Tag Archives: Spanish Red

Beat the Heat With high value Spanish Wines!

31 May

When summer begins to swelter, we find ourselves reaching for something to cool off with. Most people go for a light white wine, some people prefer a chilled rosé. But when I toured the Mediterranean and was impressed with how refreshing the wines of Spain can be in the heat!

Spain is covered with grape vines, most of which are quite old. Age means deep vines, which which equates to small grapes with a robust flavor profiles: rich, acidic reds, and delicate, herbaceous whites.

 

Start with Albariño. In several years of tastings, Paco & Lola from Rias Baixas have consistently been in the top picks. There run from under $20 to low $30’s for aged Albariño. The 2012 pictured below, right, is gorgeously concentrated and a stellar aged white for serious oenophiles.

 

The bright polka dots of Paco & Lola are easily distinguished in a wine store. Take a bottle home and tell me if you don’t adore it!

 

 

 

 

Garnacha Blanca (White Grenache) and Verdejo are two wines that are lesser-known in the USA, but extremely popular in Europe. Some of Spain’s finest wines are made from Verdejo, with delicate flavor and beautiful structure.

 

 

Viura-chardonnay blends like the one below from Faustino are easy to find, herbaceous with bright white fruit, tasty in the heat, and easy on the wallet – around $15/bottle.

 

 

Bright, delicious reds like these old vine ’15 Garnacha and 2016 Cariñena (below) are delicious by themselves slightly chilled, and pair with food easily. Believe it or not, they can often be found for under $10/bottle, but drink well compared to other bottles you might find for twice the price.

 

 

Last but not least, you can often find aged Rioja and Gran Reserva wines that are beautifully aged reds, in the $30-70 range. These offer rarity and great age at a tremendous value.

 

 

Try wines from Spain’s Rioja and Cariñena regions this summer- slightly chilled to beat the heat- and let me know how you like them, and what your favorite pairings are!

 

 

à votre santé!

International #TempranilloDay 11.8.18!

30 Oct

Did you know November 8th is International Tempranillo Day?
Well,  NOW YOU DO!

Bodegas Lan Rioja Gran Reserva 2010; Fuenmayor, Spain. 13.5%ABV, SRP $23/bottle.

 

Color is ruby with magenta edging. The nose is vast and expressive with red cassis and plum, tobacco leaf, eucalyptus, cigar box,  and forest floor. On the palate is a lively series of dark red fruit with so much spice: mocha, vanilla, oak, licorice, leather, and spice box. Medium bodied, full-flavored, and so much fun to drink!

 

This lusty, vibrant red is a blend of primarily (94%) Tempranillo with 4% Mazuelo(aka carignan), spending 24 months in oak barrels before maturing 36 months in the bottle. The time spent aging this shows quite nicely, and is well worth the effort -especially at this price point.

I poured a glass, thinking it would pair well with my grilled meat & vegetables. Oh, it did, but one taste and immediately I felt like I was in Barcelona again. I just wanted to put my nose in the glass to inhale the luxurious and lengthy nose, then relax and take sip after sip to enjoy the sunset. Delicious, and a lovely value!

And did I mention, it also pairs beautifully with grilled meats, savory dishes and cheeses. Where can you find a decent aged red blend for under $25? #Rioja !

 

#TempranilloDay

#BodegasLAN

#RiojainThreeLetters

 

à votre santé!!

 

El Chaparral De Vega Sindoa Old Vine Garnacha

10 Jun

El Chaparral De Vega Sindoa 2015 Old Vine Garnacha, by Bodegas Nekeas, Navarra, Spain. 14.9% ABV, SRP $14/bottle.

Color is garnet with ruby edging. The nose offers young raspberries and green cuttings. On the palate the fruit is red plum, raspberry and boysenberry. Notes of black pepper, aged wood, granite and clay on the long finish. Bold flavors with a solid, matching tannic backbone: this a nicely balanced, medium-bodied wine that is certainly suited with grilled meat or game. I opened this and tried it with strong cheeses where it paired well, but the next day I fired up the grill and paired this with steak and the wine sang so beautifully in that pairing! I sipped it after the meal, enjoying the silky texture and full mouthfeel with the same level of satisfaction, and would pick this bottle up again in a heartbeat. This 100% old vine garnacha has the fruit profile of a cab with the texture of pinot. At this price, you’d be foolish not to pick some up for the summer! A terrific value, this is a wonderful alternative to cabernet sauvignon for grilling or tapas and drinks like a $30 bottle with a price tag less than half that on the street.

