Browse Tag

northwest spain

Albares necessities

[vineyard]Dominio de Tares 2003 Bierzo “Albares” (Northwest Spain) – There’s a struggle here, in that a wine that wants to be lighter and more aromatic tries to, but cannot, escape an inherent gravity that no doubt comes from the vintage. There are hints of enticing crushed-petal aromatics, but they’re sensed only through shadow and density, rather than in full burst and bloom. It’s a good wine, but the weight it carries can’t quite be supported by its skeleton or flesh. (2/09)

Big old txakolina, don’t carry me too far away

Arabako Txakolina 2007 Txakoli de Álava Txakoli “Xarmant” (Northwest Spain) – Filled with the spike and needle of bubbles, quite acidic, and elusive in its bare-bone, eroded-sand fashion. I love the tactility, but the wine within is a little too absent for me. (1/09)


Adria “The Pilgrimage” 2007 Bierzo Godello (Northwest Spain) – There’s a layer of thickness here through which one must press, initially, and the effort leads to…well, not very much. Some wan stone fruit in an otherwise watery soup, in which the alcohol is left to fill in the gaps. Not very good. (10/08)

Codax moment

Codax 2005 Rias Baixas Albariño (Northwest Spain) – Daisy-fresh, riding a line between stone fruit, apple, and salty lemon. Very pleasant. (9/08)

Pazo tea

Pazo Pondal 2004 Rias Baixas Albariño (Northwest Spain) – Sweet lemon juice, rind, and curd, with grapefruit along for the lemony ride. Summery and sunny, though a touch hot. There’s a bit of a carbonic sizzle to the finish, which is refreshing. (10/06)


[bottle]Dominio de Tares 2003 Bierzo “Exaltos Cepas Viejas” (Northwest Spain) – Overwhelmed with coconut and vanilla, which completely obscure any other characteristics in the wine. Just no good. (6/08)


Castro Bergidum 2004 Bierzo (Northwest Spain) – Disjointed, with spiky acidity and lashes of tart fruit; there’s a lot that’s good here, but none of it is interesting in cohering. Thus, the overall impression is one of angry flailing, without purpose. (5/08)

Of two

Ambos 2006 Bierzo “De 2” (Northwest Spain) – Fantastically aromatic, well-baked and dry but with plenty of desert-edge floral life, dark fruit, and tons of earth. Yet it’s not a heavy wine, exactly; perhaps muscular but agile would be a better description. I wouldn’t age it too long, but I don’t think it’s in immediate danger of falling apart, either. (5/08)

New mountain

[vineyard]Valdesil “MonteNovo” 2006 Valdeorras Godello (Northwest Spain) – Thick minerality braced by effortless ripe-apple acidity and smoother, softer textures of melon and the less-sweet types of stone fruit. Builds in reaction to food, then subsides into a pleasant cocktail in food’s absence. A fun wine. (5/08)

Descendents ascendant

Descendientes de J. Palacios 2006 Bierzo “Pétalos” (Northwest Spain) – I’ve struggled with this wine, often finding it too leaden and tasting too much of primary barrel influences. But here, it’s singing with floral spice…still quite heavy, but bringing so much more to the party than thick black fruit that it doesn’t seem to matter. And, a food-pairing note: this wine is absolutely tremendous with smoked duck in a rich, heavy-on-the-chocolate molé sauce. (5/08)