This blend of 34% Garnacha, 27% Tempranillo, 23% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon is a mouthful of spicy dark berry flavors with underpinnings of rocky earth. Smell and taste cinnamon, black cherry liqueur, ripe blackberries, licorice, crushed rocks and vanilla. Medium to full body, soft tannins and a happy core of acidity make this a great drinking red wine now and through at least 2025…although it’s so good now why wait that long? Pago Ayles is one of only 19 Vino de Pago in Spain. (A Vino de Pago is a classification for Spanish wine applied to individual vineyards or […]
A unique Cava in that it’s made from 100% Garnatxa. The vineyard lives 2000+ feet high (in the Montmell Mountains, 25 miles west of Barcelona) and close enough to the Mediterranean to enjoy cooling from both elevation and the sea, which in turn means healthy acidity and ideal ripeness for sparkling. The Jané Ventura Cava Brut Rosé smells and tastes of crisp, green-shouldered strawberries, pink grapefruit, lemon zest and toasted wheat bread. A definite palate-perker-upper, it is an ideal “starter wine” for any occasion and most any appetizer you can think of. To that end, I’m thinking of spicy guacamole, […]
80% Grenache, 10% Carignan and 10% Syrah. Showcases the Grenache grapes sappy, dark strawberry and raspberry fruitiness (relatively young 20 year old vines, so the fruit is highlighted over the earth). Peppery/minty spice smells and flavors, medium bodied, fine tannins that nibble on the gums. This delicious Spanish red pairs well with combo pizza, cheeseburgers, BBQ pork ribs and strong rice dishes. “Les Crestes” comes from the hillside vineyards of Priorat in northeast Spain near Barcelona. Relatively young vines at 20 years. Aged eight months in once-used French oak barrels, so not particularly oaky.
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” […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.