I haven’t been drinking a lot of manzanilla lately, I had a couple of glasses on the beach at San Sebastian a month or so ago but that’s been it. Quite shameful really, it’s such a joyous drink. So I was very happy to see this little half bottle in a box of gear from Negociants a couple of weeks ago.
A super quick note today. This is the young vines wine from these guys, Garnarcha and Carineña planted in 1998. Surprisingly, this had huge amounts of sediment, so do decant just to get rid of the muck or be very careful pouring it.
These Torres wines are difficult for me to review for a couple of reasons, but mainly due to the fact that they are quite good, enjoyable wines, but they aren’t very Spanish. It was quite trendy in the late 70s and early 80s to plant things likeCabernet and chardonnay in your vineyard to try and sell to the mass market. There are still plenty of companies that make good money doing this, and it serves a purpose (making money for the shareholders seems to be the main one, but I have nothing against that). Personally I would rather see a garnarcha blend that reeks of Spain (such as Sangre de Toro, which really is Torres’s best wine for me)…
Every where I go at the moment I see bottles of Flor de Pingus 2005 for sale or on the wine list. This is a good thing, but I rarely have the couple of hundred dollars required to pick up a bottle in a restaurant. One of the many things I love about Spain is the low markups on wine in restaurants, it is often the same price as retail, sometimes even cheaper. Plus many will let you buy bottles off the list to take home. Very civilised.
I’ve been watching Spain…on the Road Againover the weekend (it’s on foxtel at the moment). Its a very annoying show, the gang go to these great locations and amazing restaurants, but all they seem to show is shots of the girls in convertible Mercs and mind numbingly boring conversation between Gwyneth Paltrow and Mario Batali. I’m obviously not the target audience, but the episode on Gallicia is well done and gives a good sense of the food and wine of Rias Biaxas. Worth a look if you are interesting in doing a wine and food pilgrimage to Spain…
On my first trip to Rioja, I was given some great advice: ‘There are plenty of good places to eat in La Rioja, but there is only one place that you musteat during a trip here and that is the tapas street of Calle Laurel in the old town of Logroño.’ There are tapas streets in other towns: Haro has it’s ‘Horseshoe’ area and there are good little bars in most towns and villages, but they don’t come close to Calle Laurel.
Estio is the entry level range from La Purisima, who also make Trapio. There is a red, a white and a rose in the line up, all under $20 at retail. I think you really get your money’s worth with these wines, I quite like this tinto, but I think the pick of the bunch is the rosado.
Its good to see some Torres gear still hitting the shelves, they seem to have been forgotten in many parts and relegated to the bargain bin. Torres tend to use a high proportion of ‘international’ varieties such as Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, while I am not too keen on this I do think that many of their wines are good drinking and good value. I have a couple of their wines in at the moment, including their new Priorat venture.
A quick note on what is a great little wine. It has some new funky, young and fun packaging and is secured under a screwcap. What more could you want? Mostly garnarcha with a splash of syrah for something different. 4 months in American oak too. These wines are very consistent from vintage to vintage, which is a great attribute in a house wine.
So this is a little number from the guys at Bodegas Mauro, a bit further west and south in Toro. They make two wines here, this wine as well as a top end wine San Roman. Prima means a female cousin in Spanish, so I’m assuming they lads thought that Toro is more of a cousin than a sister region to Ribera del Duero. Anyway, the wine is mostly Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo) with a dollop of Garnarcha. Its aged in a mix of French and American oak for 11 months.