Showing posts with label tempranillo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tempranillo. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Two Organic Beauties from Le Caveau. Plus Wine Briefs


Sokol Blosser Evolution Lucky No. 9 White Blend (Dundee, Oregon, USA) NV, 12%, €24.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This is worth trying; it is excellent, in the same way that Gentil from Alsace vineyards can be surprisingly delicious. Gentil are multi-grape blends and so is this non vintage white. The grapes used are Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Sémillon, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner. It is a non-oaked wine and was introduced in 1998 and this is the 19th edition. 

Evolution No. 9 is a play on the Beatles number Revolution No. 9. Sokol Blosser say the white was created out of the desire to make a fun wine, one that would accompany the modern predilection for "yoking different kinds of food together" and is “very much more than the sum of its very disparate parts”. Pair it with spicy Asian, Indian, Mexican and Caribbean foods. Or with a jambalaya.

Pioneers Bill and Susan Sokol Blosser planted their first vines in 1971 in the Dundee Hills. Their vineyards are farmed organically; local organic straw, organic cow and horse manure, grape pomace from the crush and organic rock phosphate contribute to the composting. The insect population is kept in check by a resident flock of bluebirds.


It has a pale straw colour but the juice looks really good and clean in the bottle and you’re thinking this is a good one, your opinion reinforced by the fairly intense mix of lush and tropical aromas. Again that same amalgam of fruit on the smooth palate, a touch of sweetness early on but there is excellent acidity in there too that ensures a satisfying crisp finalé. Very Highly Recommended. The Evolution Big Time Red, was first released in 2012, and is on my list!

Alfredo Maestro Viña Almate Castilla y León (VT) 2016, 14%, €14.45 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

The Tempranillo grapes for this wine are grown in Peñafiel in Ribera del Duero but, according to Spanish Wine Lover, it has always been sold as VT Castilla y León. Le Caveau say the wine is raised for four months in neutral French oak; it is unfined, unfiltered and very low SO2.

Colour is a dark ruby. Aromas are quite complex, ripe red fruits prominent. Red fruit flavours too on the generous palate, while a touch of spice heightens the pleasure of this easy drinking young wine. Highly Recommended. This is Alfredo’s flagship wine and Spanish Wine Lover rates it “as outstanding within its type and style”.

From the beginning, in 1998, Alfredo farmed organically, his mantra: “Wine made with only grapes, well-kept vineyards, and healthy land.” With more land and experience now at his disposal, Alfredo is one to watch as the story of his pure and elegant wines evolves.Look out for more well-made wines from the man "known as the 'magician of the Duero’, a prominent exponent of the natural wine movement in Spain.
Wine briefs
SuperValu's current wine sale continues until October 10th and is headlined by their mix and match offer of 6 bottles for €50.00. Plenty of choice so I had quick look and here's my half-dozen, three white and three red.

1  ABELLIO ALBARIÑO
ARESTI TRISQUEL SAUVIGNON BLANC
BURDIZZO VERMENTINO TOSCANA 
HOMMAGE DU RHONE VINSOBRES
CHATEAU HAUT BERTINERIE RED
CASA DE LA ERMITA CRIANZA

O'Brien's have dozens of wines of offer also for the month but what really caught my eye is their Organic Wine Masterclass on October 18th. Details below:

Introduced by expert Sommelier François Pages from Gérard Bertrand, guests will be led through a selection of Gérard Bertrand’s finest wines, including the exquisite single-vineyard, Clos d’Ora. Learn about the organic and biodynamic philosophies that are at the heart of each Gérard Bertrand wine and the meticulous attention to detail in the cellar.

The Masterclass will begin at 7.30pm and a light cheese board will be served to accompany the wines. 


Tickets: €25 - Available online HERE

There'll be a discount on the night for any orders placed on Gérard Bertrand wines.
Date: Thursday October 18th
Time: 7.30pm
Where: Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 2.


