To be honest, this is very similar to the 2007 that I reviewed last year. Consistently good quality and well priced wines are always good in my book. Sure, it’s not the most exciting thing to drink, but for 14 bucks I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better wine to go with those Tuesday night lamb chops…
A busy week at work last week, perfectly capped off by seeing Blues Explosion at the Espy on Friday night. Great to see these guys in a small venue. Anyway, on to the wine. This wine really stood out at the TempraNeo tasting last year (along with the Mayford), and the thing that attracts me to this wine is that it has personality. Sure, there is a nod to Spain, but this shows firmly individual and unique characters that could only be Mount Majura Tempranillo. This is what we should be doing with Tempranillo in Australia.
I have a bunch of notes for samples that importers have sent in over the past 6 months. Poor form on my part for not writing these up soon, but they’ll all be up over the next couple of weeks…To be honest, I don’t know a hell of a lot about this wine and it’s story. It is one of the most popular and written about Albariños around however, and a bloody good drink.
It’s always good to start the year off with an exceptional wine, and this 2005 Alion fit the bill nicely. I had a look at the 2004 and 2005 Alion at the Vega Sicilia road show in March 2009, and at the time I thought the 2004 had a slight edge over the 2005. But it’s irrelevant really, Alion is a fantastic wine even in poor vintages, which 2005 certainly was not. It ages like a champ, gaining complexity and finesse, but can be enjoyed young with a bit of breathing time.
Last year was a write off in terms of blog postings, but it’s almost the new year and time to get back on the horse…I had hoped to see this wine in tank when I was in La Rioja in Feb last year, but alas the snow and conflicting schedules got in the way. Now it’s in bottle and here in Australia, I’ve a very happy boy indeed
Calo 2008A cheaky little joven Tempranillo from Rioja Alavesa. While tempranillo is generally a fairly tannic grape, the wines from the most elevated, northerly regions tend to be a little more tannic. A good thing in my book. I’m not going to bang on about this one, enjoyable and good value….
There is a great little vinoteca in San Sebastian called Solbes (Calle de Aldamar, 4, just accross the road from the Bretxia market. A full range of smallgoods and cheeses from all over Spain and France, great olive oil, great preserved produce and all kinds of cider, beer, spirits and wine. A well selected range inexpensive wines and a room full of the best stuff from Spain and Portugal with a smattering of France and Italy. All at very reasonable prices. Whenever I’m in Spain, I try to get here and stock up on whatever takes my fancy. Like a bottle of Mauro 2006. I bought this one at Boccaccio tho…I’ve had a couple of bottles of the 2004 lately, it’s really on song at the moment.
I’m in a real Ribera del Duero kind of mood of late, maybe to balance out the 05 Rioja I’ve been hoarding, whatever the reason Ribera and Italians have been getting high rotation on the tasting bench. I’ve had a look at this wine a couple of times now, and to be honest it was underwhelming on first taste, tasting a bit like Bordeaux from a cold, wet vintage (i.e. dilute and green with chunky tannins). Oh dear not good. Right time for a another bottle at home with some ribeye…
When I first started buying Spanish wine it was very much like having some kind of collector’s fetish. Hunt around for the wines, hear something about a new import and spend weeks trying to find out where to get it Word of mouth was king. These day’s I’m almost falling over Spanish wines in booze shops, bars and restaurants, you can read about them in local papers and plenty of blogs and I have even heard people talking about Rioja on the train once. Things have definitely moved on. One big change has been in the supermarket chains. You can now find a decent range of wines from all over Spain (and Portugal too) in both Vintage Cellars and Dan Murhpy’s stores. The old token range of big house swill is mostly gone and you can find some quality wines at reasonable prices. And they have gone to some length to get it right: they’ve hired some very smart and experienced chaps to find the wines, either through established importers (as this wine is) or importing them direct. Of course, the supermarkets haven’t been the kindest to many wine brands over the years and there is still a big gap between the good independant retailers and the chain stores in terms of service and range (and price in many cases), but that’s not the point. The point is this: most Spanish and Portuguese wine is sold in restaurants and bars in Australia. What this does do is to bring these wines out of the wine geek’s realm and more into the mainstream wine drinker’s. This can only be a good thing.
After a fairly indulgent Christmas/New year period and start of a new year, I usually think it’s time for a couple of weeks of detox. Well not detox really, just a couple of weeks to a month of not drinking. Given I’ve got almost a month of eating and drinking in Spain coming up in a couple of weeks, it seems like the wise thing to do. So it will continue to be fairly quiet here at Tinto y Blanco for a couple of weeks…