Remelluri Reserva 2004

img_5016One of the most memorable wine experiences I’ve had over the years was a bottle of Remelluri Reserva 1991 with a slowly roasted leg of kid (yes, baby milk fed goat, cabrito asado in Spanish) at Asador Alameda. Now these two are a match made in heaven, I’ve been chasing a similar experience here in Australia but I’m yet to have the same ah-ha moment. The plans for the wood fired oven are well underway, now I just need a good goat supplier. This discovery was back on my first trip to Rioja in 2005, its one of the many reasons I keep going back whenever I get a chance…

This 2004 is a cracker. While very primary at this stage, it has all the signs that this will have a long and full life ahead of it: balance, bucket loads of firm tannins, and spine of acid. The nose shows sour cherry and mulberry fruit, a little mocha coffee, pencil shavings, slight herbs and anise.  It was showing a bit blocky on the first night, but the second was much better: smooth and medium bodied with plenty of minerals on the finish. Putting some of this in the cellar will put a smile on your face in about 10 years. 93+ Pts.

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

Web: www.remelluri.com

Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage 2004

Niepoort LBV 2004I’ve been a bit all over the shop the last couple of weeks and things have been very quiet on the new release front. I’ve just got back from a conference on the Gold Coast (AusCERT, an IT Security thing, boring for the most part) just in time for it to bucket down and flood the place. I did however get a good meal in at The Rice Paddy, a Vietnamese joint on the main strip of Surfers that delivers  with some top class duck. Most of the importers all seem to be landing all of their new stuff over the next couple of weeks, so there should be plenty to look at.
Things are looking up a bit for imported wine at the moment, the exchange rate has improved and the frequency of shipping to Australia from southern Europe is getting back to normal. None of the rumoured tax changes were delivered in the federal budget however…
Anyway, I took a few bottles with me up to the Gold Coast, this little 375ml of LBV port was very handy. The nose opens up with red cherries, blueberry, violets, dusty rocks, coffee and a bit of spice. Warm and open in the mouth, there is a bit of grip to it with mild sweetness and some cleansing acid. Far from cloying, there are some interesting savoury elements that make this the perfect partner for fuller flavoured blue cheese. Perfect for cold rainy nights in the tropics. 88+ Pts

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $35 (375ml) Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.niepoort-vinhos.com

Capçanes ‘Cabrida’ 2005

img_4944We dropped into a friends place on Sunday night with a few bits and pieces for a tapas style dinner. I rarely get a chance to cook things like croquetas these day, so it was good to get back into the kitchen and make a mess (I am very messy in the kitchen). You can also see a couple of stubbies of Sidra, Spanish cider,  in the basket. I love this stuff, its a very adult drink, tasting of slightly musty old apples.  If you see it on a drinks menu, give it a shot.

On to the wine. Cabrida is from old vine Garnarcha in Monsant, each vine only gives up about half a kilo of fruit leading to a very concentrated and rich wine. New french oak for 14 months, then into bottle. I had thought that the picture on the bottle was of kangaroos and wondered what that was all about. But they are actually mountain goats…

A rich nose, full of sweet fruit notes: raspberry and bright red cherry, followed by hot rocks, rose and old black tea, earthy spices and a little herb.  Highly concentrated with sweet fruit on the mid palate with a savoury finish showing minerals, tangy fruit and a touch of spice. A thrilling ride, that is a little more fruit forward that the Santa Cruz de Artazu, but shows all the characters of an excellent garnarcha. 93 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Cost: $140 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.cellercapcanes.com

Santa Cruz de Artazu 2006

I’ve had a look at this wine a couple of times now, both in Spain and here, and I’d have to rate it as one of my favorite of the year. It’s a bit of a hedonistic wine, very seductive and enjoyable, even quite sexy. If you’ve had a look at Artadi’s Vinas de Gain or Pagos Viejos, you’ll find a family resemblance (this is Artadi’s venture in Navarra). This is really compelling garnarcha from Navarra, and to be honest I haven’t seen any this convincing from that region before.

I had the Movida book out to make a tortilla de bacalao (a ‘Spanish omlette’ made with salt cod rather than potatoes). It worked out OK, very tasty but my presentation needs some work. Its a great book, I think it is almost my most used Spanish cookbook now…

The nose is like a layered tiramisu with a fruit filling: vanilla, espresso coffee, chocolate, raspberry, cherry, violets, roses and cold tea. It’s the kind of thing that I could sit and just smell all day, it’s open and inviting, a bit sunny but earthy at the same time. In the mouth its lush and textured with smooth tannins. The acid seemed to take a back seat at first, however give it a few minutes and the acid appears to show excellent balance. To me, this is a wine that is built for food, pork specifically. Excellent stuff. 94+ Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $100 Closure: Conventional Cork

Bodegas Pirineos Mesache Blanco 2007

img_4917To be honest, I was a bit dubious about this one. A blend of late harvested Macabeo with some Chardonnay & Gewurztraminer doesn’t usually get my juices flowing, and while this isn’t going to spur on a wild planting spree of Macabeo around the world, its a good drink. As a side note, this wine uses Normacork to seal the bottle. This is the only synthetic cork that I’ve seen so far that works well and looks somewhat normal. It doesn’t get stuck on the corkscrew either…

The nose is rich and full of lemon, melon and pear with freshly toasted spices. It has an odd sweet and sour thing going on in the mouth, acid cutting through oily texture. I’m a real sucker for these wines were texture and mouthfeel are emphasised, and this provides plenty to enjoy. More tart lemon with sweet melon in the mouth, a bit of herby gear and something a bit minerally to the acid. I’m sure plenty of people will hate this, it is a bit odd, but I quite like. An excellent match to some pan fried chili chicken. 87 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $18 Closure: NormaCork

Web: www.bodegapirineos.com