A week earlier, SPIT – out of the Ordinary wines from artisan wineries represented by four independent wine companies, GrapeCircus, Nomad, VinosTito and WineMason - will be held on October 11th in The Chocolate Factory (Dublin). Details here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Delicious Double from Le Caveau


Arianna Occhipinti SP 68 Rosso Terre Siciliane (IGT) 2016, 12.5%, €26.35 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
Get your kicks on route sixty-eight. Doesn't rhyme! This super wine, liquid poetry, is named after the road that passes by the Sicilian vineyard where Arianna Occhipinti happily produces the clean wines that have given her quite a reputation.

“Arianna Occhipinti is a real star of ‘natural wine’. …Good agriculture and minimal intervention in the cellar bring light to every label in production. No accident today that her Frappato is on the wine lists at the worldliest tables of Parisian neo-bistros.”

So says the authoritative Modern History of Italian Wine speaking of Arianna whom they include in a very short list of the most influential Italian winemakers of the current decade.

And that Frappato grape is included in the blend here, its partner being the much better known Nero D’Avola. Gorgeous aromatics here, a melange of fruit (red) and floral, herb notes too, even a wee bit of pepper. On the palate, it is light and bright with berry (raspberry from the Frappato) and red cherry fruit, energy and grace in every sip, excellent acidity too, very refreshing, an exquisite balance of power and finesse and those lips drying at the finalé. Very Highly Recommended.

And if the Irish weather is warm when you get your hands on a bottle, don't hesitate to chill it a little, about forty minutes in the fridge did it for me. There was a little sediment, so maybe decant. If you forget, don’t worry!

Viña Albergada Tempranillo Rioja (DOC) 2016,  13%, €12.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

The colour of this young wine, a joven, is a dark ruby. There are expressive aromas of ripe red fruit (cherry, plum). On the palate it is juicy and fruity, with a touch of spice, very good acidity, quite refreshing. Perhaps not the longest of finishes but a good one. Highly Recommended.

The unoaked joven is a lighter, easy-drinking style of Rioja that offers great value-for-money. Great too, they hint, as an aperitif with Banderillas tapas (green olives, gherkins, onions and pimenta). And it is one of those reds that may be tried chilled.
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Monday, August 13, 2018

A Very Likeable Rogue. And One Sweet Wine.


A Very Likeable Rogue in his Sunday best

Matsu “El Picaro” Tinta de Toro (DO) 2017, 14.5%, €16.95 Bradley’s


Le Rogue
This “series” of wine, Matsu de Domingo”, recalls the spirit of the old Spanish Sunday: rest, church in your Sunday best, special dishes and the best wine opened. Check the website here for more details on this and others in the series.

Tinta de Toro is, as you probably know, Tempranillo, and the Matsu vines in the Toro region are cultivated using organic techniques. Like the man on the label, this El Picaro has youth on its side,  even if the fruit comes from 90 year old vines. The other wines show progressively older faces - worth a look on their website.

And that youth is illustrated in the deep ruby colour. There are intense dark berry aromas. On the palate, fruit flavours are the prominent feature as this fresh wine makes his merry way to a very pleasant finish indeed. Very Highly Recommended. I told you this is a engaging rogue! Even if some frown when there is a giggle, with El Picaro at its source, in the back of the chapel.

“The freshly ironed new shirt, the shiny shoes and the special hat. The best stews and the best wine. Tomorrow they will go back to work, but today is a day to rest and celebrate.  Today is Sunday.”  Enjoy!

Sweetly Traditional

Gerard Bertrand Banyuls Traditionnel (AP) 2013, 16%, €23.95 (got it on sale 19.16) O’Brien’s


Grenache, mostly from ancient bushes and often harvested only when they have reached the dried wrinkly stage (like raisins), is the main grape in this naturally sweet wine (vin doux naturel or VDN for short).  The fruit is grown in Mediterranean cooled French vineyards around Banyuls-sur-Mer, close to the Spanish border. 

While the traditional vinification process is underway and when the alcohol reaches 8 or 9 per cent, fermentation is halted by light fortification with a spirit. That full-stop leaves some sugar in the wine.

Banyuls is often compared to Port but is a gorgeous dessert wine in its own right, tasting drier than it actually is - no cloying syrupy stuff here. 

