This week we are excited to be joined by Patrick Mata, co-owner of Ole Imports and long-time friend of Spirits. Patrick is a Spaniard who, along with his friend and business partner Alberto Orte, started Ole in 1999 with three wines. Their exceptional Spanish portfolio has grown to represent more than 100 wines today.
Ole Imports is a unique importing company that specializes in wine from Spain that “share[s] four fundamental elements; terroir, quality fruit, exceptional winemaking and last but not least, wines that present excellent value”. They represent wineries that make their wines in a traditional, varietally- and regionally-correct manner, and work with winemakers who are quality-driven and passionate about their craft.
We have a huge map of Spain and it’s wine regions that was given to us several years ago by Patrick Mata (hanging on the wall in our office). The map was designed and created by Patrick and his partner Alberto Orte with the help of “Tratado de Viticultura General” by Luis Hidalgo. They divide Spain into 10 Climatic zones; these areas share similar soil type and weather patterns. Click here to view the map; please note that the “zones” listed next to the wine’s regions below (tasting notes) are in reference to this map. Please feel free to check out the map in our office when you are at the tasting this Thursday.
I also encourage you to visit their incredibly detailed website, oleimports.com, which is one of the best I’ve seen (and believe me, I look at a lot of wine websites!); it features specifics about their producers, regions, wines, philosophy, and unbelievably beautiful photos of vineyards, wineries, gnarled vines, winemakers, and bottle shots (I’ve included a few pictures at the bottom of this page).
The wines for the tasting include two whites and four reds priced between $10.99-$13.99, however we have some special higher-end wines (Ole) that we plan to open too!
This week’s tasting is going to be very special, informative, and educational; we hope you will join us and welcome Patrick to Alabama (by the way, Patrick told me that he loves to visit Tuscaloosa because it reminds him of Malaga in southern Spain)!
All technical data and tasting notes are taken from the Ole website. The specific wines for the tasting are:
Ladera Sagrada Papa Godello 2010– Valdeorras DO (northwest Spain, Zone 1). The vineyards are located in the autonomous region of Galicia, in far northwestern ‘Celtic’ Spain, within the Valdeorras DO. Vineyards are in the mountain town of Larouco, at 533 meters (1,749 ft.) elevation. Lower yields result in more concentrated grapes providing more intense aromas and flavors in the wines. 100% Godello. The vines were planted in 1981 and are dry farmed (no irrigation). The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel tank without malolactic fermentation. Papa, spicy scents of citrus peel, green apple and anise, with a salty mineral overlay. Fresh and taut, with the wine’s minerality dominating fresh apple and pear fruit and notes of fresh herbs adding complexity Exceptionally concentrated and focused. Finishes brisk and persistent. This fresh, mineral-inflected Godello will pair well with swordfish sautéed in butter and wild herbs, grilled or pan-fried sweet veal or pork sausage, and a host of casual foods like tapas, pasta with white clam sauce or fried oyster sandwiches. 2,500 cases are made; 1,500 for the U.S. Tasting $13.99 (88 Wine Advocate)
Bodegas Hermanos del Villar Oro de Castilla Verdejo 2010– Reuda DO (northwest Spain, Zone 2). The vineyards are located in the town of Rueda within the Rueda DO (Zone 2) in northwestern Spain, southwest of Ribera del Duero. At 719 meters (2,359 ft.) elevation, the bodega’s vineyards have a unique soil profile distinct from other vineyards in the region. The soil is poor in organic matter and encourages low vigor and low yields, both of which result in grapes with superior aroma and flavor intensity. 100% Verdejo. After fermentation, there is no malolactic fermentation in order to retain the wine’s fresh acidity. The wine is aged in stainless steel tank for 3 months, with daily stirring of the lees (batonnage) to enhance the texture and mouthfeel of the wine. After aging, the wine is filtered and bottled. Oro de Castilla is light, bright gold colored. High-pitched aromas of lime pith, grapefruit, ginger and fresh herbs. Lively and precise on the palate, offering tangy citrus flavors and a strong overlay of dusty minerals. Finishes with excellent clarity and spicy cut, echoing the lime note. A great pair would be sockeye salmon, Mahi Mahi or flounder simply pan fried in a beurre blanc, or plank roasted. Salads with grilled chicken, asparagus or toasted almonds would also pair well, as well as soft, ripe cheeses. 10,000 cases are made; 6,000 for the U.S. Tasting $13.99 (88 Wine Advocate)
