Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spain Redux

I've got Spain on the brain. This week's Tuesday Tasting included the just-arrived Martinet Bru 2005, from Mas Martinet (owned by Jose Luis Perez and run by his daughter Sara). The first whiff of this wine took me back to April, walking through vineyards fragrant with wild thyme and crumbling slate crunching underfoot, listening to Sara explain her winegrowing philosophy.

Colin Gent, our guide, driver and drinking/eating buddy in Spain last April, visited CWC yesterday (Wednesday, the day after the Tuesday Tasting - and Todd Ruby was the driver this time). No mean trick, given that Colin lives in Bordeaux, France. I don't know many MWs (Master of Wine), but I'd be surprised if there was another as nice or unassuming as Colin. He brought some wonderful stuff to taste, too! Here's the list:

Nelin '08 - Priorat
Rene Barbier (Clos Mogador) continues to tinker with his white Priorat, adding a barrel of Pedro Ximenez and an ancient Catalan grape called Escanya Vella ("old strangler") to the '08 blend - extraordinary.

Oremus (Vega Sicilia's property in Hungary)
Furmint Dry '06 Mandolas - waxy/apricot/celery/mineral/lees/spice smells and penetrating, intensely concentrated flavors - barrel-fermented and aged for 6 months in Hungarian oak. The hint of celery reminded me of Gruner Veltliner.

Furmint Late Harvest '06 - fresh apricot/orange zest/custard smells and sweet though sappy, juicy, balanced flavors. Terrific.

La Rioja Alta
Vina Alberdi '03 Reserva - new label for this most traditional estate; perhaps that explains the sprightly feel of this release; 100% Tempranillo; spicy oak/red fruit; sappy and young.

Gran Reserva 904 '97 - the latest release, can you believe it? 12 years of aging between barrel and bottle before it leaves the bodega! Incredibly gamey and spicy, with a rich layer of oak, but not as much as you might expect given it spends about 6 years in barrel - profoundly complex and long. Wow.

Clos Figueras - Priorat
This bodega is owned by importer Christopher Canan, who represents many of the wine projects of the families of Jose Luis Lopez and Rene Barbier.
Serras del Priorat '08 - a new cuve of predominately (65%) young vine Garnacha blended with older vine Mazuela (Carignan) and Cabernet Sauvignon; brilliant, dark wild strawberry/slate/floral smells and peppery, sappy young flavors balanced by a mineral/gamey spine - delicious, and a great introduction to Priorat.

Font de la Figuera '07 - (Garnacha/Carignan/Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon) Almost jammy it's so young - sappy berry fruit over flowers, with some slate.

Mauro - Tudela de Duero
Mauro Tinto '07 - Glorious fruit over rocks and oak - young, but perfectly balanced and so, so long - gorgeous young wine. 90% Tempranillo/10% Syrah.

Alion (Vega Sicilia's Ribera del Duero estate)
Tinto '04 - Seamless - balance similar to Mauro, but darker, some bitter chocolate and game on top of the rich Tempranillo - sensational.


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