In the Rhone area of Rasteau they make a similar red dessert wine that also goes well with blue cheese (among other things, including chocolate). The World Atlas of Wine says straight out that Banyuls is France’s finest VDN.

Our Gerard Bertrand has a garnet colour; the aromas are of small red and darker fruit. On the palate it is full and well-balanced, fresh, elegant, yet with power and persistence. Very Highly Recommended.

They recommend pairing it with desserts of fruit, with créme brulée, with foie gras and also as an aperitif. I tried it with a mature Cashel Blue and it was quite a treat.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Trio of Excellent Reds from Mary Pawle Wines


A Trio of Excellent Reds 
from Mary Pawle Wines

According to Ana Fabiano in her 2012 book, The Wine Region of Rioja, you can expect good things from the winemakers of Rioja Baja. Their spirit is “based on enormous reverence for their land, respect for the heritage of their ancestors, and a commitment to carry it forward”. By the way, she mentions Luis Jiménez as one of the producers worth seeking out in the area and we have two of his below.


Ruiz Jiménez Paisajes Rioja (DOC) 2015, 14%, €17.70 Mary Pawle Wines


This organic Rioja is an “edition especial Garnacha 2015”, special because it is 100% Garnacha, not a drop of the customary Tempranillo. It is also rather special as “100% of the creative process is in our own hands.”

It is mid to deep ruby, bright and clear, legs reluctant to clear. Aromas of sweet red fruit, hints too of its season in the oak. Fruity and dry, elegant on the palate, this well balanced wine maintains its smooth power right through to the persistent finish, tannins still a factor. Beautifully reined-in power and Very Highly Recommended.


Pago de Valcaliente Rioja 2015, 14.5%, €26.30 Mary Pawle Wines

This organic wine has a cherry red colour. Fairly intense aromas of dark and red fruit fruits, and a hint of spice. Juicy, fruity and spicy, this young wine with its smooth tannins and balancing acidity is a tasty drop indeed and Highly Recommended.

The Valcaliente vineyard is in the Rioja Baja, one of the three areas of Rioja, and the producer is Luis Jiménez. This wine, a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, is aged in a concrete egg.

Domaine Bassac Syrah Côtes de Thongue (IGP) 2015, 13.5% €13.25 Mary Pawle Wines.

Produced by a young duo that started working here in the Languedoc in 2014, this Syrah is organic. It has a nice mid ruby colour and a moderately intense nose of blackcurrant. There is a fair concentration of fruit and spice in the palate. 

You’ll come across some much brasher Shiraz but this is a restrained and well-made Syrah, a rounded and a good warm wine and Highly Recommended. Importer Mary Pawle suggests trying it with Lamb Tagine. 

A young enough wine but do not hesitate to open an hour or two in advance and do also decant. Well worth the effort.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Three cracking reds

Marco Real Colection Privado Crianza Navarra (DOC) 2013, 14.5%, €17.40 Karwig

The wines of Navarra are not as prominent in the Irish market as those of Rioja, its next door neighbour in Spain's North West. But this impressive amalgam of Merlot, Tempranillo and Syrah, illustrates well why it should be taken more seriously. 

The grapes are hand-picked and sorted twice on arrival at the winery. Twelve months in new French oak barrels is followed by 12 months in bottle and that earns it the Crianza sticker (on the back of the bottle).

The legs here, as you might expect, are slow to clear; colour is a deep ruby. There is an attractive mix of aromas (mainly ripe red fruits) plus hints of oak. Silky, Fruity. Spicy. Tannins are more or less totally integrated as is the oak. This full-bodied intense wine has a persistent finish and is Very Highly Recommended. Good value as well.




Casa de la Ermita Idílico Jumilla (DOP) 2012, 14.5%, €19.99 (€15.00 on offer from 23/11 to 1/3) SuperValu

A blend of Petit Verdot and Monastrell, this Crianza comes from old vines grown at 700 metres above sea-level.

