Browse Tag

northwest spain

Ameztoi soldiers

Amesguren “Ameztoi” 2009 Getariako Txakolina Rubentis (Northwest Spain) – Fizzy, chalky, fizzy, short, fizzy, drawing down to its finale, and fizzy. Did I mention the fizz? Bites more than purrs, nipping and snapping at every approach. (8/10)

Naturala aboard

Isastegi 2008 Sagardo Naturala (Northwest Spain) – I like cider in various styles, but prefer dry. And this is dry. Also: nicely bitter, electric, and raspy. It cannot be ignored. (8/10)


Pazo de Arribi 2006 Bierzo Mencía (Northwest Spain) – I’m breaking with my normal nomenclature here because the winery name (in the fine print) is RNE 8179-LE…no, really…and I just can’t bear to see that in print. A contract bottling for Classical Wines, the importer? Could be. And I admit that, as a result, I’m trepidatious given the history of such things. But no fears are necessary, other than the usual worries about continuity of sourcing: this is a very tasty wine. Red, blue, and black fruit – not purple, though – well-structured and showing layers of decayed-flower aromatics. Tellicherry pepper dust, too. (8/10)

Hooked on a feeling

Gurrutxaga 2009 Bizkaiko Txakolina Txakoli Rosé (Northwest Spain) – In the context of pink Txakolina, this is heavy…which, of course, means it’s bright, brittle, and whipsnapped with strawberry crispness compared to most other pink wines. That said, it’s short, simple-minded, and a little stale. The weight doesn’t add anything here. (5/10)


Castro Ventosa “El Castro de Valtuille” 2007 Bierzo Mencia “Joven” (Northwest Spain) – Aromatic, like freshly-crushed handfuls of dried flowers and dried berries, but with a weird imbalance between stridency and abruptness. It screeches forth at volume 11, and then…poof. Too much intensity up front, not enough to sustain later on. (5/10)

Getariako sauce

Amesguren “Ameztoi” 2008 Getariako Txakolina Rubentis (Northwest Spain) – Full of leafy floaters – I’m assuming tartrates, but note that they don’t settle very quickly – and showing no signs of fatigue despite the precipitation. All the strawberry/strawberry leaf and zippy, fizzy punch are still present and vibrant. I often feel that this should be ladled from a large, ice-filled bowl rather than cooped up in a bottle. And I meant that affectionately. (3/10)

Caneiro in a coal mine

Losada Fernández “Viña Caneiro” 2007 Ribeira Sacra (Northwest Spain) – A very complete wine, with full-throated mass but without overwhelming density. The fruit is dark and brooding, though there are leafier, petaled elements within, and the texture is of powder hinting at graphite. There’s plenty of acidity, as well. A really nice wine. (1/10)


Losada Fernández “Pena do Lobo” 2008 Ribeira Sacra (Northwest Spain) – Red apples and raspberries, with a cranberry tartness to the acidity. Thin in odd places and at odd moments, with gritty tannin that takes a steadier path through the wine’s length. Good, if a bit awkward, but needs food. (1/10)

A consummate Txomin

[vineyard]Txomin Etxaniz 2007 Getariako Txakolina (Northwest Spain) – Always one of the more restrained, bony txakoli, like the white paper wrapping for a wine rather than the wine itself, this is especially held-back – I’m given to understand – by its vintage, which encourages this void-revealing transparency. It’s hard to either like or dislike this too much. It just sort of is. (12/09)