Very pretty label that bears no relation to the info on the back of the bottle. Don’t remember seeing many pink flamingos on those frighteningly steep terraces either. Nonetheless a crisp translucent Mencia. Only just medium stature. Tart red fruits, purple florals, smoking dark rocks and a pinch of spice. Takes a while to shake the just bottled disjointed flow but by day three, it breathes freely, ridding itself of surly reduction and a suggestion of something not quite hygienic. Fresh mountain acidity and a cat’s tongue lick of tannin fit well. Long way from Aragón in distance and weight. Still Spain but less sunburned.
12.50% alcohol. Cork. 9 euros.
Entry level Mencia from this prestigious producer. Dark red berries, a smear of blueberry, spicy peppered granite and pencil sharpener smells. Rich and ripe feeling for a mountain Mencia with sooty cocoa tannins and good freshening acidity. Perfumed with that floral smokiness that looks a bit North end Rhône. There’s some real power as the fruit swells in flavour before the texture sweeps in. Quite a statement for the bottom of the range. A spare thousand euros or so and you can taste the top end.
13.50% alcohol. Cork. 16 euros.
93 points like the Guia Penin sticker says.
Fish for lunch at a Galician taberna in beautiful and much visited Toledo and the wine list had the magic name Zarate. Sorry, none left. Perhaps the house Albariño? Why not and out came this cheerful package, gloriously topped by a Stelvin Luxe and glistening with condensation. Opened a bit affected by recent fermentation but settled to a clean, fresh modern, stainless steel made white wine. Just a bit of Albariño’s exotic perfume creeping in. A good mouthful and that’s better. Rich yellow peach and a lick of papaya, seasoned with sweet green shrubbery all put firmly in line by that Galician acidity. Add a mouthful of fresh flatfish bathed in garlicky olive oil and all is well. Amazing how white wine goes with food, often better than red! Quite rich for a basic and perhaps shows a warm concentrated vintage. Wasn’t expecting to see the industrial sized producer’s name on the back label. Much better than the supermarket Codax brand. Toledo’s not very close to the Rias Baixas but wine, fish and me travelled well.
12.50% alcohol. Beautiful back and white striped Stelvin! 12 euros on the list.
By way of explanation, El Escosés Volante means Flying Scotsman in Spanish and is Norrel Robertson, brave winemaker and MW based in Calatayud whence comes this blend of Garnacha from several different vineyards thereabouts. En sus Trece is an old Spanish term meaning to dig your heels in and not budge. Goes back to Pope Benedict XIII who refused to stop being Pope despite exile. Bit of Catholic recalcitrance there. Made outside the Denominacion regulations, this deep and stubbornly flavourful wine too didn’t move a lot over three days apart from becoming friendlier. Rich and sweet cherry, plum, woody Mediterranean herbs and something purpled black carbon. Full stature but lithe with great soft tannins and ripe acidity. The savouriness and resolved ripe tannin give support and counterpoint to the plush fruit. Great spot for a flying Scot to land.
14.50% alcohol. Cork. 17.50 euros.
Moristel seems fairly local to Aragón and around. Only three and a bit hectares of it at Bodegas Langa in Calatayud, hence the mathematically symbolic name. Shows it’s from the region with a dark, dark colour and a lot of power. Sadly there’s a bit too much oak on opening and perhaps not the best seasoned with some dreaded coconut top note. Second day the fruit comes forth and nearly first, inasmuch as intense tiny berries muscle the wood aside. Lovely blueberry and blackcurranty headed toward plums. Some earthy macho Spanish landscape. Does seem a little more rounded and less butch than local Aragón Garnacha with a tighter coil of acid and softer tannin. You can still see the fruit for the wood just about thankfully. Would be better without being so lumbered though.
14.50% alcohol. Cork. 12 euros.
This has what could be a lot of dry extract. The bottom of the cork in contact with the liquid left a thick purple stain on the fingers. Rich in flavour too. The back label says tiny concentrated grapes and no oak to interfere. No hyperbole there. Deep drying flavours of blackberry, chocolate, spice and old fireplaces. Still kept fresh with a bit of natural tasting acid crunch. Almost like they put the must in a whizz banger food blender. Garnacha smoothie full of grape bits that are good for you.
14% alcohol. Cork. 10 euros.
Bilibis refers to the Roman town that imposed itself in Aragón around the time mighty Caesar Augustus clobbered the locals and thence led them to ask in a Life of Brian way, “what has the Pax Romana done for us?” Perhaps viticultural techniques that led to this beautifully polished wine. Very ripe but so suave red and black fruits lifted by a blackberry and violet mouth perfume. Verging on the extra deep. Judiciously inserted toast and mocha oak with no visible seams showing. Tannins are soft and ripe but still firmed by comfortable acidity. Crafted more than engineered perhaps. In vino veritably delicious.
14.50% alcohol. Cork. 8.50 euros of great value from the extra knowledgeable Alberto at Enoteca Khantaros in Zaragoza.