It has an intense garnet colour, the legs slow to clear as you'd expect. Intense aromas too: darker fruits, plum prominent, hints of mint too. Rich on the palate, full of concentrated fruit flavours, spice too and close-to-smooth tannins. Excellent finish also, leaving you with that second glass feeling. This newcomer to SuperValu is very welcome and Highly Recommended.

Koha (Merlot, Cabernet Franc) Hawkes Bay (New Zealand) 2016, 13%, €14.00 Marks and Spencer
As you can see, this is a blend of Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Franc. It won Platinum for the producers, the Giesen family, in the recent Decanter awards and it is exclusive to Marks and Spencer. The sunny region of Hawkes Bay is perfect for Merlot. Just noticed that the Giesens produce an unusual style “blend” of hard apple cider and white wine, in a can!

Back to our smooth and fruity wine with its deep purple colour. Warm dark fruits prominent in a lovely mix of aromas.  Plums and berries on the juicy palate, oak in the background. Fresh and vibrant, this smooth engaging young wine, medium to full-bodied, is worth getting to know. Highly Recommended. Pretty good value too. Match with roasts and BBQ.

The Koha, by the way, is a long tailed cuckoo, a summer visitor to New Zealand.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Shiraz and Tempranillo. No exotic grapes this week!

Shiraz and Tempranillo. No exotic grapes this week!

Okay, so I've been pushing some unusual grapes your way in recent posts. This week though, it's back to a couple of familiar old reliables, Shiraz and Tempranillo. Both are mainstream.

Shiraz is the common New World name for the French Syrah while Tempranillo (I regularly omit the "p") is grown worldwide but synonymous with Spain, especially with Rioja and Ribera Del Douro regions. I think you'll enjoy these two very drinkable expressions.

Flores de Callejo Ribera del Duero (DO) 2015, 14%, €17.70 Karwig

This organic wine is 100% Tempranillo and has spent six months in French oak. Not overly surprising that it is an excellent one. The 2015 has been declared a “good, easy vintage for us, perhaps less tannic and less abundant than 2014, but the quality is high”. And a tip for you: the good news continued into 2016.

You’ll note the typical cherry colour on the 2015. Quite an intense aroma, berries red and black, cherry too. Fruity and spicy, rather silky, on the palate, followed by a persistent finish. All in all a bright fruit-driven wine, well crafted, well balanced and, at first meeting, highly recommended. The softness of this one grows on you though and I revised the “verdict” to Very Highly Recommended.

Mt Monster Shiraz, Limestone Coast (Australia) 2011, 14.5%, €17.35 Karwig Wines

The Mount Monster wines are produced by the Bryson family who also do the Morambro Creek and Jip Jip Rocks labels. French and American oak has been used with this particular Shiraz but sparingly, the better to ensure that “maximum fruit expression is retained in the final wine”.

Colour is a pretty deep purple. Blackberry and plum on the nose with a bit of spice too. That policy with oak has paid off and there is no shortage of fruit on the palate, a little spice too. Sweet tannins add to the softness and all elements combine in a generous finish. Highly Recommended.

When wine-maker Brad Rey visited Cork a few years back he was thrilled with the 2008 version, thrilled that the minimum oak policy had worked so well. He said it may be served slightly chilled. “It is light fruit, blueberries and raspberries and the tannins are fruit tannins. This is about balance and reminds me of the joven I used to make in Spain.”


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ribera del Duero. “Cradle of the greatest wines”

Ribera del Duero
“Cradle of the greatest wines”
Tempranillo
Wine has been produced in the beautiful wine region of Ribera del Duero since Roman times, though it became well known outside of Spain only in the 1990s. Just two hours north of Madrid, there are over 270 vineyards following the banks of the Duero River in the Castilla y León region, a flowing swathe of land that’s approximately 115 kms long and 35 kms wide.

According to the World Atlas of Wine, there were just 24 bodegas in the region when the DO was created in 1982 and now there close to 300. You’ll find big companies there, such as Faustino and Torres, and many smaller outfits. And there are many small growers who sell their grapes to the winemakers.

