Archived entries for Tempranillo

Summer Wine Round-up: Feeling Thirsty?

If you’ve been following Dallas Wine Chick since I started my job as the head of marketing for an energy software company, you know that I work with a great group of people who are more than willing to step in and “assist” in the tasting of wines.  We started #thirstythursdays which evolved into #winewednesdays and then occasionally turned into #tipsytuesdays.  My travel has been challenging lately, so when we were able to gather, I would open a large number of wines that I needed to review.

The latest tasting included 25 wines from Spain, France, California, Argentina, Italy and even two ciders – the first time that I have ever been given cider samples.  These were the 14 that made the favorite list:

Sparkling/Rose

California

2013 Isabel Mondavi Deep Rose Cabernet Sauvignon – very crisp with raspberry, strawberry and apple. I’ve come over the years to enjoy rose much more than I used to and wines like this have caused that evolution.

Spain

NV Anna de Codorniu Cava – a very nice drinking cava with notes of apple, lots of minerality and freshly baked bread.

Whites:

France

2011 Chateau Lamothe de Haux Blanc – this was a delightful white wine with crispness, character and balance at $13.  Refreshing and with a great minerality.

Spain

2012 Martin Codax Albarino – I am a huge fan of this wine and Albarino wines in general.  This one had great minerality, pear, white peach and notes of citrus.

2012 Laxas Albarino — lovely and also well regarded.  I tasted pineapple, orange, apple and apricot.  It was also a great expression of this grape.

2013 Cune Monopole Rioja – tropical fruit, jasmine and other floral notes make this a perfect wine for a hot Texas Summer. 

Reds:

Argentina

2008 Susana Balbo Brioso Agrelo Malbec – this was one of my favorite reds of the tasting and personified what a Malbec should taste like. 

California

2011 Emblem Cabernet – a very nice cabernet with notes of blackberry, cassis, vanilla and tobacco.

2012 Olema Pinot Noir – black cherry, all spice, black pepper with some of the earthiness that comes from Sonoma Pinot Noirs.  It was a head turner.

NV Rare Red 4 Grape Blend – a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Verdot, Petite Sirah and Merlot from Lodi, Paso Robles and the Central Valley.  This is your perfect pizza wine at $10.

Chile

2012 Rios de Tinta – I thought this was a very affordably priced everyday Chilean table wine.  I got notes of blackberry, mocha and plum.

2011 Rios de Chile Reserva Carmenere – lots of tobacco, vanilla, clove, plum and blackberry in this wine. Well balanced and a great representation.

Oregon

2011 Elizabeth Chambers Winemaker’s Cuvee Pinot Noir – this was delicious and I tasted mushroom, plum, black cherry, truffle and violets.  I so enjoyed this and am very glad this Oregon-based winery has expanded nationally and to Texas.

Ciders:

I am new to craft ciders so it was fun for me to learn more about Michael & Paul Scotto’s approach to bringing wine making techniques to making hard apple cider.  They use a combination of five different apple varieties and the process of making wine and making cider have many similarities.  We tried two versions – the William Tell Hard Apple Cider and the William Tell Pinot Grigio Hard Apple Cider.  I liked them both, but the 15 percent of Pinot Grigio had a special something.  It was delicious, refreshing and tasted like a baked apple.


Central Market’s Passaporto Italia: A Whole Lot of Mangia Going On

Central Market’s Passaporto Italia is kicking off on April 30 to May 13 and I attended the media preview at the Lover’s Lane store in April.  Think of this as a two week tribute to all things Italian – pastas to cheeses to foods to beers to winemakers to chefs. 

I had a chance to talk to Timothy, the assistant wine buyer, who discussed the 350 new Italian wines being brought in for the event.  We tasted through five wines from small producers.  Poor Timothy drew the short straw as all the other wine buyers were in Tuscany experiencing the region, but someone had to hold down the fort.

Our line up included the following:

Riondo Prosecco Punto Rosso – lots of pear, apple and nuttiness.  It was a very nice representation of Prosecco.

Castellari Bergaglio Fornaci, Gavi di Tassarolo – lots of citrus fruit, apple, pear and minerality. It was a very refreshing white wine for $20.

