Browse Tag


Enea port in a storm

Egia Enea 2008 Bizkaiko Txakolina (Northwest Spain) – A blend of hondarrabi zuri zerratia and hondarrabi zuri. Unfortunately, also quite heavily oxidized. Since I can’t imagine this was the intent, I’m going to chalk it up to either cork or storage failure. (3/12)


R. López de Heredia 1981 Rioja Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva (Center-North) – Gorgeous old fruit aromatics of windowsill-cooled summer pie, wooden spice box, and soft suggestions of earth glide from the glass, but this is no fading beauty. On the contrary, the palate is fulsome and almost lush, with well-aged but still vibrant red fruit, more than a few hints of spice, and a great purity of texture. The acidity is strong enough that those who fear it will wish to take care, but otherwise it’s an exciting counterpoint to the suppleness of the balance of the wine. Mature, for sure, but probably nowhere close to decline. (11/09)

Bosco P. Coltrane

R. López de Heredia 1981 Rioja Viña Bosconia Gran Reserva (Center-North) – Faded, antiqued red fruit – the lightest possible – with the sepia patina of age and a gritty, starting-to-disconnect texture. A fine-edged tannin scrapes, slowly, across the thin surface. The aromatics are lightly earthen and quite beautiful, but the palate is a bit tired and gasping. It’s a good wine, still, but I’d consider drinking it posthaste. (11/09)

Our kelly

R. López de Heredia 1997 Rioja “Gran Reserva” Viña Tondonia Rosado (Center-North) – Restrained. Very restrained. The bony, exposed-wrinkle structure of this wine…so unique among rosés…is a little more stretched than usual here. Even for Tondonia Rosado, this is bare and stark. There’s that skeletal minerality and steady-state, bell-tone fruit that tastes more like the desert in which one will either find appeal or not (I do), but the wine’s just…well, “tired” isn’t quite right, because it’s not faded beyond its intended form. Perhaps the best way to describe the wine is that it’s afflicted with a very slight pallor. (11/09)


Torres 2010 “Viña Esmeralda” Moscato (Cataluña) – Sweet, simple, friendly, boring in a very predictable way. I’m glad for the world’s commercial wine ventures that muscat’s popularity is exploding, because drinkable muscat is something all but the truly incompetent can pretty much make in their sleep. And if it means grafting over a few zillion acres of useless chardonnay, all the better. (2/12)

Walking bare

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Fino Macharnudo Alto “18”(Jerez) – Overwhelming almonds. Dry, dry, dry, and dry with a side of dry. Extremely long. Rather a slap upside the context; this is a wine that exceeds most of its potential frames. (11/11)

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Fino Macharnudo Alto “15” (Jerez) – Like drinking upholstery. This is much more restrained and muddled than an 18 consumed on the same night, and suffers for it; were it allowed its own spotlight, matters might be different. But at this moment, it’s muffled and insufficient. (11/11)

Mendall fences

Serres “Mendall” 2010 “Finca Abeurador” (Cataluña) – Skin-contact macabeu (local name; macabeo or viura elsewhere). Sludgy orange wine, too tannic for whatever else it attempts to offer. It’s very big, it’s very loud (though much of the volume is the macerated drone of an oenological bagpipe), but in the end there’s not as much of a point as it probably hopes to make. (1/12)

Bare mayos

Los Bermejos 2010 Lanzarote Rosado (Lanzarote) – Almost shockingly excellent. Berries, beached and already lightly tanned, accelerating from playful canter to full-on gallop. There is almost no aspect of this wine that isn’t appealing (I leave myself wiggle room because I don’t much like the packaging…not exactly important stuff). This is the sort of thing one should own in multiple case quantities. I certainly plan to. (1/12)

Peciña cheeks

Señorio de P. Peciña 2003 Rioja Crianza (Center-North) – I have struggled for several years now with the delta between my friends’ enthusiasm for these wines and my lack thereof, whether tasted there, here, or anywhere. This is the first bottle I’ve actually enjoyed enough to express enthusiasm for, though it comes with baggage (note the vintage) and the price that baggage demands: excessive heaviness and tannin that might, in the end, be unresolvable. Otherwise, the deep, not-quite-gelatinous fruit is extremely appealing, and manages to retain a sense of humor about itself even as all around it is drooping like a Dalí clock. (1/12)