June 30, 2019

A lovely line up of Spanish Whites & Reds!

2013 Terroir al Límit Soc. Lda., Priorat, Terra de Cuques (RT 93) This beautifully unique white is blended from Pedro Ximénez & Muscat d’Alexandria layed in whole cluster using native yeasts with spontaneous fermentation. It is aged for 12-16 months in concrete vat. It reveals a deeply honey golden hue with a relatively brooding aromatic profile showing notes of ripe Meyer lemon, honied jasmine, yellow stone fruits and chamomile. The mouthfeel is rich, round and quite broad-shouldered with ample fruit, soft acidity and very faint tannin. A very pretty white that steps outside expected boundaries showing a very unique style. I find this highly attractive and alluring with ample charm. Drink now-2023+

2016 Raúl Pérez, Bierzo, La Vizcaína de Vinos, La Vitoriana (RT 93+) La Vizcaína is a newer project that is sourced from the hillside vineyards near Pérez’ hometown of Vatuille de Abajo. The vines for this project are all over 50 years old. Though the red wines for this project are labelled 100% Mencía, they in fact contain a significant quantity of other local varieties. This wine is crafted with whole cluster fermentation of 60-90 days in large oak casks and is then aged for a year in used barrique and tonneaux. Showing a very young, purplish ruby hue it wafts up notes of deep, dark stone fruits, black berry, gun smoke and violets. It shows lovely balance in the mouthfeel, with ripe delicious fruit, fresh acidity and soft ripe tannin that will integrate wonderfully with a few years in the cellar. Drink 2020-2032+

2010 Bodegas Mas Alta, Priorat, La Basseta (RT 92) From 100% Grenache aged in French oak casks which were 60% new and 40% older casks. Aged for 16 months. Even after eight years of age this wine still shows its modernist roots with a decided toasted oak note on the bouquet. But the mouthfeel is beautiful, soft and caressing. Notes of dark dried strawberry, garrigue, rosemary and leather establish the core of the bouquet. Oak continues to show through, I had hoped by now it would have integrated more cleanly. The palate is clean and polished, showing delicious fruit, bright acidity and a soft, long tannic finish. Clearly a modernist expression of the Priorat appellation, this has the stuffing to last another 10-15+ years and eventually the oak will fade into a less present state. Drink now-2030+

The meticulous bush vine vineyards at Remirez de Ganuza!

2001 Remírez de Ganuza, Rioja, Old Vines (RT 96) From one of the modernist masters of Rioja comes this wonderful Old Vine Tempranillo. In a word this winery is as meticulous as any in the business! The most minute detail is addressed and fine-tuned, which shows in every aspect of the wines. Hand-picking and manual selection from vineyards over 60 years old, then a second selection of grapes on tables separating shoulders from tips and finally destemmed the shoulders. Berry by berry! Fermented in stainless, then aged 22+ months (Gran Reserva level aging) in 80% French and 20% American oak. This wine has the capability of showing well for 30-40+ years. As it approaches 18 years of age its youthful edges have softened and rounded out, its hue a faded deep ruby-garnet. The bouquet reveals tranquility in spades as notes of dried cherry, sous bois, wet gravel and notes of dried herbs and rosemary rise from the glass. The mouthfeel is gloriously balanced showing the finesse and elegance of a world class wine with silky fruit, soft acidity and wonderfully integrated mellifluous tannin. Awesome stuff, buy it, cellar it, savor it! Drink now-2036+

June 23, 2019

A Pair of Gems from Bodegas Pinea del Duero

2015 “17” by Pinea, Ribera del Duero (RT 92+) From a new Ribero del Duero winery, 17 is 100% Tempranillo aged for 20 months in a combination of new French and American oak. Fermentation is spontaneous with native yeasts and approximately 1,000 cases are produced. The house style is polished and modern revealing beautiful ripe fruit, excellent finesse and firm structure. Showing a dark ruby hue, notes of plum, blackberry, cocoa powder and wet stone emerge. With time in the glass hints of minerality and a splash of oak show up. The palate is well balanced with ripe fruit, excellent acidity and ripe tannin that brings the wine to a lovely conclusion. This is a great candidate for mid-term cellaring and should blossom over the next 3-5 years. Drink 2020-2030

2014 Pinea, Ribero del Duero (RT 94+) The flagship wine of Pinea del Duero, this 100% Tempranillo is crafted from 30-year-old vines and allowed to undergo spontaneous fermentation from indigenous yeasts. The grapes are sorted by hand using only the best bunches and the wine is aged in a combination of French oak foudre with some of the juice aged in new French oak barrels, depending on vintage. Total aging is 30 months. More deeply hued than its “17” brethren, here the depth and dimension are ramped up showing an alluring bouquet of black cherrys, blackberries, currants and mentholated ripe plums. The brooding nose opens with time showing a charismatic character of great personality and elegance. The oak is neatly integrated yet defines the style. The mouthfeel is wonderful with bright fruit, vibrant acidity, and a firm finish built on ripe tannin that brings things to nice closure. This is a wine built for aging and perfect for long term cellaring. It should drink well for coming decades. Drink 2024-2040+