Monday, April 7, 2008

Some notes on several Spanish wines...and prep for a trip to SPAIN!

Those of you who have suffered through OWOS for a while know that Spanish wines are some of my favorites. Having lived in Sevilla, and having travelled through parts of Spain for the better part of a year, Spain will always hold a special place in my heart. Spain is more than partially responsible for my love of beaches, jamon/chorizo/salchichon, late dinners, adventures on trains and buses, and to sum up, instilling in me a real sense of joie de vivre. So to return to a country and people who provided me with so much, to once again spend time somewhere that dramatically added dimension to and shaped my early adult years, obviously means a lot. Since I hardly experienced any wine stuff the first time around (the one exception being a tour of a sherry bodega in Jerez), I type in anticipation of an educational, thorough, and fun independent tour throughout Ribera del Duero, Rias Baixas, Ribeira Sacra, Rioja and Penedes. There is a lot of planning to do; there will be no cattle call Spanish wine bus tour for me (at least not this time around). Ooh, the anticipation....

So expect lots of Spanish content in the upcoming weeks. Tonight, I've got a few tasting notes for recently tasted Spanish wines. Later in the week, I'll report back on a wine dinner we are doing with Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia from the incomparable Rioja estate, Lopez de Heredia, and Xavi Buil from Buil & Gine in Priorat.

Vizcarra Ribera del Duero Roble 2006
Dark cherry and plum aromas, skins and all. With a hint of licorice and more dark fruits on the palate, still tasting fresh and not overly oaked or otherwise processed, this is tasty joven Ribera and all you can ask for in a young, fruity Tempranillo.

Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2004
Strong coconut and black cherry on the nose lead to a fairly high toned, juicy black cherry palate, with hints of nutmeg as well. Traditional style, slightly updated for modern times.

Can Rafols del Caus Gran Reserva 2002

Interesting stuff, this. 50% cab franc, 20% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon. It smells like a mature claret, with green pepercorn, cherry, and some terrific interplay between sweetness and savor, earth and brightness, fruit and herbs. This winery is clearly making some distinctive, elegant wines that will please folks with old world sensibilities when it comes to their wine. They do a few other reds (including a Pinot Noir), and several whites: a Chenin, an oddball from the hybrid incrozio manzoni grape, and a fresh Penedes style white blend. Most of the wines are aged for at least 42 months in bottle prior to release.