#WIYG?

à votre santé!

David Phinney & Locations Wine E4

2 Oct

If you don’t know Dave Phinney by name, you surely know his work. Phinney’s red giant of a wine star The Prisoner red blend is found in steakhouses around the world, and is also the headliner of The Prisoner Wine Company  that Phinney sold to Huneeus Vintners a few years back. Just this past June, Phinney’s Orin Swift Cellars series (featuring popular wines like Papillon and Abstract) was purchased by E&J Gallo as an addition to their luxury brand portfolio. Talk about the secret to wine success!

Phinney’s current project is taking his style of winemaking abroad while keeping it affordable. Locations Wine allows Phinney to blend across regions and AVAs, without boundaries or compromise, with MSRPs under $20/bottle.

 

Locations Wine E4 Spanish Red Wine; 14.5%ABV, MSRP $18.99. Sample provided by Balzac Communications.
A mix of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Monastrell, a Cariñena grapes were sourced from the famed Spanish wine regions of Priorat, Jumilla, Toro, Rioja, and Ribera del Duero and blended to make E4 sing a story of old vines, low yield, quality grapes than any household can afford. Barrel aged ten months prior to release.

Color is deep purple. Nose of black plum and cassis, with hints of rosemary and oregano. On the palate, juicy ripe and concentrated blackberry & black plum are dominant, followed by with green herbs, spice, wood, vegetation and lasting minerality, all deftly placed in this tasty blend. The mid and rear palate are as delightful as the initial rush. The lengthy finish has notes of potting soil, cedar, bitter herb, oregano, and wet stone. Overall impression is a well-balanced wine of obvious Spanish heritage, with spicy upfront fruit matched by a series of notes and flavors, marrying bold flavors with intense heat, powerful acidity and strong tannins.

I enjoyed tasting the E4 by itself, for starters. When I paired the E4 with food, I stopped thinking about the specific notes and depth of flavors, and suddenly just enjoyed the experience. To have that transcendence is what wine and food pairing is really about– a seamless boost in pleasure, elevating the relationship of food and wine, making the individual elements better by the complement and combination of flavors.

 

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And what about the ability to create wines that make people enjoy themselves and forget why they were tasting a wine in the first place? That is why Dave Phinney is such a tremendous winemaker. Trust me, if you aren’t a fan already, you will be soon enough.

 

 

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This E4 is such a delightful wine, it makes me excited to taste the AR5 (from Argentina) and F5 (from France). Reviews on JvB UnCorked will be coming soon!

à votre santé!

 

Three Garnachas Not To Miss!

23 Sep

I had a blast on #GarnachaDay, and if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you might have seen the carnage! (You still can if you hit these sites and search for “#garnachaday jvbuncorked” . An early afternoon master class in Garnacha was followed by tapas and 25 more Garnacha wines. Only hours later, I joined a live, Online Snooth Garnacha Tasting with two very smart, highly respected sommeliers, Laura Maniec and Christy Canterbury, both accredited Masters of Wine.

What a day of wine tasting! Of the featured wines, all were great, solid, and terrific values, many under $15/bottle. Two wines have great potential but would be better with age. Three of the ten wines from these tastings really grabbed me personally.  So here they are, my gold medal winners:

 

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La Miranda Secastilla Garnacha Blanca 2013. 13.5% ABV, Available locally and online for as little as $8/bottle! 

Pale straw in color, with a nose of herbs, freshly cut grass, lychee and banana. On the palate, a lovely balance of citrus, savory melon, and a matching acidity that pushes the flavors from the side and rear palate up to the top. Notes of herbs du Provence, spice and vanilla bean on the finish. The decadence in this wine makes me want to serve it to my fellow chardonnay lovers to remind them how stunning the rest of the world’s wines are. At this price point, it is mind-blowingly good, and stayed delicious for a week in the fridge so I could dole myself out a half ounce each night to see if I still really loved this wine. I did.

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Coto De Hayas Garnacha Centenaria, 2014. 14% ABV, I found this wine locally for $12/bottle and online as low as $10/bottle.

