Browse Tag


Ameztoi soldiers

Amesguren “Ameztoi” 2008 Getariako Txakolina Rubentis (Northwest Spain) – Airier and bonier than usual, even for a wine that defines itself by its lack of lushness. A little spritz, a brittle exterior of chilly red fruit, and a lightning-slash of acidity are about all one gets. Possibly an off-bottle. (2/10)

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)

Julia Mancuso

Martúe 2006 Vino de la Tierra de Castilla (Castilla & León) – Haphazard red fruit, sun-warmed and reasonably acidic. Neither knit nor multisyllabic, but pleasant enough. It says it’s a country wine and it tastes like a country wine. Truth in advertising! (1/10)

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)

I, white

Raventós I Blanc 2005 Cava “l’Hereu Reserva” Brut (Cataluña) – Deep, nutty, and rich, with yeasted lemons and fine structure. A sophisticated bubbly, not too demanding, but with good presence. (1/10)

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)


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)


[diorama]Isastegi 2008 Sagardo Naturala (Northwest Spain) – Sting and razor-swipe cider, with a texture of pollen and blades and a lightning-flash green finish. Parched. This is a great excitement to drink. (12/09)

The txakoli biz

Berroia 2007 Bizkaiko Txakolina (Northwest Spain) – I’m speaking from limited experience, but the txakolis from Bizkaiko seem to be a touch riper and fruitier than those from Getariako, albeit at the cost of some of the zippy foam and froth that so often mark the latter. More research is required. As for this wine, its fruit is on the crisp, brittle side – green apple, grapefruit, lime rind, all of it in the treble register – and the structure is one of lightly-applied brevity. (12/09)