August 14, 2018
Barbadillo Sherry Solear

BARBADILLO Manzanilla Sherry “Solear”

A staple of Spanish wine bars, Barbadillo Solear is all Palomino aged under flor for around six years. This is particularly aromatic, showing crushed seashells, day-old bread crust, chamomile, lemon cookies and blanched almonds. The taste is intense. Includes preserved lemon, dried peach slices, crushed almonds and chamomile (Manzanilla is Spanish for chamomile). More Information Barbadillo is a big operation with many arms (different wines and labels, including private label wines) but you don’t see too often in the U.S., especially in California. While it’s very popular in Spain, Japan, the U.K and Belgium particularly, the U.S. is not “hip” […]
May 21, 2018
Veronica Ortega Mencia ROC

VERONICA ORTEGA Mencia “ROC” 2013

Dark plums, black raspberries, white pepper, lavender and cocoa on the nose set the stage for this particularly strong, well structured Bierzo. Deep dark berry fruits + a little pomegranate syrup combine with white pepper, dried violets and lavender and dry Provence herbs in the mouth. Intense, full-flavored and age-worthy. Compared to excellent Red Burgundy with these descriptions. Flavors are different though – Bierzo is more wild and care-free to me. Enjoy this wine with roast pork shoulder, spiced/grilled salmon and roast root vegetables. More Information Bierzo is the region. We are in Northwest Spain, where cool-climate Galicia meets inland […]
May 17, 2018
La Bruja de Rozas

COMANDO G La Bruja de Rozas 2016

All Garnacha (Grenache), 50-80 year old vines, in the high altitude, rocky & rugged Sierra de Gredos mountains outside of Madrid. La Bruja de Rozas, the “entry level” multi-vineyard sourced Grenache from Comando G Winery, is just fantastic. Fermented in concrete tank then aged in super-big, mostly neutral oak barrel. Very pretty and intense, showing wild strawberry and plums, lavender, rosemary, thyme and Turkish spice smells and flavors. Medium body and acidity, intensity of flavor, lip-smacking fruit and, overall, a strong, pure, perfectly ripe style. This is buy-a-case worthy. Comando G La Bruja de Rozas 2016 is on my Best […]
May 16, 2018
Herencia Altes Garnatxa Rose

HERENCIA ALTES Garnatxa Negra Rose 2017

Very friendly, dry Rosé from Terra Alta in Spanish Catalonia. Picked for Rosé and direct press (Intentional Rosé), this wine has all the delicious qualities of Grenache/Garnacha/Garnatxa. Strawberries, watermelon, fresh pink roses, a dusting of black pepper. Big chill it and drink with gusto. Visit my complete list of Rosé wines here.
March 14, 2018
Barbadillo PX Cilla

BARBADILLO Pedro Ximenez Sherry “La Cilla”

Dynamite “PX” Sherry. Candied orange, dark honey, caramel, stewed and spiced apple. Super sweet, seductive, buttery and just plain yummy. Obviously, this is for dessert wine lovers. I deny those who eschew dessert wines to not enjoy this. For what you get, $32/bottle is a screaming-good deal.   Barbadillo is a big operation with many arms (different wines and labels, including private label wines) but you don’t see too often in the U.S., especially in California. While it’s very popular in Spain, Japan, the U.K and Belgium particularly, the U.S. is not “hip” to Sherry in general. The myriad styles […]
March 14, 2018
Barbadillo Amontillado Principe

BARBADILLO Amontillado Sherry “Principe de Barbadillo”

A gorgeous Amontillado. Round and powerful in the mouth with flavors of lemon honey, dried apple, salt cured green olives and Filbert nuts. Dry, with a richness that substitutes for sweet (from the near 15 years of aging: 8 under the flor, 7 without). Extremely versatile in your evening (with dinner, or before with cheese & nuts, or after with cheese & nuts), I prefer it as my nightcap.   Barbadillo is a big operation with many arms (different wines and labels, including private label wines) but you don’t see too often in the U.S., especially in California. While it’s […]
March 14, 2018
Torremilanos Montecastrillo 16

TORREMILANOS Ribera del Duero “Montecastrillo” 2016

This Great Value, 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) from the tenderloin for great red wine in Spain would make a fantastic House Wine (or restaurant By The Glass wine if you’re in that business). Smell and taste ripe red and blue berries and kisses of peppery spice and mint. Medium acid, gentle tannins and a medium full body…more complete than most $12 red wines on this planet. Buy yourself a case. I was introduced to Torremilanos last month at a tasting event. They make delicious, honest, great value wines. Their vineyards are Demeter certified biodynamic and are a stew of limestone, […]
February 25, 2018
Rafael Palacios Louro Godello

