Posts with the label "spain and portugal"


Spain 2009 Vintage - Buying Trip Report

Spain 2009 Vintage - Buying Trip Report

Thursday 26th July 2012
by Julian Campbell

Spain may be a country facing all number of economic problems, but boy does it have some serious winemaking talent. 

Our most recent trip, a whirlwind tour that involved many hours behind the wheel, took us from Ossian's sandy, pre-phylloxera vineyards in Rueda, up to the wild west of Ribera del Duero, up and futher across to San Vicente in Rioja and then finally all the way east to Catalonia and the hot, dry hills of Priorat.

En route we encountered breathtaking countryside, big skies and huge vistas, soaring buzzards, warm people, old vines and low yields, plenty of delicious ham and even more delicious wine. In what feels like Hemmingway country there are wines being made that offer such pure, ripe, complex, silky seduction it is amazing they are not more highly sought after over here in the UK market.
Spain - Exciting times

Spain - Exciting times

Monday 15th August 2011
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

I completed my annual 5 day 1000k+ road trip to Spain recently to taste the newly released wines, mostly 2008, with a sneak preview of what delights 2009 and 2010 have to offer, aswell. 

Apart from leaving me sick to the back teeth of my hire car, the trip made me feel incredibly upbeat about Spain's credentials as a source of high quality wine. The country is still suffering from terrible economic turmoil but its broad group of fine wine producers should be well placed to shift their emphasis from a faltering home market to export. It is incredibly rare for wine-producing countries to be known for producing both top quality and great value wines, usually a place is labelled as one or the other. Spain, however, carries off both to remarkably great effect. This is due to a generation of rigorous growers who are re-discovering their traditions, saving indigenous grape varieties and making wine with passion and attention to detail.
Video: Teso La Monja, an otherworldly Tinta de Toro

Video: Teso La Monja, an otherworldly Tinta de Toro

Wednesday 16th March 2011
by Julian Campbell

Eduardo Eguren tells us about the new Eguren venture in Toro, Teso La Monja. 

Old vines, often ungrafted, planted at elevation: the wines are magical, super elegant examples of Tinta da Toro. As Eduardo says, they might be the same variety as found in Rioja, but they drink as if from another world.
Aalto 2007 and Ossian 2009

Aalto 2007 and Ossian 2009

Thursday 1st July 2010
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

Aalto is the impressive collaboration between former head of the Ribera DO Javier Zaccagnini and Vega Sicilia's winemaker of 20 plus years, Mariano Garcia. 

It is the result of blending the best parcels from 7 different communes in Ribera del Duero, vine age a minimum of 40 years old. Not only does each commune have its own unique terroir, be it sand limestone or clay soils but just as importantly, if not even more so, each commune tends to have its own very unique clones of the Tinto Fino grape that make totally different wines to eachother.

Ribera has had a wet,cool Spring and early summer, the landscape looks so lush, green and floral, such a difference to the desert I visited this time last year. I am here to see the restless Javier Zaccagnini and taste his 2007, to be released in September this year. It was a very extreme year, really dry but cool aswell, no bad thing for this usually rather hot climate. It did mean a great deal of work in the vineyards to ensure proper maturation of the grapes, but ripen they did. There is no PS in 2007, it has all gone into the main Aalto blend, which is as a result incredibly complete silky and complex, with a very moreish and refreshing acidity so typical of this cool vintage. 2007 might not have the blockbuster richness of a 2005 but the balance, refinement and drinkability will make for a very serious bottle that can be approached early or after several years bottle age and it should work tremendously well with food.
2009 Toro and some smart Rioja

2009 Toro and some smart Rioja

Wednesday 23rd June 2010
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

Nothing like a nice Rioja to revive the senses after a 4 hour drive from Priorato. 

Well, certainly, if its one of Marcos Eguren's. The Egurens are the vinous Kings of Rioja, if not all of Spain. Their wonderful San Vicente was one of the original modern Riojas, hand made from a low yielding single vineyard La Canoca in the Rioja Alta zone, which produces the region's most subtle, elegant wines that combine fresh acidity with fine fruit and tannic backbone. It is regularly voted best red wine in Spain, by the Spanish great and good, and you can see why.

2007 was a small, cool and late harvest, picking did not finish until the beginning of November in some vineyards. An absolutely wonderful vintage not a rich blockbuster, far from it, but intense, fine and fresh. I always have a soft spot for San Vicente Rioja, i don't think there is better value wine in Spain, the 07 exemplifies its typically sophisticated, nuanced style. However for sheer quality Amancio was something else. Another single vineyard wine but most of the fruit goes into other cuvees, only 8% of the vineyard's grapes, the creme de la creme, are used for Amancio. All flowers, high notes, minerals and forest fruits, understated yet so powerful. It will be a wine for ageing, if a still far too young but equally impressive 2002 is any indication.
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