Earlier in the week, at Cork’s Farmgate Cafe, Agustin Alonso González, Technical Director of D.O. Ribera del Duero and Vicente Marco Casamayor, the D.O. Ribera del Duero Director of Communications, led a tasting masterclass, ranging from the young ‘Joven’ wines to the ‘Reservas’ – wines of exemplary depth and balance, powerful and elegant, and great wines for food.

A few years ago, Larousse Wine described the DO as “truly the queen of the Iberian peninsula and the cradle of the greatest wines”. And Alonso echoed that with his opening rhetorical question: “Why are we different? Why are we not just another region? Why are we nowadays touted as a Premier area?”

There is of course more than one answer, though Alonso says that the average altitude of 850 metres “says everything”. The best wines are often made in extreme conditions, on the edge between possible and impossible.

 And Ribera is on the edge, certainly in terms of frost - they get a lot of it in the spring. Indeed, the rule, he said, is that you must have 200 frost free days per annum to make wine; they get a few less than that. Temperatures in summer can see big variations between the heat of the day and the cool of the night. And even more so between the summer (up to the mid 40s) and winter (down to minus 20).
The lone rosé

While other grapes are grown here, Tempranillo accounts for 96.5% of the harvest. Known locally as Tinta del Pais, the berries are smaller with a thicker skin. Because of the different proportion of fruit to skin, “it is better to make richer wines”. By the way, the DO does not include white wines, just rosé and red.

At The Farmgate, we would soon find out how good the wines were. We started off with a rosé and a few of the younger wines before moving on to those normally drank with food including a lovely Emilio Moro 2014, the “very typical crianza” produced by Valduero, and the Protos Crianza, “a very classical wine, French style, from the complicated harvest of 2013”.

At this tutored stage of the tasting, we had about ten wines and naturally finished with the best. I thought so and so did a few close by. Here are my top three, in no particular order.

Resalte Crianza 2011, a renowned wine say the producers; an exceptional vintage from a very hot year, according to Alonso. It has spent 14 months in oak (80% French, 20 American) and the promise of its “ripe fruit and typical oak aromas” is carried all the way to the finish. A powerful well-balanced wine with great potential for ageing (another feature of Ribera wines).

Pradorey, from Finca La Mina, was another star, this a reserva. This has spent 18 months in American oak, 6 in Nevers oak vats. “Iron fist in a velvet glove” was the phrase used on the day and its not too far off. It impresses all the way through, a gorgeous bouquet, fresh, balanced, silky on the palate and a long finish.

And like the Pradorey, the Protos Reserva “can last another 25 years”. This has been aged 18 months in oak and 18 in bottle. It has a beautiful “typical” cherry colour, a complex nose (includes jammy red fruits) and a powerful silky presence on the palate. Soft but with good acidity (for the food!) and a “lingering finish”. Superb. A good one for Christmas (although it was the Fournier Spiga 2010 that Alonso recommended for turkey!

That ended the “formal” part of the afternoon and then we tucked into a few nibbles from The Farmgate and tried a few other wines that were open. Here, I noted the aromatic Verónica Salgado Capricho Crianza 2012 as a favourite for its rich and vibrant palate and a long finish.

No shortage of good wines from “the modern red wine miracle of northern Spain”, a title bestowed on Ribera byThe World Atlas of Wine. Thanks to Wines of Spain, the Ribera DO, and Host & Co. for organising the opportunity and to The Farmgate, led by Mirko, for hosting.

Resalte Crianza 2011 - Smith & Whelan
Pradorey - GHS Classic Drinks
Protos - Comans Wholesale

The Farmgate. Bodega for a day.
How did Ribera do in the 2016 vintage? The full harvest story from Spain here.
Read all Ribera's Alejandro Fernández here, making wine his own way since 1975.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Celebrating international Tempranillo Day?

Celebrating international Tempranillo Day?
In Rioja, you may well hear familiar accents

If you ever find yourself in Rioja searching for Tempranillo, don't be surprised if you hear familiar accents in the bodegas. I was there a few years ago and at each of the three wineries visited in one afternoon, I was greeted by someone who had learned their English in Ireland, two in Dublin and one in Cork.
Rioja vineyards seen through the glass of Bai Gorri.
The receptionist here had learned her English in Cork. Doubcha by gorri.