2009 Ormanni Chianti Classico – cherry, spice, floral notes and a herbal rosemary note.  This was a good representation of chianti.

2009 I Giusti & Zanza ‘Dulcamara’ Rosso Toscana – dark fruit, coffee and chocolate with hints of tobacco, spice and leather.  This was a big wine that would benefit with decanting.

2007 Orlando Abrigo Barbaresco Rocche Meruzzano – dark black cherry, black pepper, spice, marian berry and anise.  This was great.

A quick run down of the wine events that Central Market is offering follows:

Weds, April 30

Wine tasting with Luca Speri, a fifth generator winemaker, from 4-7 pm

Friday, May 2

Francesco Daddi, Owner of Ormanni/La Leccia hosts an evening of food and wine pairing his wines with traditional Tuscan game dishes, from 6:30-9 pm, $65. 

Monday, May 5

Stefano Chiarlo, winemaker for Michele Chiarlo will host an evening in Piedmont.  Chiarlo is noted as one of the ten best wine producers by Wine Spectator.  This is event is from 6:30-9 pm and is $65.

Tuesday, May 6

Francesco Mazzei, owner of Mazzei family wines, is hosting a tasting from 4-7 pm.

Saturday, May 10

Winemaker Tancredi Biondi Santi is hosting a Tuscan food and wine pairing featuring his family’s wines from 6:30-9 pm, $60.

Reserve your seats at www.centralmarket.com for the Lover’s Lane store events.  This is a great chance to try “off the beaten path” Italian wines at a great price point in a fun atmosphere.  And, check out the best gift bag ever….


Holiday Wine Round Up

It’s a new year and time for a new wine round up of those sampled over the holidays.  This time I tried 18 wines in the $10 to $125 range from California, Chile, Italy and Spain.  Half of them made my list, which excluded some high priced samples:

Whites:

Italy

NV Mionetto Brut Prosecco – the quintessential, easy to drink brunch wine.  Priced at $14, this sparkling wine had notes of green apple, pear, citrus and peach. 

2012 Rocca Sveva Soave Classico ($17) – I liked this wine, but I think it needs to be paired with Italian food.  I got lots of tropical fruit, melon, apple and floral notes. 

Spain

2012 Franco Espanolas Royal White Rioja ($10) – lots of lemon curd, citrus and green apple.  This was a nice aperitif wine that begged for shellfish.

Reds:

California

2011 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir ($16) – a very drinkable wine with black cherry, strawberry, vanilla and earth.   This is a wine club that sources wines from around the world delivered at an “everyday wine” price point.

2010 Wolfgang Puck Red Wine Blend ($14.99) – when a master chef puts his name on a bottle of wine, you know it will be very food friendly.  You taste the berry in the Merlot, followed by the black fruit in the Cabernet, and then finish with the spice of the Zinfandel.  I’d pair this with beef tenderloin.

Chile

2009 Viña Concha y Toro Don Melchor ($125) – this lived up to its billing as Chile’s first ultra-premium wine.  Cassis, berry, tobacco and chocolate notes are showcased in this very well balanced special occasion wine.

Spain:

2009 Franco Espanolas Rioja Bordon Crianza ($13) – a great value wine with notes of cherry, herb, wood, spice and chocolate. 

2007 Franco Espanolas Rioja Bordon Crianza ($15) – notes of cherry, rosemary, basil, and tomato plant – this made me crave a margarita pizza.

I’m also going to give a special shout out to one wine that blew me away from the Guarachi Family.  Guarachi, which was previously unknown to me, sources small parcel lots from top vineyards in Napa and Sonoma and makes Cabernet and Pinot Noir.  The winery was launched by Alex Guarachi, a native of Chile and importer of South American wines.  The winery just purchased Sun Chase Vineyard in Sonoma and if this wine is any indication of what is to come, I’m beyond excited.

2011 Guarachi Family Wines Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ($65) – this was full of red berries, cherry, floral, earth and cherry cola.  I loved this wine.