RAFAEL PALACIOS “Louro” Godello 2016

From the cool northwest corner of Spain comes this delicious white wine made mostly from the Godello grape (the native grape Treixadura complements). While dry, it has a honeyed, ripe peach and lemon verbena quality that some may interpret as off-dry. Has a delicious, slightly round mouthfeel that comes from its ferment in large, neutral oak barrels and aging on its lees 4 months before bottling. This is the kind of wine that just makes me smile.
February 20, 2018
Planetes de Vin 2013

PLANETES de VIN Priorat 2013

50-50 Garnatxes and Carinyenes (Catalan for Grenache and Carignane) aged “en amfora.” (Amphora-clay vessels. Use of Amphoras to hold wine date back to Roman times). The mountainous Priorat region in Catalonia is one of the world’s special places to make strong red wines. This fruit-driven wine smells and tastes of strawberry preserves, raspberry sauce, dried violets and whole pink peppercorns. Medium/full bodied, gentle tannins and fresh acidity. Has the balance of an acrobat.
February 20, 2018
maranones garnacha 13

MARAÑONES Garnacha “Marañones” Vinos de Madrid 2013

50-70 year old, head-pruned Garnacha vines outside of Madrid. While large producers dominate the old vine Garnacha industry here by making delicious, strong, simple, $15ish/bottle wine, Marañones lifts its foot off the pedal just a little to capture richness AND complexity. The result is a definitively superior wine that is still a bargain for around $28/bottle. Smell and taste strawberry preserves, Ruby Port, roast coffee beans, cherry bitters and dried thyme & sage. It sports very good richness and multiple layers of both fruit and land.
February 13, 2018
Menade Verdejo 2016

MENADE Verdejo “Nosso” 2016

The Menade Verdejo “Nosso” 2016 tarts with a nose of macerated peach slices and candy apple, then tastes of dried pears, more peach, bay leaf & dried thyme and grapefruit. Reminds me of Semillon in its orchard fruit flavors and slightly oily texture. I like how it balances the fresh and the rich. An excellent, flexible dinner table wine.   About Menade Verdejo, a workhorse white wine in Spain, comes in all shapes and sizes. This is the most special Verdejo  I can remember having. While it is in the Rueda, Menade eschews that region to dissociate itself from the […]
February 7, 2018
Granbazan Albarino

GRANBAZAN Albarino “Ambar” 2016

A delicious, and to me just about perfect, showing of the Albarino grape. Lemons three ways on the nose and in the taste: lemon blossoms, lemon zest, lemon oil. Playing back up, get yellow grapefruit, Macintosh apple slices and honeysuckle. Bright acidity and a satin texture (from aging on its lees for a few months – no oak). An ideal fish wine, especially fried fish dishes (or fried chicken, for that matter). Simply called “Granbazan” in most cases, this house is one of the stalwarts of Rias Baixas (very cool wine region on Spain’s Atlantic Coast north of Portugal). I […]
January 30, 2018
Hazana Rioja 15

Bodegas ABANICO – HAZAÑA Rioja 2015

Hazana Rioja “Vinas Viejas” is 85% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha. The “Old Vines” are up to 70 year old, dry-farmed vines in the Rioja Alta section of Rioja. It shows dark red wild berry fruits, white pepper, a little new leather handbag and black licorice stick flavors. But mostly berry and pomegranate fruit. Bold-flavors, easy-going tannins and almost no oak influence (10 months in French & American oak…Google “Rioja Oak Aging” for a quick and easy lesson on Rioja & oak), this friendly and honest Rioja is an absolute no-brainer. I agree with the winery’s comment that this is “a perfect […]
December 4, 2017

Bodegas SIERRA SALINAS “Mira” 10

A sun-soaked southern Spain Mediterranean red blend of Monastrell, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Boasts deep, dark berry fruits with cocoa, toasty vanilla and allspice complementing. This is loaded with flavor, and now over 7 years of age, it’s at ideal drinking stage. Medium tannins, medium/low acidity, spice is strong but nicely in line with the fruit. This is a no-brainer to drink with grilled, stewed and/or smoky meat dishes.