Bodegas La Cartuja Priorat 2010– Priorat DOC (northeast Spain, Zone 5). The vineyards are located in a 24-hectare (59 acre) estate named La Solana (‘Les Solanes’ in Catalan) within the heart of Priorat. The La Solana vineyard sits at 250 meters (820 feet) elevation with slopes that have a southeast exposure. 50% Garnacha, 30% Mazuelo (aka Carignan), 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah. The wine is aged for 6 months, half in 225-liter and half in 300-liter French oak barrels. La Cartuja, offers up a reticent nose of graphite, spice box, underbrush, lavender, black cherry, and plum. This leads to a plush, sweetly fruited, concentrated, mouth-filling wine for drinking over the next 5-6 years. This wine has enough “stuffing” and structure to pair well with BBQ beef brisket or pork, grilled Argentine beef with chimichurri sauce, and mesquite grilled or smoked baby back pork ribs. It also has a freshness and spice character that is a good match for Cuban roast chicken, pork with Latin spices and cracked pepper turkey. 3,000 cases are made; 1,350 for the U.S. Tasting $13.99
Celler Vinos Pinol Ludovicus Red 2010– Terra Alta (northeast Spain, Zone 5).The vineyards are located a few miles south and west of Priorat, within the Terra Alta DO (Zone 5) in Catalunya’s Tarragona province in northeastern Spain. The winery and vineyards are in the town of Batea, situated at 356 meters (1,168 ft.) elevation. 40% Garnacha, 15% Tempranillo, 15% Cariñena, 20% Syrah and 10% Merlot. The wine is aged for 3-4 months in 300-liter French and American oak barrels. Ludovicus offers a glass-coating deep crimson hue with an expressive nose of cherry, blueberry, and blackberry. Mouthfilling, succulent, and flavorful, this tasty effort is a sensational value for drinking over the next 1-2 years. This ripe, juicy, vibrantly big-fruited red wine is a real crowd pleaser, and Ludovicus’s easy drinking nature makes it a versatile wine, either with meat and pork main courses or with more casual tapas or small plates. Of course, this wine is also a great sipper on its own. 9,000 cases are made; 7,000 for the U.S. Tasting $10.99 (87 Wine Advocate)
Vinos Sin Ley Garnacha 2010– Madrid DO (central Spain; Zone 7). The vineyards are located in Zone 7, in the high elevation district of San Martin de Valdeiglesias at 870 meters (2,850 ft.) elevation. For climate, the area’s high elevation of 870 meters makes it the most extreme climate in the region. Garnacha 100% (from vines planted in 1890). The wine is aged in stainless steel tank. Sourced from 120-year-old vines in the new Madrid D.O. Aromas of violets, lilies, red berries and graphite. Massive, great structure with beautiful bracing acidity. Delicate and firm. Electric and nervy. On the plate flavors of red licorice, luscious fruit, bright lingering tannins. Blueberries and violets. This is not a jammy, overripe, sweet, alcoholic Garnacha like those from other areas of Spain. It has beautiful fruit, acidity and balance that its easy-to-drink, juicy character will pair with a variety of red and white meats, and it will also pair well with burgers, burritos, empanadas, Panini sandwiches and other casual foods you’re likely to find at the beach or on the deck. 3,100 cases are made; 2,000 for the U.S. Tasting $12.99
Vinos Sin Ley Monastrell 2010– Yecla DO (southeast Spain; Zone 8). The vineyards are within the Yecla DO (Zone 8), within Murcia in southeastern Spain. The vineyards are in the Campo Arriba district of Yecla, at 713 meters (2,339 ft.) elevation. 100% Monastrell (aka Mourvedre). Malolactic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation, the wine is aged for 3 months in French oak barrels, 2 years old. VSL Monastrell exhibits racy blueberry and blackberry aromas with a hint of cedar. On the palate, the succulent and rich character is remarkable for a wine at this price point. Its finish is smooth, lengthy, and filled with tasty black fruits. This great value over-delivers in a big way. This wine has such a ripe, red berry, floral and spice character, with succulent and juicy flavors, it will pair with a wide range of cuisines and foods. VSL Monastrell’s sweet fruit is well balanced and its acidity will help it pair well with Asian, Indian, Cajun and southwestern Tex-Mex spices. 2,100 cases are made; 1,350 for the U.S. Tasting $12.99 (87 Wine Advocate)