Wine Review Round-up: French, Spanish, Italian and California

With the new gig, a little behind on wine reviews… 

It’s been a while since I’ve done a wine round up and lately I’ve been fortunate enough to try some really great wines at all price points.  Since I started my new job in Dallas, I have been instituted “Thirsty Thursday’s,” where I gather my co-workers and we have team building with wine involved.

I’ve listed my favorites in several different categories based on trying more than 40 wines.  These were often tried by region, varietal or price point.

Value Wines ($15 and Under)

2011 Domaine Maby La Forcadière – a dry rose with a nice minerality and notes of raspberry and flowers.  I really enjoyed this rose and I don’t give compliments on roses lightly.

2011 Bolla Soave Classico – a well-priced summer wine with citrus, apricot, peach and a nice crispness.

2012 Bodegas Ostatu Rioja Blanco – tropical notes, crisp and refreshing.  Another great summer refresher.

2012 Vina Ventisquero Sauvignon Blanc – citrus, tropical fruit, minerality with a nice balance of herbs and a creamy texture.

2012 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc – apple, grapefruit and pear.

2011 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Reserva Carmenere – a nice expression of Carmenere with blackberry, forest floor, mocha and spiciness.

2010 Matchbox Dunnigan Hills Syrah – at $10, this wine with notes of raspberry, currant, black fruit, cocoa, spice and jam, was the best red wine that I’ve tried at this price point.  It had depth and complexity that I have never found in a $10 bottle.

2009 Ruiz de Viñaspre – I tasted lots of red fruit and floral notes in this 100 percent tempranillo.  It was a well-balanced wine and very drinkable with or without food.

2010 Vina Zaco Rioja Tempranillo – lots of vanilla and spice with blackberry and mocha.

2009 Bodegas Bilbainas Vina Pomal Crianza – blackberry, licorice, cedar, mocha and spice make this a well-balanced wine.

$15 to $40

2001 Ramirez de La Piscina Gran Reserva – all spice, flowers, cherries, currant and lots of depth.  This is an elegant wine that is drinking very well today.

2005 Finca Allende Rioja Allende – notes of blackberry, cherry, earthiness with layers of depth.

2005 Deobriga Rioja – smokiness combined with lots of red fruit, flowers, vanilla, spice and tobacco.

2006 Grupo Olarra Bodegas Ondarre Reserva – a very smooth wine with lots of rich red fruit, dates and spice.

2009 Domaine Bressy-Masson Cotes du Rhone-Villages Rasteau Cuvee Paul Emile – this was a rich and smooth wine with notes of blackberry, fig, tobacco, black tea, spice and chocolate.

2009 Domaine du Pesquier Gigondas – this was a big wine with lots of terrior, berry, black cherry and herbs.  This was a very well balanced wine.

2010 De Martino Legado Reserva Carmenere – another good expression of Carmenere with notes of tobacco, flowers, vanilla and cassis.

Over $40

2007 Finca Monteviejo – a powerful wine with blackberry, plum, mushroom, currant, dried fruits, spice and earth.  Exactly what a great Rioja should taste like.


Celebrity Wines: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

Christy Lemire at the Oscars

Check out my column today in Culture Map Dallas where I interviewed Associated Press Movie Critic Christy Lemire to find out what she thought the persona of the wines would be based on the celebrity.  Then Jasper Russo, who runs the fine wine program for Sigel’s, and I tried the wines.


California and Rioja Wines: A Mix of Cellar Worthy & Tuesday Night Wine

The sample wines were multiplying again, so I invited over some friends and opened a variety of bottles from California and Spain.  I’ve found as the blog gets older, the wines are definitely getting better.  Today was no exception.

California

Cornerstone Cellars never disappoints.  We started with the Cornerstone Cellars 09 Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain.  I was lucky enough to have tried this before at A Taste of Howell Mountain in Dallas.  This was a gorgeous wine with lots of black cherry, currant, licorice, mocha, cinnamon and lots of depth and complexity.  These wines are consistently good – the grape and the region don’t seem to matter.  It is priced at $80, but it is cellar and special occasion worthy.  

Our next journey through California was the 2010 Matchbook Syrah from Dunnigan Hills, a winery that I was not familiar with before the tasting.  It was jammy and spicy with notes of raspberries, blackberry pie, plum and currants.  We were eating olive hummus and it was a fabulous match with the food.  At a suggested retail price of $16, this was a great wine for the price.

