More Garnacha from the Gredos mountains around Madrid. A few bottles from auction with badly water damaged labels but good levels were worth a risk as I tried a bottle from this producer during a wine soaked fortnight in Madrid and was impressed enough to remember the name. This is 90% Garnacha and 10% otros locals, nice. It opened a bit armpit smelly and reduced which eventually cleared. Vivid and just ripe red fruit with a perfume of old roses and musk like smoke rising from incense burning on a slab of smoky granite. Flavours of cherry essence, red currant and sweet green herbs float on high pitched fine acidity and a lick of cool stoney tannin. Quite a mouthful of mountain crispness. Alimentaria, the Australian importer’s website includes a review by Ned Goodwin MW. Beautifully written as usual, you can see why he’s a MW and this is a just a blog, it suggests that there’s an almost Burgundy like detail and poise to this Garnacha, exactly. Recommended reading.
14% on my damaged label, 14.5% on the advertised image used here? Cork. $20 at auction, bit cheaper than Volnay.
More Grenache, not bored yet, this time from the Gredos ranges near Madrid, home of some very fashionable wine choices these days. Opens with a fair waft of ethyl acetate lift from maybe some dry, shriveled grapes in the bunches. Then it’s nutty with smells of old canvas tennis shoes on a dusty warm day, well, that’s what came to mind. Tart, red berry juice, darker dried cherry skin all washed in mountain fresh mineral water. Gains composure later, deep essence of red berries again and cherry touched with sage, bay and rosemary, all floating on that tang. Not your usual Grenache, like it’s been to cool school. Nervous and a bit on the edge but there’s some great fruit there.
14.5% alcohol and it’s not noticeable. Dodgy cork. $50 ish RRP.
Catalan labelling is far more complicated than my limited language ability can deal with. I think Xavi is the producer, Buxus seems to be a variety of boxwood and Aubagues has something to do with shade and the cooler zone of Priorat or Partida les Aubagues? The label also notes the village of Bellmunt del Priorat and that this is a village wine, vi de villa, in what seems to be the emerging Priorat classification system. There’s a good article on spanishwinelover.com which goes into fascinating detail. Annoyingly, my ageing iPad won’t let me copy and paste the link. Looking at the label, I was hoping Buxus might be a pretty good name for an elephant.
Notwithstanding the esoteric label, if ever a bottle shows just how profoundly good a Samsó, or Carignan to us non Catalans, with 25% Grenache can be, then this is the business. It even looks so good as it pours, a bright carmine with royal purple flashes. In smell and flavour, it’s soft, clean, rich and precise. All the fresh, squishy berries of summer plus a seasoning of cocoa, roast sweet goat and that Priorat sooty old fireplace thing. The next day and a couple thereafter, I found myself scribbling words like, great wine, seldom seen. So pure, deep and a perfume to haunt those places where we remember our favourite pleasures. Staring into infinity length, floating on buoyant acidity and such sweet skin tannin. Essence of grape and place. Alright, it’s a nice drink.
14.5% alcohol. Cork. Part of a mystery six pack from The Spanish Acquisition’s pandemic survival sale. Somewhat dismayed to see a RRP of over a hundred in Australian dolores. Worth a trip to Tarragona and into the hills to save a fortune.
96 points plus another point for an elephant.
From a very good vintage in top left corner of Spain whether it be Galicia or just across the border in Leon following the river Sil upstream, this was worth a bid at auction. DJP as us Mencia fanciers know them seem to be the original revivalists of the variety in the almost just a memory vineyards of Bierzo. Smoky and floral in that unavoidable comparison with the north end of the Rhône valley. Grew in the glass to rich but never jammy soft berries, summer pudding style. An extra depth of fruit fills out the rear and just as powerful, there’s a roaring cut of perfectly ripe tannin and extraordinary stoney, mineral acidity. If this is the entry level, it does make you wonder how good the more expensive single vineyard bottles could be. Very tempted to spend the whole month’s wine budget on one or several months’ worth in the case of La Faraona.
14% alcohol. Cork. $47 at auction.
Please indulge a travel fantasy. Along the esplanade in Sanlúcar de Barrameda there are restaurants serving seafood including the sort of chargrilled octopus with smoky pimenton potatoes as good as only Spain can. A glass of this unfortified old clone Palomino would do, particularly as it’s named after an old Sanlúcar pier. It would be a bit of a challenge to pronounce Muelle properly, Moo..eh..ee..eh, perhaps? Matured under Sherry flor yeast, this has all the flavours of Jerez I love without the dank oak and fire breath of fortifying. Single vineyard as is the wine world’s fashion from the Pago Carrascal, it really tastes of dirt, in the best way. Ripe yellow fruits, broad, creamy textured, citrus blossom, chamomile, finally a touch of green olive and warm sea spray. All wrapped up in mouthwatering, fine polished acidity and a proud grown up dryness. Such a special place that bit of Andalusia that sticks out into Atlantic breezes.