Color is deep ruby and the nose shows fresh, lively red fruit. On the palate it starts simply but grows in complexity. Like a concerto, gentle and delightful red cherries begin. Slowly they are joined by allspice, black pepper, stone and clay. With a triumphant swirl into the apex of the movement, notes of rose bush, red pepper, leather, and spice box emerge. Medium long finish, high satisfaction. Very nice by itself, but terrific with food. A crowd-pleasing wine.

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Last but not least, Particular Garnacha 2012 Viñas Centenarias de San Valero. 14.5% ABV, MSRP $26, found online for $18/bottle. 

This wine shows historic Burgundian winemaking features, so it is of no surprise it won me over. Deep maroon in color,  delicate, perfumed nose and flavors. Blue fruit on the palate; balanced, gentle, and reserved, with a luxurious mouthfeel. A beautifully feminine wine. Age-worthy and concentrated, with a long, ethereal finish.  This is Garnacha via Coco Chanel and Harry Winston: Classic style and elegance.

 

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I hope you spend the time to find these or other garnacha wines to taste. They offer quality and value beyond the price tag. As we like to say, the proof is in the glass!

à votre santé!

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Señorío de P. Peciña Cosecha 2013 Rioja

12 Jun

Señorío de P. Peciña Cosecha 2013 Rioja, DOC, Spain.  13% ABV, $13/bottle average online price.

Color is a bright purple with ruby edging and good clarity. The nose features powerful blackberry with notes of  forest floor and stone. In the mouth, blackberry, plum, black cherry and eucalyptus meet solid tannins and acidity, making a nice balance for this young wine. Notes of earth, peat, calcium and chalky clay show on the top and back palate before the medium-short finish. The grapes used in this blend are primarily tempranillo with tiny percentages of garnacha and graciano. I find this Rioja to be a pleasure to drink and a solid value as a food-driven wine. It is a perfect red for summer nights and barbecued meats, but capable of driving a winter roast as well. At this price, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more from this producer, and remind myself of the advice I give to others about “the great value spanish wines offer”. This one is spot on!

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à votre santé!

Senseless about Great Buys: Sensible Tudela De Duero Tempranillo

2 Jun

Isaac Fernandez Selection’s Sensible Tudela de Duero 2013 Tempranillo (Spain).
14% ABV; List @ $12.99 /bottle, purchased from Garagiste at $7.99/bottle!

 

“Wishing I had bought more” is a tasting note that I should celebrate (for finding a great wine) instead of being frustrated. Alas, sometimes you realize you missed a great opportunity. Well, this wine is still a bargain at the street price, so don’t you worry!

A Spanish delight! Color is a murky ruby with purple center. The nose shows black fruit, a hint of kiln dried wood and minerals. In the mouth, black cherry and blackberries, smoky black pepper, secondary notes of vanilla, cedar, forest floor, halite and some gravelly chalk on the full and savory finish that resounds with a tight, tannic mouthfeel.

Sensible

Very satisfying on the palate and a lovely complement for food. I had forgotten everything about this wine and pulled it out of a mixed case for a dinner with family, and my brother-in-law and I both loved it on first taste, then more with a little air, and I continued to appreciate it for several days. Not until a week later did I realize this was a $13 bottle I had acquired for only $8 and made the mistake of only buying two. Live and learn… a few cases would have been perfect, but maybe Fernandez will do even better with the ’14 and ’15. Keep your eyes peeled.

à votre santé!

 

Finca La Mata Ribera Del Duero 2012

25 Jun

Isaac Fernandez Selection’s Finca La Mata Ribera Del Duero 2012. $17-19 per bottle, 14%ABV.

Opaque violet in the center with ruby edging, the nose shows bright red fruit and green pepper. In the mouth, strawberry, cherry, and red plum flavors are followed by strong acidity and tannins. The medium-long finish shares gravel, sandy clay, oak, and notes of forest floor.

Finca la Mata

Made from old vine Tinta del Pais grapes and matured eight months in oak barrels, this wine sits squarely between the bright fruit of a great pinot and the depth and complexity of a cabernet. It’s fascinating, easy to drink, and pairs well with red meat, strong cheese, or just as easily with powerful flavors like spicy black bean tostadas.

