Browse Tag

center-north spain

Carballo maceration

Carballo 2008 Lanzarote Negramoll (Canary Islands) – Diffident. Never gets around to developing. It may be mild TCA that’s below my threshold, it may just be a muted or otherwise damaged wine, but there’s nothing on which to base a note here. (11/10)

Muga chaka, Muga, Muga

[bottle]Muga 2008 Rioja Rosado (Center-North Spain) – Tasted next to a more oxidized and much older Rioja rosado (yes, López de Heredia), what’s interesting to me is not the points of difference – lusher, more present fruit at a higher volume – but rather the points of commonality. The suggestions of oxidation (the pleasant kind) are already present, as are the pillowy minerality than will erode to something more skeletal with time. So many rosés from elsewhere are about sharp red fruit; these are anything but, showing more kinship with the low plains and valleys of the region’s whites than with the sultrier reds from which they’re varietally derived. (2/10)

Darian Clarke

Darian 2006 Rioja (Center-North Spain) – Straightforward, entry-level Rioja. Red fruit, sun-weakened, over clumps of tan soil and indefinite pepper dust. Some oak. A fair wash of acidity. Pleasant, but not much more. (1/10)

Peter North

R. López de Heredia “Viña Tondonia” 1981 Rioja Blanco (Center-North) – Served too cold, but that’s easily resolved, and the wine improves as it rises through the degrees. Wax, old maple furniture, immovable slabs of granite, and gentle hints of old lemon lead to a candle-flame finish. A little subdued vs. other semi-recent tastings, but still nice. (9/08)

Muga-chaka, muga-muga-muga-chaka

[vineyard]Muga 2007 Rioja Rosado (Center-North) – Seems gentler than it is; a fading salmon sunset with a surprising depth and weight to it, rich with old pinkish fruit, guava, and a bit of persimmon. Then there’s apple skin, which adds a bit of tannic complexity, and a finely balanced acidity, and a mild oxidation, yet the wine remains well-knit and beautifully formed. A sophisticated rosé. (1/09)

Muga-chaka, Muga, Muga

[bottle]Muga 2007 Rioja Rosado (Center-North) – What intrigues me about this wine is how it tastes like an aged rosé – not something most people drink – without being tired or yielding to oxidation, even though there is a touch of the latter. Strawberry, persimmon, perhaps a bit of cranberry…but all in well-aged form, rather than their bright, squirty, fresh-from-the-vine expression (as found in most rosés). Perhaps the effect could best be described as a slight intellectualization of pink. (10/08)

The fine line

[vineyard]López de Heredia “Viña Tondonia” 1997 Rioja Rosado (Center-North) – Old library plus fruitwood-smoked skins and rinds, with the memory and contextualization rather than the actual existence of fruit as it is commonly understood. Breathtakingly opinionated and highly controversial. I both love and hate it, and see no contradiction in those responses. (6/08)

Tobe orbe notbe tobe bebe

Martínez Laorden 2004 Rioja “La Orbe” (Center-North) – Roasted red fruit, a bit wan in parts, but simply presented with neither pretense nor haphazardness. I’d like a little more…I don’t know, something…from this wine, but maybe time will bring it. There’s wood, but it’s certainly neither overwooded nor dried out. (5/08)

Accusations of Byass

[tio pepe]Gonzalez Byass “Tio Pepe” Palomino Fino Sherry “Extra Dry” (Jerez) – Shy nose, shy and soft palate, some raw green olive. A beginner’s Sherry. There’s nothing wrong with that, but aficionados will find little of interest here, and even novice experimenters will move on rather quickly. (11/07)