Gran Solbeira 2007

Gran Solbeira 2007This is a fun wine from Ribero. Not a lot of details available, but it looks and taste like it has a high percentage of Treixadura with maybe some Godello mixed in for good measure. The label is a bit of a dog’s breakfast tho. Anyway, it’s cheap, fun and cold which is what I need after three 43 degree days here in Melbourne. It looks like it won’t get under 30 for the next week, so I’m looking forward to landing in Krakow on the way to Spain… -3 at lunchtime sounds great right now.

A fresh and herby nose of lemon and lime, freshly cut leafy herbs, a touch of fennel bulb and old candle wax. Easy to drink, with a good mix of waxy texture and flowing acid. More lemon and lime in the mouth, candied lemon peel and artichoke note. I like this, not a super wine just a good one on a hot day. 87 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $17 Closure: Synthetic Cork

Remelluri Reserva 2003

Remelluri Reserva 2003Remelluri is quite the  name in Rioja. These guy lean towards the traditional side of things, but are a bit different as they are one of the few producing single estate wines (the term finca is usually used to describe this), although this is more common these days. It’s located up quite high in Rioja Alvesa, the vineyard is terraced into three areas and is one of coolest vineyards around.  It used to be a neglected old monastery until it was bought and rejuvenated by one Jamie Rodriguez Salis in the 60s. That’s right, Telmo’s dad.

So, this is where Telmo cut his teath on winemaking, bringing a lot of new ideas to this fairly tradition producer. Not being happy with the traditional white varieties, Telmo planted a mix of Ganarcha Blanca, Rousanne, Viognier and Moscatel to make a white wine. It was outrageous at the time, but it is one of the best white Riojas around. But all the wines here are highly regarded in good vintages, and I think this is one of the best 2003 Riojas I’ve had so far.

Very classy and refined on the nose: cherry and mulberry with mocha coffee, freshly ground spice, a touch of leafy  undergrowth and anise. Super slick in the mouth, well rounded tannins with refreshing acidity. This is fairly primary, but a few secondary leather and undergrowth notes are starting to come through just now. A tidy finish with a lick of minerally goodness. Very tidy and well worth putting in the cellar, it looks like it has decades in front of it. 91+ Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $60 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.remelluri.com

Blume Verdejo 2007

Blume Verdejo 2007Félix Solís looks to be something of a powerhouse in Northern Spain, they’ve purchased a couple of new bodegas, this being one of them. The wine is made from verdejo in Rueda, its bright and fresh. Perfect for the week of 40 degree days we have coming in Melboune. I must say I am looking forward to catching the end of the European winter…

Bright and fresh on the nose, plenty of lemon and pineapple with a touch of fennel bulb and burnt sugar/candy. Not overly oily and textured in the mouth, but a good hit of acid the drives with wine on. The palate is classic verdejo: lemon and lime with something a little herbal and minerally.  A very handy , sub $20, summer drink. 88 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $19 Closure: Synthetic Cork

Web: www.felixsolisavantis.com

Artadi Vinas de Gain 2006

Artadi Vinas de Gain 2006Artardi is one of those producers that people get really excited about. I’m always getting questions like: who’s importing Artadi? When will it be in? Is it really that good? These should all really go to the Spanish Acquisition (the importer), but the good news is that you can now buy the joven (Orobio) and Vinas de Gain now, the big guns are coming shortly (and they are not priced for those of us with light wallets!). I think this wine show great value in the current wine market and should be considered top flight Rioja regardless of what it’s big brothers can do.

This is ready to go straight from the bottle, no decanting necessary. The nose shows blood plums, earthy cherries, a touch of liquorice, sage and toasty oak. Really well done, everything is in the middle and harmonious. The palate is textured by some sweet tannins and loaded with bright cherries and blueberries. Juicy with layers of fruit and earthy goodness. Watch out Roda (aka Roda II), you have heavy competition. 93+ Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $60 Closure: Conventional Cork

Pazo Pondal Albariño 2007

Pazo Pondal 2007This is the big brother to the Leira, and its quite a step up. I’m not sure which sub-zone this is from but it looks and tastes like its from O’Rosal (ie similar to Valminor). This is more in the tight, minerally acid expression of albariño that I have an ever so slight preference for.