This is a bottle that has been sitting in my cellar waiting for a perfect opportunity, that finally arrived. In this under $20 price range, it offers excellent value for 60+ year old vines full of flavor and depth, as well as great conversation. I honestly can’t wait to see how it tastes in three and five more years, and hope I can manage to keep some bottles that long!

à votre santé!

Garnacha With Love

17 Nov

The wine grape Grenache in France, or Garnacha, as it’s called in Spain, is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. Sadly in the USA, we tend to think of it primarily as a blending grape, when there are many vineyards producing great single varietals. I recently had an opportunity to taste six of the Spanish beauties, and the first four wines have tasting notes are below. Thanks to Sofia Gonzalez, Wines of Garnacha, and Stefanie Schwalb for the tasting!

 

La Miranda de Secastilla 2012, Granacha Blanca, Spain. 13.5% ABV, Street price $13-14/bottle.

Color is a neutral medium straw. With a delightfully floral nose, honeysuckle and sweet white peaches, the mouth gets a crisp fruit attack with creaminess in the body before the acidity. Some gentle minerality of sandy loam and aged cedar plank on the finish. The overall experience is rich and opulent, and understand the depth of this compliment: I really enjoyed this bottle, would accept this wine in place of a white Bordeaux blend in the same price range of $13-20.
LaMirandadeSacastilla

 

 

Castillo de Monséran Cariñena Garnacha 2012 by San Valero. 12.5% ABV. Street price $8.

Color is medium violet with garnet edging, the nose is gentle blue fruit, menthol and old wood. Black plum, blueberry, and black cherry are evident on the soft palate with hints of forest floor, potting soil, and an essence of stone on the finish that reminds you of Pyrenees mountain range. Really surprising value to be had here; with the soft fruit and complex body this bottle compares well with wines over $35.

CastillodeMonseran

 

Vinas Del Vero’s Secastilla Somontano Garnacha 2009. 14.5% ABV. $24 street.

Deep garnet in color, a nose of blackberry jam. Dark, spicy black fruit on the palate. Robust and viscous, this wine begs for tapas and Spanish entrees but paired equally well with chili, Mexican, and a spicy chicken stir-fry.

SecastillaB&G

 

PDM Pagos del Mancayo, Garnacha 2012, Campo de Borja, Spain. 14% ABV, Online from $12-14/bottle.

Deep violet color, nose of blue and black young fruit with green vegetation, and a hint of dank compost. On the palate, the fruit is muted yet mature, while strong tannin and acidity remain. An ideal wine for protein-heavy tapas: not overpowering, but palate cleansing. Very dark palate and secondary flavors, forest floor, tar, cedar, graphite, and coffee grounds. My food pairing choice was mediocre but the strong flavors in the bottle made me certain that a proper pairing shows this as a stunning wine. Hearty meals centered on meat would pair best, such as a stew, roast, or meat sauce. http://pagosdelmoncayo.com/en/11-garnacha.html

PdM Garnacha

 

Overall I was impressed by the quality of the wines I tasted, and was glad to be educated to the quality of this grape by the sampling. This tasting certainly opened my eyes and my taste buds, and I enjoyed both the wide range of flavors, the quality of production and the end value to the consumer that was demonstrated by these producers, and I know that you will appreciate them as well!

What’s your favorite garnacha/grenache wine? Click the comments tab and let me know!

à votre santé!

Spice Is Nice, WOW at this price! Your BBQ Rioja is here!

23 May


Finca Valdeguinea Rioja, Spain; 2012. Ltd Edition (15,000 bottles), 14% ABV. Astor Wine & Spirits, $7/bottle.

Made from 100% tempranillo, the color is violet with ruby edging. The nose is of black plum and cherry, while in the mouth blackberry, sour cherry, and black plum flash the palate along with nice acidity. Additional notes of spice, vanilla bean, licorice, new leather, and tart vegetation on the back palate with a nice finish that was longer than I expected. Great for pairing with spicy food, held up beautifully to my spicy chicken fajitas, but will also work well with pizza, any tomato sauce, or red meat. Delightful on the palate and a good value at this cost.

Simply put, a great BBQ wine. I should buy more for the summer. And I love the tongue-in-cheek label, it looks like so many white tablecloths I’ve ruined. You, too?

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à votre santé!

 

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