25 September 2005

Tasting Notes for September 24, 2005

This tasting was devoted to wines from all over Spain. Many of these appear to come from small wineries without websites--in some cases I've substituted reviews or catalog entries for links. Most of these were scored around 90 by Robert Parker. I don't pay a lot of attention to the scoring scales, which is why I don't use them on my blog. I'm more interested in how it tastes, smells, and feels in the mouth, which tends to be more useful in matching a wine to a food or an occasion than a score.

Wine 1: Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Brut. Ribera del Duero, Spain. From the northwest corner near Barcelona. Two thirds Macabeo and one third Parrellada, this sparkling wine had a bright, fruity aroma with a crisp and yeasty flavor. Very interesting bottle design--a metal ring on the bottom and a metal seal on the side. This would be a fun presentation for some sort of medieval/Renaissance-themed dinner. $23.

Wine 2: 2004 Hermanos Lurton Blanco. Rueda, Spain. Sort of between Barcelona and Madrid. This is a white blend of Verdejo and Viura. Grapefruit pith and peel all over the place. Slightly sweet but surprisingly not tart. Lovely little white to serve chilled in the summer. $12.

Wine 3: 2003 Pazo de Señorans Albariño. Galicia, Spain. Same area as above. There was a slight musky aroma, no oak present, and delectible well-rounded construction. Not complex, but a pleasant and mellow wine. $20.

Wine 4: 2003 Vina Mein Blanco. Ribeiro, Spain. Northeast corner near Portugal. 70% Treixadura, 15% Godello, 10% Loureira, and 5% Albariño. I'm really not familiar with those first three grapes, but I wasn't impressed by the wine. It was thin, no dominant flavors, and maybe just a hint of lemon. $18.

Wine 5: 2003 Bodegas Luan Red "Equis Viñas Viejas". Vino de Tierra Castilla, Spain. Sort of in the center near Madrid. "The wine is a blend of Bobal, Mazuelo (the local term for Carignan), Garnacha (Grenache) and Cencibel (Tempranillo)." Strawberry jam on the nose, with matching flavor but dry and with a short finish. Really Surprising. $10.

Wine 6: 2003 Venta Mazzaron Tempranillo. Toro, Spain. Around the center of the country. There's a touch of toast on the top, with heavy tannins that arrive in mid-taste. Very dry. $12.

Wine 7: 2002 Bodegas Castano Solanera. Yecla, Spain. Southeast. The aroma was alcoholic, with dark berry notes like a Zinfandel or Port. Surprisngly soft tannins. Made from Monsatrell, the Spanish name for Mourvèdre. $15.

Wine 8: 2002 Abadia Retuerta "Rivola". Sardon del Duero, Spain. Northeast Spain. 60% Tempranillo and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. A little too mellow for me--I really wonder if I tasted the same wine as mentioned in the review. There's a chance that the alcohol in the previous wine hampered my tasting ability, but I was still able to pick out lots in the next wine... $14.

Wine 9: 1999 Sierra Cantabria Crianza. Rioja, Spain. North Central Spain. Tempranillo. Big black cherry aroma, soft fruit flavors with hints of vanilla and hazelnuts. Nicely aged with a lovely garnet color. Great wine at a spectacular price. $15.

Wine 10:
1999 Fernando Remirez de Ganuza Rioja Reserva
. Rioja, Spain. Another Tempranillo from the North Central region of Rioja. Deep purple color with concentrated flavors. Dry and distinguished, and while I was having a difficult time picking out any individual flavor elements, it was an amazing wine. $60.


Andrew said...

"medieval/Renaissance-themed dinner" We dont have many of those round our way. Is it as naff as you suggest or does it indeed look classy?

Benito said...

Andrew, prepare to start laughing. Naff is an apt description.

There's an organization called the SCA, or the Society for Creative Anachonism, in which folks adopt a persona from some point in Western history between the Medieval and Renaissance periods. They dress up as Lords and Ladies, Knights and Pirates, and have battles in the park. There's an internal hierarchy, lots of dodgy heraldry, and many eye-cringing practice sessions that involve the fighters wearing patched-together sportswear and hitting each other with PVC pipes.

I was never a member, but was very close to a couple that was heavily involved. And at the time, I was dragged to many events. They never had any proper dinners, but at the larger events you'd have booths set up selling roast turkey legs things like that. Lots of them would drink mead or any alcoholic beverage served in any old-looking bottle or glass.

There's also a slightly similar occasion, though it generally happens only once a year. Colleges and historical societies will sometimes host a Madrigal Dinner around Christmas, which tends to be focused more on the musical aspects of Renaissance England. The food is typically historically inspired, though modified for modern tastes. And only the hosts and servers are in costume, the guests are welcome to dress normally. A bottle of that Spanish sparkler would actually look very nice at one of those functions. At an SCA event, it would be sure to get you under the dress of some goth chick, though I'm not sure you'd want that.

I could go on for days about the various unusual ways in which we Americans celebrate very specific features of our former colonial oppressors... However, I must admit that I do attend our local Burns' Night every other year or so, which is a formal, classy social event. I actually enjoy bagpipe music, Scotch, haggis, and Burns' poetry, and try not to read too much else into it. Where else in Memphis can I get dragged onto the dancefloor by a dozen drunk old men wearing tuxedo/kilt combos?

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