A killer nose of kaffier lime, honey suckle, white peach and lemon rind.  In the mouth there is peach and lemon with zingy, minerally acid, musk and lime leaves. Kind of like a muscular ballerina: restrained and full of pleasure, lean and fine boned. Great summer drinking. 91 Pts

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $35 Closure: Synthetic Cork

Web: www.pazopondal.com

Niepoort ‘Redoma’ Brancho 2007

Niepoort Redoma 2007 BranchoNiepoort make some amazing red table wines, as well as some mind blowing ports, but I think it’s these Douro white wines that really show off Dirk Niepoort’s skills and that the Douro isn’t a hot region just for the production of  fortified wines. Its made from a a blend of Rabigato, Codega, Donzelinho, Viosinho and Arinto from 40 year old vines up on the top of part of the Douro valley. The thing that really sucks me in with this wine is its calm, subtle and fresh nature. You could almost swear it was a village white burgundy going by the texture, length and mouthfeel. There is also a Reserva version from 100 year vines that I will have to track down.

A really fresh and vibrant nose of peach, apple with a touch of apricot kiwi. The thing that gets me here is the sence of purity and freshness the radiates from the wine, confident but reserved. Perfect weight in the mouth.  The palate give up more white peach with some lanolin and lemon zest. A big long finish showing some minerally touches. This is excellent drinking now, looks like it would cellar as well. If you are going to look at only one Portuguese white this year, make this it. 92 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $55 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.niepoort-vinhos.com

Ramon Bilbao Viura 2007

ramon bilbao viura 2007One of the things I want to get my head around when I’m in Rioja next month is what is going on with white Rioja.There are a couple of modern versions, like this or Placet from Palacios Remondo, that really rock my boat.  Plus the traditional stuff like Lopez de Heredia’s Reservas and Gran Reservas, that are like nothing else on earth. Then there is Remulleri Blanco (It is a tasty blend of Vigonier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel, Marsanne and Roussane) which is something else altogether. I’m heading to all these places, so I should be able to get a good view of what is going on and where white Rioja is heading. Either that or I just get to drink some nice wines with friendly people.

The nose shows cedary oak with some crushed coriander seeds, pineapple and coconut with some lemon. Nicely textured and moving on to full bodied in the mouth, a long smokey finish. The palate shows more citrus fruit, lemons and limes, a little creamy. Clean and fresh with a bit of character. Stylish and highly enjoyable. Really tasty with some pan fried Flathead. 88 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $29 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.bodegasramonbilbao.es

Pazo Pondal ‘Leira’ Albariño 2007

Leira Albarino 2007A box of white wines turned up the other day, which would be perfect if we actually had some summer weather here in Melbourne. Pazo Pondal is not a producer I have seen before, they have this wine from Condardo de Tea which is more inland and swampy than the two sub regions that most of the Albariño we see comes from: O Rosal and Val do Salnés.  There is a little sticker saying Robert Parker 90 Points on the bottle, as usual I am a few points behind…

Very floral, sweet peach, white musk, some green herbs at times, a touch of lemon candy. Just the right texture, with a peach and pear combo, a touch of funky undergrowth and plenty of minerally acid. It lacks a little direction in the mouth, but pulls it all together for a focused finish. Quite a tidy wine from Condado de Tea. 87 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $29 Closure: Synthetic Cork

Web: www.pazopondal.com

Sybarus Tardana ‘Unico’ 2007

Sybarus Tardana 07This wine is from Utiel-Requena and its made from the Tardana grape. Never heard of it? The only reason I knew anything about this wine was a post over at Catavino late last year. Being new and unusual is a good thing in my book. There is a lot of promise shown here, but don’t bet on finding people importing vine cuttings just yet.

Utiel-Requena is a region inland from Valencia, up at about 300 meters above sea level. I don’t know much about the joint just yet, but they grow a couple of other things that I’ve never heard of called Merseguera and Planta Nova.

The nose smells almost exactly like a pine-lime splice: pineapple and lime with a creamy something mixed in there. A bit of peach pops up as it gets more air. Tight and focused with a light, oily texture and some steally acid. It sits in a happy place between zingy and oily. More  lemons than limes on the palate, a bit of cream and very slight toasted bread. Very suprising and very nice. This would be a great by the glass wine in a bar. 88 Pts.

Source: Outlandish Imports Price: $19 Closure: Synthetic Cork

Spanish Red 2005

Spanish Red 2005I’ve had a draft of this hanging around for ages, time it saw the light of day. I guess you’d call this a cleanskin, but this is one of those cleanskins that actually delivers well and truly above it’s price point.

Dusty and earthy with spice and a hint of undergrowth and cherry/plum liqueur on the nose. Round and easy drinking in the mouth. Plum and cherry with a bit of spice, tangy with good length. Medium bodied and savoury. Plenty of rustic, but refined character. It’s the kind of wine you find by the glass in a good local tapas bar on the south eastern coast of Spain.  and the price is excellent. 86 Pts.

Source: Ce Soir Imports Price: $9 Closure: Conventional Cork