Spain

I continued my love affair with the Rioja region with wines from Basque Country. 

We started with the 2007 Bodegas Ruiz de Viñaspre, which is 100 percent tempranillo, with lots of berry, licorice, violets and mocha with candied fruits.  This was another very drinkable value wine for about $15. 

The second bottle was the 2007 Finca Monteviejo, which is from Viñedos y Bodegas de la Marquesa – Valserrano, a decades-old, family run winery.  The wine is 95 percent tempranillo and a 5 percent mix of graciano and garnacha. This was an earthy and intense wine with dried fruit, blackberry, currant, jam and chocolate.  Very well balanced and $42.


Wine Club Reunited: Spanish Heavy Hitters, White Flights, Napa Finds and Cajun Cuisine

Picture a group of very driven, professional folks that have a passion for wine, like to have fun, enjoy off the beaten path wines and make sure to not take ourselves too seriously.  The last part a total 180 from what you would expect a somewhat serious wine club to look like especially from a group representing a snapshot of corporate America.

We tried taking ourselves too seriously in the beginning where we voted members in, selected favorite wines and then tried to store them for the right period of time before opening and officially voting on our favorites. That all changed one fateful night of tasting Turley Zinfandels where we threw all decorum out the window and had an amazing time.  There may or may not be a YouTube video that you will never find capturing our version of MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This.”  Throughout the years, we changed the goal of the club to enjoying wines we haven’t had before while putting the emphasis on fun.  And, you know, I ended up learning and retaining a lot more knowledge.

As most groups go, life got in the way for awhile and we had not met in a few months.  When Peter and Jen revived the group, I was excited. I walked in with my Spiegelau glasses and no idea of what surprises were in store.

It turns out we were having a Mardi Gras theme with homemade Cajun food.  Our hosts wanted to do a Spanish red theme, but knew that it wouldn’t match the food, so another theme was added to go with the dinner.  We started with wines that would go well with spicy food.  Our first line-up included the following:

 

  • Chateau Bonnet Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc 2011 – a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle with grapefruit, minerality and a little hint of sweetness.  Great wine under $10.
  • Chateau Guibon  2011 – lots of pear and melon with a nice balance from the blend of Semillon, sauvignon blanc and muscadelle.  This wine is led by the Semillon and is more muted than the first.  Another nice white under $10.
  • Leyda Sauvignon Blanc 09 – lots of citrus with lime, grapefruit and green apple.  Great minerality and nice finish. Also in the $10 range and a great bargain.
  • Villa Maria Reserve Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc 09 – lots of grapefruit, exotic fruit and grassy notes. 
  • Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc 07 – I am a big fan of Merry Edwards wines – especially the Sauvignon Blancs and Pinots – this had the same minerality and citrus notes, but unfortunately had lost some its essence with time.

 

Then it was truly showtime – a line-up of highly rated Spanish reds, all from the highly-rated 2004, of which I have not had the opportunity to try.  Our line-up was:

  • Bodegas y Vinedos Alion Ribera del Duero 04 – inky black with blackberry, chocolate, spice and some floral notes.  Incredibly rich and yummy.
  • Baron de Magana 04 – priced under $20, this wine had notes of oak, blackberry, current and graphite. Very earthy.
  • Bodegas El Nido Jumilla Clio 04 – it took some time in the glass for me to appreciate this big wine.  I tasted mocha, cardamom, cinnamon and something that was almost port-like.
  • Vall Llach Priorat 04 – lots of blackberry, herbal notes, chocolate, coffee, peanut brittle, vanilla, minerality and spice.  I really liked this wine and it changed in the glass through the course of the evening.
  • Numanthia ‘Termanthia’, Toro, Spain 04 – this was an incredible wine by one of the best Spanish wine makers out there.  It was complex with black and red fruits, eucalyptus and as smooth as silk.  My absolute favorite of the evening.
  • Dominio Pingus Ribera del Duero Flor de Pingus 04 – definitely needed more decanting time, but had notes of cherry, chocolate, oak, smoke, sage, licorice and coffee. 