Vinasperi Rioja (DOC) Crianza 2012, 13.5%, €15.15 Wines Direct

Celebrating international Tempranillo Day? Here’s a duo of bottles to help, one from Rioja Alavese and one below from Alta. Alavese is the most northerly of the three Rioja sub regions; the others are Alta (to the South West) and Baja (to the South East). 

This light bodied dry red is said to be a good example of the “modern style of Rioja”, a very pleasant one at that. It is quite a dark red and has pretty intense dark fruit aromas. And attractive fruit flavours also feature on the plum-y palate, barely a trace of tannins, just light and juicy, very approachable with a persistent finish. Highly Recommended.


Bodegas Gran Martinez Gold Selection Rioja (DOC) Crianza 2013, 13%, €17.30 Bubble Brothers (this bottle bought at Cinnamon Cottage).

This is a medium red colour with cherries and raspberries in the aromas and on the palate too where you'll also notice smoothness and power, vanilla and spice, fine tannins and a decent finish. Delicious and a touch more serious than the Vinasperi and also Highly Recommended.

The fruit comes from 40 year old vines; it spends 12 months in French and US oak and they recommend pairing it with roast lamb or beef.

Tempranillo, indigenous to Spain and used in the great Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines, is planted in 500,000 acres of the world’s vineyards, making it the fourth most planted wine grape, and that would be enough to celebrate.

Until recently, this noble grape’s entire acreage was almost all grown in Spain. But things have changed. Tempranillo today is grown in many more countries including the United States, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, France, Portugal, Turkey, Canada, China, Thailand, and more.

You’ll notice a Crianza sticker on these bottles and other coloured stickers on other bottles from Rioja. Here’s the key:
The green label (cosecha) indicates less than one year in oak, less than one in bottle.
The red label (crianza) indicates 1 year in oak, 1 in bottle.
The burgundy (reserva) indicates 1 year in oak, 2 in bottle.
The royal blue (gran reserva) indicates 2 years in oak, three years in bottle.

The periods are mimimum.

* 2017 Australia Day Tastings will be held in London on the 24 January at a brand new venue, B1 Bloomsbury Square, in Edinburgh on 26 January at The Balmoral Hotel and in Dublin on 30 January at the RHA Gallery.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Semele. Wine with a Smile


Semele. Wine with a Smile.
A Christmas Glass.
Semele Crianza 2013 Ribera del Duero (DO), 14%, Karwig Wines

The simple illustration on the front label, with a glass being lifted towards a smiling face, suggests this Spanish wine brings a good feeling. It certainly does, both inside and out. And a good way too to remember Joe Karwig as this was the last wine that the maestro bought.

The producer is Bodegas Montebaco and the blend is Tempranillo (90%) and Merlot, and it has spent 12 months in oak. Tempranillo is known here as Tinta del Pais. In wine terms, the Ribera del Duero region has come from nowhere in the last 30 years to rival neighbours Rioja. Soccer fans might know Valladolid, a large city here.

The colour of the wine is an intense cherry. The aromas of ripe fruit (dark, plummy) are also intense. Fresh and rich of flavour, some spice too and really fine tannins, it is smooth and round and comes with a top notch finish. Very Highly Recommended. Many wineries in the region buy in grapes but this concentrated gem is made entirely from grapes picked on their Monte Alto estate in the heart of Ribera.

Semele was the mother of Dionysus, the Greek god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine and a whole lot of mischief!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Travels with Tempranillo. Not just a Rioja resident

Travels with Tempranillo
Not just a Rioja resident
In La Rioja

For a long while, I associated Tempranillo primarily with La Rioja in Spain. But is also huge in neighbouring Ribero del Duero, a region that has come to prominence over the last 35 years or so. Indeed, Tempranillo (often blended) is grown across the north of Spain (with the exception of the Atlantic region of Riax Baixas). You’ll find it in Cigales, Navarra, Cariñena, and in Catalunya generally (including Penedes).


