A Tasting of Spain

After a Old-World-New-World wine tasting at work that was hosted by Bill, I showed up for tasting round #2, again hosted by Bill, this time in his friend’s Lincoln Park cellar. Our theme for the evening was Spanish wines and Sherry.

Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino en Rama Jerez $20 15%
Kicked the evening off with an unfiltered sherry. Being unfiltered, the sherry has to be drunk within 6 months of bottling. This particular bottle had been bottled in April 2013.

Drunk on its own, this sherry seemed too lean and savory. But I could well imagine sipping it with some tapas – perhaps some olives, a dish of breaded anchovies?

Trivia #1: We learnt that the word “Sherry” was bastardized by the British, who nicknamed the oxidized wine from Jerez (an Arabic word) “Jerry”.

Trivia #2: This sherry was made from Palamino grape

2012 Terras Gauda Abadia de San Campio Albarino Rias Baixas $16 12.5%
Nice floral, citrusy nose with some spice in the finish.

2005 Luis Canas Rioja Reserva Seleccion de la Familia $25 14.5%
Lots of aging in American oak. Some barnyard, earth in the nose; some raisins in the mouth… dry finish.

2005 Beronia Gran Reserva Rioja $25 14%
Gran Reserva wines are typically aged for at least 8 years. Reserva wines for 4-5 years, and Crianza wines 2 years. Given this, it’s astonishing that Spanish wines are such great values for money as they are, especially when compared to the French who can’t wait to offload their wines as futures to ameliorate cash flow concerns. I guess for established wineries, they have enough old inventory on hand to move, but the new winemaker would be hard pressed to compete on that kind of economics.

Anyway, two stars to this Beronia, which is one of Jeff’s favorite Riojas. Very elegant, balanced, and structured, with spicy notes in the mouth feel. The finish was just a touch dry, like that of “dry leaves”.

2003 Museum Crianza Cigales $16 13.5%
One star. 10 years old and $16? It’s a steal. Very light in color and taste.

2004 Tandem Palacio de Eza Navarra $15
This wine was almost brownish in color with loads of sediment when I poured myself a taster. Took a quick sniff and yanked the glass away almost immediately. Stewed sherry. Ugh. We quickly set the bottle aside and rinsed out our glasses. Bill said when he’d opened the wine an hour half earlier, it had tasted ok – not great, but not bad – so it was interesting to see how quickly it broke down.

Haha anyway, the wine was a 50% cabernet sauvignon and 50% merlot blend, which prompted someone in our tasting group to reminisce about the Fraiser episode Whine Club where Frasier and Niles were competing to be cork master. They were facing off on a blind tasting, and arguing over whether a Napa wine was a Merlot or Cab. Niles won – it was a blend, with 55% merlot, 45% cab. Heh.

2007 La Vina Venta del Puerto #12 Seleccion Especial Valancia $22
This was a blend of tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah. Bill called the extraordinarily heavy bottle a “little penis bottle… a compensation on the winemaker’s part for other things he didn’t have”. And we were quite inclined to agree. The wine felt thin and limpid.

2007 Arrayan Premium Mentrida $45 14%
Blend of syrah, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot.
It was juicy and beefy, but someone pegged it as more of a “$20 bottle”. Pleasant enough to drink, but not a bang for the buck at $45

2004 Mas’Abundancia Flvminis/Fluminis Montsant $30 14%
Blend of cabernet sauvignon, grenache, samso (carignan)
Lots of sediment… Jeff reckoned it had a nose like “mango cherry salsa”

2009 Las Rocas de San Alejandra Vinas Viejas Garnacha Calatayud $17
I gave it a tick. 100% granacha – very easy to drink. Bill labeled it as a “do me wine”, or a “blow and go wine”.

2009 Sierra Norte Pasion de Bobal Utiel-Requena $16
One star. Floral nose, with strawberry, licorice, and cocoa

Gonzalez Byass Amontillado Muy Viejo “Del Dueque” Jerez $30 375ml 21%
Two stars for its amazing nose of vanilla, hazelnut, walnut, orange peel. Also a palamino grape. A thoroughly sensual wine.

Bonus: Mutusalem Oloroso Dulce Viejo Jerez 30 yrs 375ml 20.5%
One star. Dark walnut. Pedro Ximenez grape. Bill said it had a “Balrog effect”, likening it to the Fellowship of the Ring scene at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, when Gandalf thought he had successfully defeated the Balrog, only to have it send up its tentacles from the depths and drag the wizard down with it.

Bonus: 2010 Rioja Beronia Crianza
Young and juicy, with a hint of metallic nose. Fun to drink


One thought on “A Tasting of Spain

  1. Pingback: A Tour of 2009 Stags Leap District | grapeful

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