 

And if we hadn’t tasted enough great wines, one of our participants had just returned from a trip to Napa, so out came the Guilliams Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 07 and Seavey Cabernet 09.  And that was a fabulous end to our evening and a foggy start to a Sunday morning.


Drink Ribera. Drink Spain: A Dallas Workshop

The Ribera del Duero folks came through Dallas recently for an event called “Drink Ribera.  Drink Spain.”  They hosted a tasting and VIP trade and media food pairing seminar at Pappas Bros Steakhouse hosted by Melissa Monasaw, the wine and education director from Pioneer Wines, and James Tidwell from the Four Seasons Resort as well as Heather Green, sommelier.  

Ribera del Duero is located on Spain’s northern plateau, at the highest altitude for grape growing, located two hours north of Madrid.  Ribera (which means river bank) del Duero extends over parts of four provinces of Castilla y Leon – Burgos, Segovia, Soria and Valladolid.  The region is relatively young and was founded in the 1980s by an organization of wine producers and growers determined to promote quality wines. 

Melissa and James talked about their recent visit to Ribera del Duero and the wines that come from more than 100 villages on the axis of the Duero River Valley and the sense of place of these wines.  While the established region is young, the practice of winemaking is much longer – in fact, it started approximately 2,000 years ago in the Roman era.  Vega Sicilia is credited from setting the pattern for excellence in Ribera del Duero.   

The main grape variety is Tempranillo, which is referred to locally as Tinto Fino or Tinta del Pais.  Ribera del Duero is known for the same intensity as Argentina, but with extreme weather.  The most cutting-edge techniques – dry farming, low yields, use of oak and bush vines – help to make wines that are powerful and elegant.

We tried three wines paired with savory bites prepared by Pappas Bros:

  • Bodegas Vizcarra Ramos Ribera del Duero JC Vizcarra 2010 – bright red fruits, juicy and paired perfectly with mushrooms
  • Vinedos Y Bodega Aster S.L Crianza 2006 – lots of structure and tannins with earthiness, mushroom and red fruit.  This was a great match with the lamb and beef
  • Bodegas y Vinedos Ortega Fournier, S.L. Alpha Spiga 2004 – this was a powerful wine with notes of blackberry, licorice and herb that matched exceptionally well with the beef

The sommeliers talked about how they could “taste the sun” with these wines.  I enjoyed the diversity and price range of these powerful and elegant wines that personify Tempranillo done well.

You know I am always on a journey to learn more about wine. Many of you have asked me how to find some of the wines featured at some of these events, click buy red wine for more information.

 


Review Wines: Tempranillo, Sparkling Wines and California Cabernets

 

‘Tis the season for review wines and after receiving a call that I had “a few boxes of wine waiting for me at my old work address,” I had some serious tasting to do.  It was a very tough job, but you know I had to rise to the occasion.  P.S. It’s fun to be a wine blogger.

Ferrari Metodo Classico Wines:

I received two bottles of Ferrari Metodo Classico wines. Ferrari has been producing luxury 100 percent Chardonnay sparkling wines in Italy since 1902.  These wines are produced at the foothills of the Alps in Trento D.O.C. in the Trentino region. 

  • Ferrari Brut NV ($25), very crisp with golden apples, flowers and the scent of crusty bread.  It was very drinkable and had some nice nuances between minerality and fruit.
  • Ferrari Perle 2004 ($35), made from estate grapes with nuttiness, yeasty, pear, apple and minerality.

You know I am a huge fan of sparkling wines and I’ve been impressed with the evolving quality of the Italian sparkling wines that I have tried this year.  The wines provided by Ferrari continued this positive trend.

Mossback Russian River Valley:

I was not familiar with Mossback and had not tried its wines prior.  I received a bottle of 09 Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a small production wine from the Russian River Valley.  John and Lane Giguiere make small production wines celebrating the farmers and the hands on attention that make a wine great.  Winemaker Dan Cederquist considers Mossback his own “garage wine.” 

This is not a garage wine that I’ve had the opportunity to sample.  It was rich and smooth with black fruits including black cherry and blackberries with notes of chocolate and coffee.  I am very glad that the people of Mossback found me and I can’t wait to try more of their small production wines.