In some places in Spain, it is called Tinto Fino or Tinto del Pais. It has at least two names in Portugal. Tinta Roriz is probably the most common and this is used as one of the grapes for Port in the Douro and in Alentejo it is called Aragonês (also its name in Brazil). Tinto Roriz crops up in a big way in Argentina where more than 15,000 acres are planted. By contrast, it has a miniscule presence in Chile.

No Rioja wines in the three below. The first is from Ribero, the second from Navarra and the third, a blend, from Valencia. An interesting trio!






Bodegas Felix Callejo Vina Pilar Crianza 2010, Ribero del Duero (DO), 14%, €19.75 Karwig Wines

Ribera del Duero has been called “the modern red wine miracle of northern Spain” by the World Atlas of Wine and it is very well represented here by this Very Highly Recommended wine.

Colour is an intense ruby, with long legs on the glass. Leather and pretty intense dark fruits on the nose. It is full bodied with flavours of fruit, spice, vanilla, with fairly fine tannins, excellent acidity and a long finish.


Pleno Tempranillo 2014, Navarra (DO), 13.5%, €8.99 O’Donovan’s Off Licence
This comes with quite a name already, having been voted the Gold Star Winner for Old World Red (Under €10.00) in the 2013/14 Irish Wine Show run annually by NOFFLA. Colour is purple tinged, and bright. Aromas bring a rush of red fruits, promising much. And that promise is delivered in the mouth with delicious flavours and some spice; it is a smooth medium bodied wine, tannins are fine and it is fresh with good acidity and decent length. A splendid introduction to Tempranillo, easy-drinking and very good value indeed. Highly Recommended.

Aculius Reserva 2006, Valencia, 13.5%, €18.55 Karwig Wines

A replica Roman coin hangs around the neck of this blend of Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah. It is fermented in new French oak and, in the same wood, aged for 12 months on its lees. 

Produced by La Casa de les Vides, it is rather intense, both on the nose and on the palate. It is rich, with an excellent mouthfeel, some spice and a persistent satisfying finish. Highly Recommended.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wine Time! Three To Consider

Wine Time!

Three To Consider
Seventeen months in oak.

Coto de Imaz 2008 Reserva Rioja (DOC), 13.5%, €19.60, Karwig Wines

This dark cherry coloured gem from La Rioja has spent 17 months in American oak and a further three years in bottle.The fruit aromas promise much and, with this well balanced wine, you don't have to wait long for the fulfilment. A complex well-aged, well-made wine “from a selection of the best Tempranillo grapes in Rioja”. In the mouth, it feels close to velvet and the tannins are a little grippy. Excellent overall and Very Highly Recommended.

Almirante’s Pionero Mundi Albarino 2013 (Rias Baixas), 12.5%, €14.95 at Mitchell & Sons, Dublin; Skelly’s of Longford; Bradley’s of Cork; and others


There are more than 600 pages in the 1994 Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine and the Spanish region of Rias Baixas gets about a 1/3rd of a page, enough though for the editors to note that “the Albarino, a variety of such excellence that almost the whole wine industry in the province..has been built on it”. It was indeed a solid foundation and, 21 years on, the results are now being tasted and acclaimed near and far.


Colour in this example is a light gold with green tints. The white fruit aromas are intense and gorgeous. And then there is the unmistakable tingle of the Albarino, fresh and fruity and yet so dry, all followed by a long reverberating finish. Very Highly Recommended.






Piantaferro Primitivo Di Manduria (DOC) 2012, 14%, €13.99 SuperValu

Greeting here is an aroma of dark fruits, plums mainly. Fruit flavours are quite concentrated and there is some spice, maybe a touch of liquorice and a silky input of tannin. Overall it is quite rich with a long finish. Well made, well balanced and Highly Recommended.

Primitivo, genetically similar to California's Zinfandel, has emerged as “the most consumer-friendly grape” of Puglia, the heel of Italy. Could be a handy one to have around when grilling on the BBQ this summer, even if you may have to eat indoors!