Archive for the ‘ Spain ’ Category

Vecordia 2009 Ribera del Duero Roble

I am super amped to have the second bottle from my recent buying spree be something actually worth writing about.  I don’t normally go for bottles with a kitsch label like this, but the price was right and something about it told me to buy it. Possibly it was the lack of a back label with a panty-dropping description of how the oak and tannins were going to rock my world and that my mouth would explode with toasty peppermint and chocolate and gumdrop apple beans. I don’t know what that is supposed to mean, but I’m going to roll with it. So yeah. None of that. No real description of how it is supposed to taste.

Sexy little Tempernillo

The first thing you’ll notice about this wine is the violet color around the edges, and the luscious deep red of the body. Right away I was pretty stoked to suck on this wine.  Without letting the wine sit for too long, I gave the wine a thorough sniff, which revealed some tart and spicy notes.  There is a lot more structure to the nose of this than the Sangiovese from earlier this week. The initial nose is a little hot, as well.

So, let’s take a minute to discuss this Vecordia.  This is a Tempernillo grape aged in oak. The “Roble” on the bottle is Spanish for “Oak”.  The term Roble is also used to indicate that the wine has not been left to age in the oak for long enough to attain the “Crianza” label, or minimum 6 month oak aging (with 18 month bottle aging). Ribera del Duero, a DO region in northern Spain, is known for producing some excellent Tempernillo wines. Notable wineries include Vega Sicilia, Emilio Moro, and Cepa 21. The terroir consists mainly of silt and clay sand, layered with chalk, marl — a lime-rich mud — and limestone.

Boom. Now that you skipped that paragraph, I’m ready to taste this bad boy. Swish, swirl, aerate… And we have a winner! The tannic structure is good, even without letting the wine breathe (though I recommend you do let it breathe for about 10 minutes). These initial notes are tart blueberry, spice, and pepper. This wine is definitely medium-bodied with a great mouthfeel. The finish was lingering and tannic with a bit of fruit.

After it spent some time opening up, the harsh initial nose disappeared to leave a thick, sweet cherry smell (NOT overwhelming).  This note rang true in the taste, as well, with currant and blackberry coming through to accompany the sweet cherry.

I really liked this wine. Overall it’s well-structured and has the proper mixture of sweet red fruits and tannin-y goodness. I’d give it a solid 88-89.

Extra reading:

Interpreting the Spanish Wine Label

 Wikipedia entry on Ribera del Duero

One Rioja to Rule Them All

Well folks, it’s that time again.

It’s September, and Burritt’s is having its annual wine sale which means there are scores of great wines to be had and prices that even lowly college students with meager living accommodations can afford. This month’s wine to be?

The gold standard Rioja this side of the atlantic.

2007 Muga Rioja

Tempranillo and Garnacha have never been so good.

As you may well expect, this producer, being one of the more notable Rioja producers one can find in northern Michigan, has the ability to create consistently great Rioja year after year. Unofficially labeled as “the Bordeaux of Spain” Rioja does have a long-rooted (pun intended) history in the production of great red wine, including somewhat secretly (and scandalously) selling their wines to the French when it was a bad season up north. Curiously, most of the wines purchased by the French to blend into their less-superior grapes were Bordeaux.

It is precisely this reason why Rioja gets this notorious designation, and after you have your first glass, you can absolutely see why.

Deep red color, but no hints of any blue around the edges. The nose was initially very hot and loaded with cassis and inky blackberry, but after letting it settle down a bit in the glass, it had a chance to give off a slight hint of some kind of earth. Upon tasting, the tannins were very pronounced at first, but then settled down quickly and dissolved into the silky feel that continued all the way to the finish. Wine in mouth, it became easy to see those wonderful qualities of cedar and smoke which we’re all hoping to find in our structured red wines. The comparison to a Bordeaux  starts to make sense as the wine makes its way down, but with one very prominent distinction; the fruit in this wine is clearly of great importance to its producers, as the blackcurrant and blackberry stick with you all throughout the drinking experience, whereas with many Bordeaux, the fruit shies away before the finish, leaving you feeling like someone left a tongue depressor in your mouth.

After a few sips, (which eventually turned into joyful gulps) small little marks around my glass proved exactly what the tasting had shown; lots of extract and a lingering finish. It seems this wine is destined to impart flavor wherever it touches, even if that’s only touching the rim of your glass.

That’s all for today, hopefully sometime soon I will make my way back to Burritt’s to score a nice Napa cab, or a Russian River Valley pinot.

New Year–Toss out recap

So it’s been about a year since I’ve moved into my apartment, and my roommate and I were doing some spring cleaning last week. I have a penchant for saving my favorite bottles of wine, and I decided to clear them out for a new year.  These were my favorite selections from last year:

Some of these wines have been blogged about, but those that haven’t will get a bit of mention here.  First: the Groth 2007 was shit. And it won’t ever be anything but shit.  There’s no hint of complexity.  It’s easy to drink, and you can fool your unfamiliar friends with it, but you may as well add jello mix to some Mondavi and sell it as the same product.

Standouts: Whitehaven (any vintage, really… 2007, 2008, 2009 have all been fantastic), both of the Chateauneufs were fantastically complex and savory, the 2005 Grand Traverse was out of control and so expressive that there aren’t words to describe it.  The Sauternes was great, as far as young ones are concerned. The Cab Franc was titillating. Stags’ Leap was as expected: bold, full, and a complex enough to please a daily palette–the Stag’s Artemis, while on the subject, is also worth the dough.

Mediocre: The Muga and Jordan were not up to par. Perhaps more time was required. The Barbaresco was not worth the $35 that it was.  At best, $20. I think 85-87.

The surprise of the batch was the Davis Bynum.  For the price point, it’s 100% worth it. 90-91? I remember that being a standout.