14% alcohol. Cork. $40 RRP.
Along the Ribera del Duero it’s Tinta del Pais, one of the many names for the grape we all know as Tempranillo. Sensible, or for wine nuts into bad puns, a Cencibel decision to stick the name we all know and enjoy. Sorry, don’t think puns work well in obscurity. Nonetheless a Tempranillo as I do like it, joven as the Spanish say, not over done with oak. This one’s a tasty smack on the nose of sarsaparilla, cherry, pepper and strawberry. Straight ahead fresh and crisp. Such is the volume of flavour Tempranillo can cram into a sip, there’s toffee, lavender and sage too. As it sits, some extra ripeness in leather and tar. No complications in shape, just a good bump of firm tannin and acidity. Flavours enough to dream of Spain again and a cool glass and a tapa in one of those cheerful bars where there’s always a Tempranillo or two.
14% alcohol. Screw cap. $19 in a six at Dan’s, value.
91 points. It wavered between 90 and 92.
The back label says Agrado means “Feeling of happiness or pleasure when doing something one loves.” Like sipping a glass of this. So good, glad to have a six pack to share. Mostly Garnacha, Rioja old style, with some Tempranillo, whole berry fermented for brightness and crunch. Bright as the proverbial button, glossy sweet pomegranate syrup, all sorts of red berries, perfume of rose, touch of almost musk, jamon, olé. Some of those mineral stony flavours that wine bores bang on about. A scythe of fine grit tannin and mouthwatering acid rises up to meet the fruit, carries it long and stops any hint of mawkish nonsense. The fruit quality is such that a sweet perfume lingers long. Exemplifies the fascinating ying and yang of dry ripe fruit and savoury so typical of the best of Spain. Saw some Joselito Jamon Iberico at the market this morning for a measly $485 a kilo. How thin a slice?
14% alcohol. One of those agglomerate things with a disc of real cork on each end, they seem to be improving but why, really? 394 gms of glass. $35 rrp.
93 gobsmackingly delicious points.
A weekend white to sip while choosing some proper wine, red colour. Godello along with Albariño, Galicia’s own two important white grapes of place. Clean, airy and fresh. Needs a breath of air, then crisp fresh apricot, sweet green herbiness, almost some jasmine tea. Some doughy lees work adds savour. Fine but very present wet pebble acidity. Enough fruit fat to cope, finishes up with a glycerol, slightly bitter, sour twang. Just ripe, tense. It would be great to try again after another six months or so of settling. Then, some olive oily sea creatures. Goose necked barnacles, not a pirate curse but treasured by Gallegos. Mornington mussels hereabouts maybe.
13% alcohol. Cork. 412 gms of glass. $40 rrp.
Viernes is Friday in Spanish, this got opened on the day and finished on Saturday. Seems like everyday is casual Friday these days. Bit muddy to open but as it aired freshness came. Poised mid weight, Tart just picked raspberries and all sorts of red fruit served on a glistening slab of wet granite tannin and serious mouthwatering acidity. Bit of extra sweet ripe depth adds dimension. Mencia seems to fill that gap between glossy Gamay and sturdy Syrah, best of both in some ways. Although Bierzo’s just outside Galicia on the map, it leans close. Distinctive geography with its own delicious grape. Bit of pig would add to the flavour grunt.
14% alcohol. Screw cap, and little reduction despite the cork lobby. 412 gms of glass, bravo. Part of an iso bargain pack, lost the electronic receipt.
93 points, lovely grapes.
Too lazy to do a separate post BUT…..
The 2018 edition is really, really good. All the above but just finer, longer and beautifully shaped. A definite re buy and away for a couple of years. Bravo, TSA! Same numbers as above but 94 plus maybe a bit in time points.
A bit of lacklustre googling suggests this might be equal parts Grenache and Syrah. Señor D’Anguera’s website is not exactly comprehensive. The wine in the glass leaves no doubt it follows the trend for less extraction, less ripeness, less oak and lots of stems. More Montsant Morey St Denis, sort of. Starts a little reductive, sulphur and rocks, opens out to sappy cherry and strawberry and some distinctly savoury yeasty lees and old wood. Over a day or two, the struck flint persists and the fruit darkens to almost a dried fruit sweetness. The chalky acidity and stalk tannin sit high. It’s all almost too wild, savoury and stalky acidic but given the amount of good olive oil in Spanish cooking, it makes itself useful. So differed to the oaky ripeness of the recent Can Blau. Such lovely crisp red fruit, sort of Etna Rosso for another odd comparison, probably more Montsant in its own right.
13.5% alcohol. Cork. 548 gms of glass. $28 at auction.
A wild spread of 91 to 94 points.