Browse Tag

levant

Telmo more

Telmo Rodríguez 2013 Monastrell “Al-muvedre” (Levant) — The deep, musky, sludgy side of mourvèdre; but neither tarted up nor laden with artifice. It’s a fist to the palate (and each gulp is a repeat punch), but it’s entirely self-possessed and eminently drinkable…though it does require the usual grilled mastodon steaks as an accompaniment. (4/16)

Raspay with my little eye

Primitivo Quiles 2004 Alicante “Raspay” (Levant) – Like a blend of zippy naturalism and stronger, darker, warm-climate mass, this straddles – not always comfortably – a bit of a chasm between its refreshing fruit and its obvious structure. Whether it will get better or worse with time I can’t tell, but its quality (of which it has a surplus) does, at the moment, demand food. (8/12)

Fondillon money

Primitivo Quiles “Fondillon” Alicante “Gran Reserva” (Levant) – “The best sherry I’ve had all year,” I joke. I’m not even sure if the joke’s true, but it’s a pretty extraordinary wine in that style, volatile, pointing and gesturing at oxidation, and mold-influenced (in a stylistically authentic way). It’s really big, though, and there’s not much subtlety to it at the moment. Maybe that will emerge and maybe it won’t, but it’s hard to ignore, and eventually the din is very slightly wearisome. Another wine for small-quantity consumption. (11/10)

Jumilla Jovovich

Casa de la Ermita 2005 Jumilla Dulce Monastrell (Levant) – From 375 ml. I keep trying this wine, and it never gets more appealing than it does intriguing: dusty tannin, black fruit, syrupy texture and sweetness, and the rough, stony animalism that signifies the variety. It doesn’t work for me. (3/10)

Almansa genius

[vineyard]Almanseñas “La Huella de Adaras” 2005 Almansa (Levant) – Purple fruit, focused and cylindrical, into which hints and allegations of black dirt cannot penetrate far. It’s young, yet it already seems to be all the way to wherever it’s getting. Juicy and gluggarrific. (4/09)

Ermita crab

[vineyard]Casa de la Ermita 2006 Jumilla Blanco Dulce (Levant) – 500 ml. Sweet, perfumed, and muscatty, leaning towards its riper orange blossom expression. (I should say that I don’t know that the wine’s actually made from muscat. It tastes like it is, though.) As the wine aerates, it grows more tropical, but never really develops into anything I’d call lush…or, for that matter, complex. There’s a steady-state density akin to light fortification, as well, though I’m fairly certain that the wine is not fortified; it’s appealing rather than heated, and adds some welcome texture to a pretty but otherwise simple wine. (4/09)

I Raspay with my little eye

Primitivo Quiles “Raspay” 2002 Alicante (Levant) – Deeply warming, comforting, almost enveloping. Rich, roasted redfruit and layers of elegant, complex earth with a fine-grained texture and a truly gorgeous finish. Absolutely stunning. (5/08)

Waiting for verdot

[label]Casa de la Ermita 2003 Jumilla Petit Verdot (Levant) – 100% petit verdot…and isn’t varietal petit verdot from Jumilla what a jaded wine world has been clamoring for? There’s a prickle of sulfur on the nose, but it blows off fairly quickly, exposing some sort of breakfast cereal with dried blueberries and a dusty, chalky texture. Austere and extremely arid. I haven’t tasted a lot of petit verdot on its own (and what I’ve tasted has almost exclusively come from barrels prior to blending), but this seems to represent the generally incomplete nature of the variety with which I’m slightly familiar. So how do I judge it? As varietal petit verdot, it seems successful…an interesting intellectual exercise, though lacking any sense of fun. As a wine, however, the lack of fun becomes the majority report. I’d like to try this from a less extreme vintage, though I have no idea if it would make a difference; for all I know, it would exacerbate the problems. (10/07)

Y, ll, gn

Casa de la Ermita 2006 Jumilla Viognier (Levant) – 100% viognier. God, what a relief it is to taste a white after all these brutal reds. As such, I might be slightly more favorably-inclined towards this wine than it deserves. Anyway, there’s a big, almost lurid quality to the wine, but it nicely dances away from the edge of soup, showing honeysuckle and fruit salad with a dry minerality at its core. Good acidity persists a little too long, watering down the limey finish, which tightens up more than I’d like. Still, I have to admit that given a choice between this and a goopy, oaky, overwrought Condrieu (like Cuilleron), I’d take this in a heartbeat. (10/07)