Here is the selection of wines we tasted at our January wine tasting:
Rias Baixas, Maior de Mendoza Albarino 2010
Excellent producer of the same name, and from the exceptional 2010 vintage, MdM has an extra complexity from six months on its lees. Pithy citrus notes of grapefruit and lusher soft stone fruits, and a firm backbone of tense minerality. Very good indeed!
Rueda, S Vina Mayor Rueda 2011
Unoaked 100% Verdejo. A lot better than a standard Rueda blend, which will have been padded out with Viura. Racy and tingling acidity, pitched half way between the angular zest of a Sauv and the textural richness of a Chard.
Ribera del Duero, Sembro 2011
Newest vintage just in. Sembro is the first wine on the ladder from an immaculate estate run by sherry house Osborne right next door to Pesquera and Hacienda de Monasterio, in the ‘golden mile’ of the denominacion. A lightly oaked – four months – red that is an ideal intro to the weighty and tasty wines of the area. 100% Tinto Fino, it has a pleasing wild fruit character and rusticity, satisfying and full-bodied.
Toro Vina Mayor, the Toro 2008
Many Toros are brusque and uncompromising, a product of a baking hot, continental climate in NW Spain. VM Toro presents a more suave take on the region. Ten months in oak, 100% Tinto de Toro (another locally adapted Tempranillo synonym). A cultured and well-judged Toro with bags of flavour but tamed and house-trained!
Priorat Akyles young vine, 2008
From a wild and wacky tiny estate near Falset in DO Priorat, run by father and daughter operation Josep and Silvia Puig. This is from their young vine Garnacha, and it has plenty of the trademark Priorat licorella, graphite-rich minerality, along with bags of exuberant Garnacha black fruit juiciness.
Rioja, Bai Gorri Crianza
Excellent modernist Crianza 2007 Rioja from new(ish) estate Bai Gorri in Rioja Alavesa near Laguardia. The winery, shades of Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s lair, has to be seen to be believed! The wine is excellent, with French oak in the ageing, and comes from a blend of old vine Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano sourced from a variety of local growers in high, cool Alavesa sites near the winery. Overall, a polished, classy and satisfying mouthful of wine.
Sherry (flor-aged) Fino Inocente
A classic from Valdespino, this oak-aged 100% Palomino base wine comes from the top-rated albariza-soil Macharnudo vineyards. The solera is old and established, and the wine is not bottled until about 7/8 years after harvest, once the ‘scales’ have been run at least 8/9 times. The tangy and intense aperitif sherry is almost a Fino-Amontillado as it has tested the limits of the blanketing flor’s viability over a longer period than any other Fino around.
Montilla-Moriles Alvear PX Anada
Pudding wine from arch exponents Alvear. Their PX Anada 2008 is lush and pure and very sweet, but it is all in the service of the wine. Only Rutherglen muscats get close to this intensity.