Heredad Collection Wines Celebrating Tempranillo Day:

I was sent two samples to taste for Tempranillo Day which was November 8.  I will be writing soon about my experience with Rioja wines, which are primarily tempranillo and very diverse, so I was excited to continue my experimentation. 

The first wine was the VAZA Crianza 09, a very fruity wine with lots of red fruit.  I tasted oak, leather and tobacco.  I describe this wine as juicy, but with enough structure to make it very interesting.

The second wine was the Valdubon Cosecha 10 from Ribera del Duero.  This wine had notes of fruit – strawberries, plum and red raspberry, but had more earth and spice than the other.

Both of these were value priced at $15 and totally quaffable – with food or without.


Drink Ribera, Drink Spain: A Texas Tour

 

Jennifer Jaco, Del Frisco’s Sommelier, hosts the Ribera del Duero wine event

 

April Cullom, the national brand ambassador and U.S. trade liaison for Ribera del Duero took a private group through a tasting and history of the region at Del Frisco’s.  I was thrilled to see my friend and sommelier extraordinaire, Jennifer Jaco, had landed there.  Look for the wine program to turn into something pretty special.

Ribera del Duero literally means the river-banks of the Duero in the Duero Valley.  Vineyards lie north and south of the river.  Tempranillo is considered “Spain’s noble grape” and is often referred to as the ultimate essence of Spain.  The grape reflects Spain’s sense of place — its terroir, culture, history, and long tradition of wine making.  Tempranillo can also be known as “Tinto Fino” or “Tinta del Pais.”  Other approved blending grapes include cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, garnacha Tinta and albillo, the only white varietal used for rosados.

There are a lot of similarities to the Texas terrior.  There’s extreme sun, only 17.7 inches (450 mm) of rainfall per year and temperatures range from 104ºF (40ºC) in summer and –0.4ºF (-18ºC) in winter. In the summer, the temperatures can range from 100ºF during the day to 50 ºF at night.  Ribera del Duero is prone to sudden storms, unpleasant winds, severe freezing, and hot, dry conditions.  Sound familiar (with the exception of the 50 degree summer nights)?

Vega Sicila, one of the oldest wineries in Ribera del Duero, was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda Chavés, who had been studying oenology in Bordeaux, and brought back the French varietals.  The brand was referred to as “Vino de Mesa” (table wine) until the D.O. Ribera del Duero was named in 1982.  There are over 270 wineries in the region.

There are several different types of Ribera del Duero classifications that we tasted that day:

Rosado: Rosé wines are fermented without the skin of the grape and are available shortly after the harvest. Very fruity, strawberry and light.  I’m not a huge rosé fan, but if you are, you should give these a try.

Cosecha: Which may be referred to as Joven Roble or Joven Barrica, are used to refer to wines aged for a few months and released after harvest.  Lots of berry and meant to be consumed quickly.

Crianza: Aged for 24 month with a minimum of twelve months in oak barrels, these wines are released two years after harvest.  More depth with lots of berries. 

Reserva: Aged three years with a minimum of twelve months in oak barrels, this wine can be sold the third year after the harvest.  After twelve months in barrels, the wines are bottles and stored in cellars until release.  This was a very jammy wine style with leather, tobacco and oak.

Gran Reserva: These wines are only made in select vintage years.  They are aged sixty months, with twenty-four months in oak barrels.  These are also stored in the cellar before release and the first release is five years after the harvest.  Lots of complexity to these wines with dried fruit, spice, earth, cedar and terrior.   As April said, “this was a powerfully elegant wine that was well balanced and reflected its sense of place.”

Here’s a list of some of my favorite wines:

  • Protos Bodega Ribera Duero de Penafiel, S.L.: 2004 Protos Gran Reserva
  • Bodegas Vizcarra: 2010 Viscarra Roble “Senda del Oro”
  • Bodegas Viscarra: 2009 JC Vizcarra
  • Bodegas Condado de Haza, S.L.: 2008 Condado de Haza
  • Bodegas Comenge: 2006 Comenge

 I look forward to hearing more about your favorites.




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