Spanish red wine

Spanish Wine Review: Finca Zerberos Pizarra 2007

December 11, 2013

The Finca Zerberos Pizarra 2007 makes me very, very happy. It’s mineral, crisp, fruity, yet has complexity and some real depth. It has bite, yet it manages to to be pretty at the same time, and very food friendly. It’s everything I long for in a red wine and don’t get enough of. Whoever thinks of Grenache as a simple, soft wines has to try the wines of Daniel Ramos, his unique line of old-vine Garnachas. These wines hail from the Cebreros area of Avila province, just across the border from the San Martín area of Madrid, where you can find similar styles of old-vine Grenache. The Garnachas from this area are full of personality and are great value. They reflect a particular and surprising terroir and they are some of my favorite Spanish wines.

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Spanish Wine Review: Gaznata Finca Mariano 2010

October 6, 2013

Another video review of a great old-vine Garnacha wine. I can’t help but come back to old-vine Grenache, especially from the areas around Madrid. This Gaznata Finca Mariano 2010 is actually from just across the border of Madrid, in Avila province. It is from the cooperative of El Barraco and is made by Daniel Ramos, an Aussie-Spanish wine-maker who consults at the cooperative, but also makes awesome Grenache under his own Finca Zebreros label. The wines of this area and the Madrid zone of San Martín are sometimes called Garnachas de Gredos and they are some of my favorite Spanish wines! These are historic, beautiful vineyards, well worth a visit from Madrid, only 45 minutes away. The area and the wines deserve to be much better known. See the video for the full review and after the jump check out a couple of pictures of the beautiful vineyards.

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Spanish Wine Review (video): Amizade Mencía 2010

October 2, 2013

Another Spanish wine from one of my favorite grapes, Mencía. Wines from Mencía have a lot of personality but they are not always easy wines. Lately the NY Times had a somewhat disappointing tasting of Mencías from the Bierzo…they cited bitterness and lack of balance as negatives. I would have like to see the full list of the wines they tasted. Amizade 2010 is a collaboration between top Albariño producer Do Ferreiro and American wine importer De Maison Selections, and is from the northwestern appellation of Monterrei. I’ve already rated it’s sister white wine from Godello. The Mencía seems to be only available on the US market, not in Spain, and costs around 16-20$. For the full review see my video below.

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Spanish Video Wine review: Bovale Bobal 2011

September 22, 2013

Bobal is one of Spain’s most prolific vines yet it remains virtually unknown, especially compared to the neighboring grape variety Monastrell, which has seen a recent surge in popularity. Both of these grapes are from eastern Spain, an area known for an extreme Mediterranean climate. Bobal is uniquely suited for this, with its naturally high acidity, and makes some seriously original and delicious Spanish wines. Much harder to find than either Monastrell or Garnacha wines here in the US market, is worth seeking out. The wine today is Bovale 2011, a Bobal wine from the Utiel Requena region. Check out my video review. FYI: the bottle was hanging around and I was sipping now and then throughout the day, and this wine kept getting better!

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Taste the volcanoes in Canary wines: undiscovered Spanish wines

September 13, 2013
Spanish wines:  Taste the volcanic soils in Canary Island wines

Even in Spain, Canary Island wines are off the radar, except for a few Malvasía wines. Thanks to the marketing clout of Jose Pastor, who imports an impressive portfolio of Canary wines, I’ve seen more press here in the US than I’ve ever seen in Spain. Due to very limited quantities, finding these unique Spanish wines is challenging, but well worth the search. I recently went to a great tasting of the portfolio and I was surprised by the personality and character of the wines. They were also fresh and inviting to drink. It seems a bit cliche, but you really feel like you are tasting volcanic soils! I was very impressed and refreshed, and I’ll be seeking out more Canary wines on my next trip back to Spain.

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Spanish Wine Review: Montecastro 2008

September 5, 2013
Montecastro 2008:  Bold yet balanced Spanish wine from the Ribera del Duero region

One of the best parts of judging the Zarcillos 2013 was talking with lots of young Ribera del Duero winemakers. For years I’ve been put off by many Ribera wines; with their aggressive oak and extraction, they became my least favorite Spanish wines. They can be exhausting to drink. Despite this, there is no denying the style’s commercial success, it appeals to many wine drinkers. Talking to some of the younger new guard, I was excited to see some trends changing, a more moderate approach to oak, a lighter winemaking hand. It’s exciting to see the result of that new approach in the Montecastro 2008. This popular wine was never my cup of tea and though it remains distinctly Ribera, the “new” Montecastro, has an elegance and balance that makes it much more drinkable.

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Spanish Wine Review Video: Garnacha Salvaje 2010

August 14, 2013
Garnacha Salvaje 2010:  unique old-vine Spanish wine from the Ribera del Queiles area

From the same people behind Matsu, some of my favorite Spanish wines from Toro, we have the Proyecto Garnachas de España. A very original and personal selection of Garnachas from several regions, all very good value and beautifully labelled. These people understand marketing because the website is beautiful, filled with neat videos about the old-vine Grenache vineyards of Spain. But it’s not just a nice story and pretty packaging…the wines are quite nice, unique and very good value. The wine I taste in my video today is the Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayo 2010. Check out this link for a long, but very cool video about the abandoned vines this wine came from and check out my review below.

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Spanish Wine Review: Las Retamas del Regajal 2009

July 30, 2013
Las Retamas del Regajal 2009:  Spanish wine from the Madrid region

We were in Bar Amor in the Malasaña district of Madrid for my birthday dinner. It had been a full day of great food and wine…honestly it was a bit of a blur. Bar Amor has a short, but good wine list, with a nice selection of Spanish wines and local Madrid bottles. The Retamas 2009 caught my eye right away as it was on my hit list. It’s the little sister to the well known Madrid wine El Regajal, one of the wines that changed Madrid’s reputation in the wine world. The Retamas del Regajal, a Tempranillo blend, is a big, fruity and attractive wine at an amazing price. It was the perfect match with our delicious presa ibérica dish, an intensely flavored cut of ibérico pork. The dish and the wine both stood out from the enjoyable birthday haze.

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Spanish Wine Review: Peña Caballera Garnacha 2011

July 16, 2013
Peña Caballera 2011:  Great Spanish wine from the Madrid region

I was back in Madrid and my first Spanish wine had to be from Madrid region and a Garnacha. It was a bit of a risk as I was having a perfect steak experience at the Vaca Nostra restaurant and elegant, lean Madrid Grenache might not be everyone’s first choice. But I couldn’t resist the Peña Caballera, a top bottling from Bodega Marañones, especially at such a great price. What a joy to be back where wine markups, even in expensive restaurants, are so reasonable! The Grenache turned out to be a great match for both the steak tartare and the very special 4 month dry aged Galician steak. Great balance, freshness, and a good tannic structure were the perfect, subtle framework for the meats. So happy to be drinking some great Garnacha back in Madrid!

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Video Spanish Wine Review: Aragón Grenache

May 17, 2013
Spanish wine:  Evodia 2011 from Calatayud

Always on the lookout for a great Grenache! This Spanish wine is old-vine Garnacha made in the Calatayud area of Aragón for the US market. The Evodia 2011 has gotten rave reviews around the blogosphere and from critics, so wanted to give it a try!  

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