Spain and Portugal
This Thursday we will sample four reds from Spain and two Ports. The Spanish selections are imported byGrapes of Spain, while the Ports are imported by Martine’s Wines and William-Harrison Imports.
Bodegas San Pedro Apostol Campellares Rioja Crianza 2011– Rioja, Spain. 100% Tempranillo. “This wine is sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age. Traditional production methods are used; de-stemming and lightly crushing the fruit, followed by 3-5 days of pre-fermentation maceration. Fermented in stainless steel tanks at moderate rather than high temperatures looking for more finesse in the tannin structure of the finished wine. After pressing malolactic fermentation takes place in stainless steel as well, followed by aging in tanks for a few months prior to bottling.” “The winery is based in the town of Huercanos, Rioja Alta and was established in 1962. The majority, 90%, of the winery’s plantings are to Tempranillo.” $11.99
D’Este Vino El Molet 2009– Valencia, Spain. 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. “There was a 2 week gap between harvesting Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauviginon. The grapes were fermented separately in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks with periodic pump over. There is no press wine used in the final blend of the wine as Joaquin seeks to gain all of the structure and character of fruit he needs during fermentation. After malolactic fermentation in stainless steel the wine is racked to barrel and aged for 6 months prior to being bottled unfiltered.” “Floral aromas of blackberry, tobacco, licorice and dark chocolate. Suave on entry, then firmer in the middle, with an edge of acidity to the dark berry, bitter cherry and mocha flavors. Slightly dry tannins add grip to the spicy, focused finish.” “D’Este Vino is a joint project between winemaker, Joaquin Galvez and importer, Aurelio Cabestrero. The goal of the project is to create exceptional quality wines which represent exceptional value to consumers. The first wine created by the project is from Valencia and takes advantage Joaquin’s expertise in vineyard management to produce a wonderfully silky, easy to drink and yet profound and deep wine; Molinet. Joaquin oversees the growing and harvest of the grapes, selecting only the best lots for the project.” $14.99
Isaac Fernandez Finca la Mata 2010– Ribera del Duero, Spain. 100% Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo). “Produced from 100% Tinta del Pais from two different vineyards with an average age of 60 years old. Production methods are very similar as for the Rios de Tinta with hand harvested fruit sorted prior to destemming and light crushing. Cooled pre-fermentation maceration helps to attain a deep color and intense fruit aromas. Native microbes are encouraged to complete both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. There were no additions of yeast or malo bacteria. The wine was aged for 8 months in 225 liter barrels prior to assembling the final blend.” “A highly aromatic bouquet evokes candied dark berries, cola and violet, with a spicy nuance. Fleshy and seamless on the palate, offering sweet blackberry and plum flavors lifted by peppery spices. The finish is dry, fairly oaky and long enough to show modest complexity.” “Isaac Fernandez Selection is the newest venture of the famous winemaker, Isaac Fernandez, who has spent more than 25 years producing some of the best wines in the Ribera del Duero region. He seeks to respect the identity of each vineyard and to nurture wines that balance power, finesse and purity with the capacity to age.” $17.99
Viticultors del Priorat Vega Escal Priorat 2010– Priorat, Spain. 50% Garnacha, 40% Cariñena, 10% Syrah. “All of the fruit for this wine is grown in and around Gratallops, where there tends to be warmer daytime temperatures than in the more northerly subregions of Priorat. Vines range in age from 10 years for the Syrah to 50 years for the Carinena. Grapes were hand harvested in the middle of September. Varietals were fermented separately with a total of 22 days on skins prior to pressing. Aged 6 months in a combination of French and American oak barrels.” 91 Wine Advocate- “It is a blend of 60% Carinena, 30% Garnacha, and 10% Syrah aged for 6 months in French oak. Enticing aromas of garrigue, lavender, incense, plum, and black cherry lead to a racy, intense, impeccably balanced, lengthy wine that can be approached now but will provide enjoyment for another 6-8 years.”
Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008– Douro Valley, Portugal. Vineyards: Vinha da Pisca, Vale do Pinhão and Ferrão. Varieties include: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão and Tinta Roriz and others. “Late Bottled Vintage port is from a single year. The wine ages 4-6 years in old oak casks (opposed to Vintage that ages 2-3). LBV fills the gap between the rubies and the vintage ports since a Ruby Port should be drunk quite young and a great Vintage Port may need 15 to 20 years to really open up and show its splendour. This led to the idea in the 1960s to age the wine 4 to 6 years in large casks before bottling it, thereby producing a wine with the style of a Vintage Port with its deep colour and concentration of fruit but with a more mature character caused by the longer ageing in wood.” “This is perhaps the most iconic of our Ports. Dirk Niepoort calls it the “younger brother” of the Vintage Port, once the origin of the grapes and vinification methods are identical. Both are made from a selection of full-bodied wines of high quality, produced in a single year. The time this wine spends in large wooden vats ageing (4 years) allows it to mature and settle down, being ready to drink young and right after bottling.” “Deep ruby colour, with a complex and concentrated aroma of red and black fruits. Notes of pepper and dark chocolate. On the palate it shows great concentration and volume with a firm structure but a superb soft silky texture. The great acidity provides freshness and balance to the wine. Long and pleasant finish. The wine can be enjoyed now, and will become more complex with further cellaring for a couple of decades. To fully benefit from its qualities we recommend it be decanted before serving. Serve with soft cheeses, mild blue cheese, dark chocolate desserts or even a pepper steak.” $29.99
Passagem Tawny Port nv 500ml– Douro Valley, Portugal. Traditional port varieties, mainly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz. “This is a young tawny port, produced through rapid aging in small, old oak 550 litre pipes (or barrels) to give an aged appearance and flavour. It is blended from our stocks of Port to give this young Tawny its characteristic style which will be the same from year to year.” “Our Tawny Port exhibits a nuttiness and a complexity not often found in these types of tawnies. Compared with the Ruby, the Tawny is much paler in colour and lighter in style.” “Good to drink chilled as an aperitif as well as after dinner. This Port has been lightly filtered and does not require decanting.” “Tawny ports are wines, made from red grapes, that are aged in wooden barrels, exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. As a result, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine, which is blended to match the house style. Tawny ports are sweet or medium dry and typically consumed as a dessert wine. When a port is described as tawny, without an indication of age, it is a basic blend of wood aged port that has spent at least two years in barrels.” $25.99