, I like it with manzanilla as it cuts through the fatty sauce, but most Sevillianos drink oloroso.

BTW the photo was taken at one of the meat markets in Sevilla, note the ‘Cerdo Iberico’ sign. (a bad photo with my old point and shoot Canon…the only slightly pork related photo I had handy)

Acustic Cellars ‘Acustic’ 2006

Acustic 2006I’m always very happy when a box of wine turns up in the office. Especially when it’s a couple of newly imported wines that I’ve been watching in the Spanish wine press for a couple of years. Every thing about these wines shows class, the packaging is unassuming but stylish and the smooth and understated wine in the bottle.

There are two wines in the range, this being the ‘entry level’. Both of the wines are from old vines, the Samso (Carinena) and Granacha vines for this wine are 35 to 65 years old . It’s aged in 1 and 2 year old oak. You can tell that these wines are made with a fair bit of attention to detail, nothing sticks out, the balance is unbelievable, overall it’s complex very enjoyable. If Roda made a wine in Monsant, this is what it would be like.

The colour is quite dark red, but don’t let that fool you. The nose is subtle and complex with raspberry leaf, red currants and raspberry, a few toasty notes with a bit of white pepper. Fine and smooth in the mouth, its round with a few edges to provide contrast. It’s calm and confidant, but with an impish side. Juicy raspberry and and cola with some hot cinnamon, mulberry and the odd musk stick here or there. Fine chalky tannins turn up on the long finish. This is joyous stuff. 91 Pts.

Source: Heart and Soil Price: $40 Closure: Conventional Cork

Estio Rosado 2007

Estio Rosado 2007Just a quick note on this one, it’s the second last rosado in the pile. Rose wine is a great drink, but really tasting it and writing up notes kind of misses the point. It’s for drinking, not thinking in my book.

Estio made from 70% Monastrell with a bit Tempranillo and Syrah.

Bright red/pink in colour, it’s quite a striking colour. The nose is up front and straight forward: strawberry and a touch of soft plum, a bit of wild herbs. It’s quite juicy and fresh with some crunchy acid. Plenty to like on the palate, strawberry and raspberry fruit with some minerals and earthy herbs. Great drinking at this price. 87 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Cost: $19 Closure: Conventional Cork

Mocen Verdejo 2007

Mocen Verdejo 2007Obviously, I’ve been doing too many tastings of late: It looks like I got my notes mixed up on the two verdejos I had last week. The note from the Orden Tercera Verdejo 2007 was actually for this wine. Not good, but it happens.  I have updated the other post with the new note…

Now this wine doesn’t show too much of that herbal/vegetative character I mentioned in the last review. I drink a fair bit of verdejo when I’m in northern Spain, most bars have a good one on stand by when you’ve had an overload of vino tinto over the past week. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been, I’m dying to get back but I keep buying wine when I should be saving for a plane ticket…

This opens up nice and fresh, with some pear and fennel buld, a bit of apple and lemon with a touch of cut grass. There is a touch of sweetness at first, but it’s mostly savoury with a little texture. It motors along nicely, nothing poking out, with good balance between texture and acid. The plate has generous flavours of pear and apple, lemon towards the finish and a touch of minerally goodness. A good drink, I’d buy a glass if I walked into a bar and saw it on the list. 88 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Cost: $23 Closure: Conventional Cork

Alvaro Castro Dão Tinto 2007

Alvaro Castro Dao Tinto 2007Just a quick note on this one. This is Alvaro Castro’s entry level wine and I find that it’s the kind of wine that polarises people. It’s gamey and a bit wild, I find I need a couple of sips to get into it, but once I’m there I have a great time.

It’s a blend of Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Jaen (Mencia) and Tinta Roriz that sees 6 months in old wood before being bottled.

