From the fairly classic, but low yielding 2007 vintage comes this funky bottle of Albarino. I do like the packaging on this stuff, very old school but some how appealing. I always seem to come to the late in the game, the 2008 should almost be here by now. The amber bottling is from the first free run juice, there is also the green bottle which I think includes a bit of pressings…but I’m not sure if its imported these days.
The standard white peach, jasmine and honeysuckle, crisp pear nose of albarino is in full force here, a touch of talc to go with it. Taught and lean in the mouth, acid behind the fruit driving it along. Plenty of crisp green pear on the palate, mixed up with a bit of lemon and lime rind and sprinkling of rocky minerals. A long finish that shows of that minerally acid and a hint of apricot that I always seem to find in this wine. Good drinkin’. 90 Pts.
Source: Rathdowne Cellars Price: $38 Closure: Conventional Cork
Other Vintages: 2005
This is another wine that shows the differences between the 2004 and 2005 vintages in Rioja. Both are great vintages in my book, but they are so for very different reasons. 2004 is a very long lived vintage, but it isn’t really giving a lot of joy at the moment. Its full of promises, but those bottles will have to survive the late night, drunken cellar raids and ‘I just want to see how it’s travelling’ trials. The 05 on the other hand is just a joy to smell and drink at the moment, but it has a long and full life ahead of it too.
Now I liked the minerally bite of the 04 version of this wine, but the lovely perfume coming off this 05 is magic stuff. Treading the fine line between traditional and modern Rioja, this is very much in the savoury camp, yet full of ripe fruit aromas, violets and roses, a little mocha coffee, and a handful wild herbs. Very appealing on the nose, and this continues in the mouth, firm but ripe tannins, a long lingering finish, and plenty of acid to keep the balance. Slightly sour on the palate, good notes of cherry, a little cola, sage and undergrowth and a little chocolate and spice. A pleasure to drink now, this will only improve over the next 3-5 years and drink for 10 years after that. Very compelling stuff. 93+ Pts.
Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $60 Closure: Conventional Cork
Other Vintages: 2003, 2004
Now that the academic year is over (well for me anyway), posts should be a bit more regular. And what better way to kick things back in to gear than a bottle of Alion. As is usual with this wine, its a hard beast to tame when it’s young. Decanting helps but really this needs at least 5 year in the cellar to really start showing what its made of. This bottle was showing loads of oak initially, and then closed up with a wall of tannins, which is fairly typical for the vintage. I’ve had a couple of bottles of this in the past year, and they have all been a little different, but all pointing towards a great, long term wine.
The noses starts of with lovely black cherry and blackberry fruit, a touch of blueberry and raspberry at times to. Then comes the oak, in all manner of styles: chocolate, espresso, caramel, fresh wood shavings and a touch of vanilla. Dense and brooding in the glass, the colour is very dark and the palate is tight and linear. Plenty to like on the palate, fresh and juicy fruit, bloody meat, iron filings/mineral notes, and a bit of fresh cut wood. Its just a wee pup at the moment, it needs time to evolve, but it is a classic Alion and reminds me a lot of the 1996. Cellar for 5 years, then drink over the following 15. 94+ Pts
Source: Boccaccio Cellars Price: $115 Closure: Conventional Cork
Other Vintages: 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003