The nose starts off with a gamey meat smell, followed up with some plums and black cherries, subtle spice and an old campfire note. The palate has the goods however, smooth and focused with some sandy tannins on the finish. It’s very complex and I feel like my palate is pulled from one side to the other at times. It’s very dry and a bit wild, more notes of plum and dark fruits with strong wild sage character, a touch of chocolate and liqorice. It’s not something I’d want to drink a lot of on it’s own, but with a spicy sausage pasta it was a treat. 87+ Pts

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $33 Closure: Conventional Cork

Los Hermanos Albariño 2008

Los Hermanos Albarino 2008I don’t drink enough of the local wines made from Spanish or Portuguese varieties. It’s not that I don’t think they’re up to scratch, but I usually have my hands full keeping up with the imported stuff. With the ever dropping dollar, imports are going to get more expensive and wines like this may well fill the hole when most imported Albariños are pushing $35 to $40 bucks a bottle.

This is the first wine from this label, which means the siblings in spanish. The packaging is outstanding, the wine shows real promise too. The fruit is from the King Valley.

Peach, jasmine a little lime and even a some rocky minerals. Tight with a backbone of driving acid underneath some good fruit. Apple and and just ripe white peach, lemony acid with a lime sherbet thing on finish, which is quite long. A bit of talc at times too. This is a very good example of Aussie albariño, it had me ticking all of the varietal boxes on the way through. 89 Pts.

Source: Crittenden Estate Cost: $28 Closure:Screwcap

Orden Tercera Verdejo 2007

ORDEN TERCERA Verdejo 2007I had a couple of cheaper verdejos earlier in the week, and I was impressed at the quality level. I find that some of the cheaper offerings made from verdejo can be a bit oxidised, and frankly too herbal and vegetative. This one has a fair of the wild herbs that I’m not that fond of, however others do like this character. After testing it out on a few unsuspecting friends, I think you’re going to love it or hate it.

The nose opens up with a stong note of wild herbs, fennel bulb and green apple and pear. Slightly textured with a bite of acid and subtle fruit characters. That herby note is a bit more subduded here, some nice crunchy acid and it seems well balanced. The plate is a bit subdued in terms of flavour, a bit of pear and lemon but the acid drives it along nicely. Out of the two this drinks a notch below the Mocen, but still worth a look if you see it buy the glass somewhere. 87 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Cost: $23 Closure: Screwcap

Telmo Rodriguez Vina 105 2006

Telmo Rodriguez Vina 105 2006Cigales is a small region just north of Valladolid in north west Spain. Like many regions, wine has been made here for generations, the signature wines are rosados made from tempranillo and garnarcha and a little verdejo or ablillo. It’s one of the few wine regions in the world that celebrates the blending of red and white grapes. Cote Rotie, the home of the now ubiquitous shiraz viognier blend, being the most famous I can think of.

Vina Ciento Cinco, to give it’s full name, is made from Tempranillo without wood as far as I can tell. As usual with Telmo’s wines, the label is quite eye catching.

The thing I like about this wine is it’s confident nature. Nothing sticks out and everything is in the right place. It’s straight forward, but with a bit of character. The nose shows plenty of earthy cherry and raspberry notes, with a touch of smoke. In the mouth it shows juicy raspberry and blackberry fruit, a sprinkle of liquorice root and earth. A moderately generous finish with plump tannins. Very good drinking. 88 Pts.

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

From the cellar: Roda Reserva 2003 375ml

Roda Reserva 2003 375mlI bought a case of half bottles of 2003 Roda thinking that I’d stick them away somewhere dark and cool for 5 year then pull them out for drinking on quiet nights at home. Good idea, not so good in reality though. They never made it out of the wine fridge at home into off site storage, so the odd bottle comes out now and then when I feel like a glass and a half of something good. There are 7 bottles left a year later.

This is a new section to plunk down some quick notes on wines that I pull out with a bit of age on them. Most of the time these won’t be real tasting note with a score, just a quick update.

For all the concerns over the hot vintage, I think this is a really great wine. It’s showing great freshness now and 30 minutes in a decanter brings out the lovely red fruits, there are no roasted notes here. It was already complex when I reviewed it after release, but I think it’s moved on from a year ago and the wood is very well integrated. The tannins are soft and soothing, the finish very long. A year in the cellar has done it the world of good. I’ll try and leave it a bit longer before I open the next one…maybe my stash will make it to 3 years yet. I notice that Boccaccio Cellars still have some of these…

Source: The Spanish Acquisition RRP: $40 Closure: Conventional Cork