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Weekend wine: Cycling to Spain

Saturday, January 17, 2015   by: Vin Greco
Well, this title is probably a little misleading, as it has nothing to do, really, with bicycles or motorcycles, but rather refers to the next Vintages release onJanuary 24 which focuses once again on Spanish wines, as was the case with the release exactly a year ago.
 
Most of the wines coming in are red, which is certainly appropriate for the winter months when we will appreciate a little warmth in the bottle, and none of the wines featured have ever been presented for sale previously.
 
In Spain, with the exception of the central region of La Mancha, most of the wine is produced in the northern third of the country in pockets spreading across the top inland from the Atlantic coast on the Bay of Biscay.
 
In the south, there is little significant wine production, save for Manzanilla, just northwest of Gibralta, where fortified sherries are made, and Jumilla just inland from the Mediterranean.
 
Speaking of La Mancha, we aren’t slated to receive anything from the area, though there are two wines worth our attention- Finca Los Alijares Graciano 2009, $17.95 and Dominio Dostares Estay Prieto Picudo 2011, $15.95. (If interested, order by Monday, January 19.)
 
Graciano, beginning to appear more and more on our shelves, at one time was an important part of the Rioja blend, and it is noted for its subtle scent and rich colour – The Finca Los Alijares received a stellar review from erobertparker.com for its “pure, almost ravishing bouquet” and “very pure blackberry, raspberry preserve and mineral-laden finish”.
 
Already in stock from the last release is a Graciano from Rioja, the delicious Rio Madre 2013, $14.95, which has medium weight, good berry fruit, and is all-round satisfying.
 
The Prieto Picudo is a little known grape for us, and is said to resemble Tempranillo – Vintages indicates that “this wine offers complex and unique notes of black fruit and cigar tones.”
 
Of the 4 wines featured from Jumilla, two stand out with scores of 92 from the Parker stable – Casa Castillo El Molar 2011, $17.95, is a Garnacha, also known as Grenache; this is the world’s second-most widely planted varietal, and this example provides a fine balance between ample fruit and tannin.
 
Alceño Premium 50 Barricas Syrah 2012, $13.95, is a great buy for early drinking with the accent on savory characteristics.
 
Just southwest of Rioja is the Ribera del Duero region which follows the course of the Duero River – also known as the Duoro in Portugal.  Here, the wines can give those of Rioja a run for their money, and all four on the release are exemplary, so check with the Wine Consultants for further information.
 
Of particular interest is Alidis Tinto 6 Meses En Barrica 2012, $17.95, a bio-dynamic wine which “offers a lifted floral note along with red fruit, cherry, chocolate and spice” according to vintages.
 
Buró De Peñalosa Crianza 2009, $23.95 has very ripe berry notes with lengthy vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon spice elements all in harmony – 92 from erobertparker.com
 
From Rioja we are receiving 4 more reds in the $20 to $30 range to add to the already impressive stable on our shelves.
 
Baron de Ley Varietales 2010, $21.95 gives us another example of the Graciano grape, and I expect a significant contrast to the Rio Madre as this definitely stresses the herbal character the grape can provide to accompany the fruit and spice.
 
From those already in stock , the Tempranillo-based Don Jacobo Rioja Reserva 2005, $17.95, stands out in quality and price with its rich concentration, dried cherry fruit, and smooth, silky texture.
 
Another new Tempranillo, the Sueño 2011, $18.95, hails from the tiny Ribera del Júcar district tucked into the top east corner of la Mancha – its old-vine fruit expresses “dark plum [and] dried pressed flowers” with “a gentle but insistent grip on the palate” and expresses well the character of the region, according to erobert.parker.com (92).
 
Two small regions in the northwest, Bierzo and Toro, provide the final two suggestions from the new release.
 
Bierzo’s Gotín Del Risc Mencía 2010, $15.95, exemplifies what can be done when this grape is grown on poor soil to reduce yield and concentrate positive characterisitics – there is some earthiness and minerality, great fruit and elegance here.
 
From Toro, Abelis Carthago William Selection Crianza 2011, $23.95, is another Tempranillo, this from 60 year old vines, with deep flavour and big tannins – It should be cellared for a few years to really get the most from it.
 
A Vintages Essential, Torres Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2010 is going to be $3 off at $16.95, but just for one week.- oak-aged with ripe plum, blueberry and coffee notes, this wine is elegant and persistent, and offers us yet another glimpse of Spain.
 
Finally, on the general list, the Montecillo Rioja Crianza made Wine and Spirits magazine’s “Best Buy” list for the 2009 vintage, which was praised for being a “lush, easy, rich and lovely red”- it’s in stock for $14.95.
 
There are just a handful of whites coming on the January 24 release, but Sauvignon Blanc drinkers will appreciate both New Zealand’s Middle Earth 2012, $17.95, an excellent crisp and lively tip-of-the-hat to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and South Africa’s reliable and tangy Porcupine Ridge 2014,only $13.95.
 
Said “Sauvy” fans should also try France’s Ormarine Carte Noire Picpoul de Pinet 2013, a gold-medal lively white with a stiff spine for just $12.95.
 
From the Republic of Macedonia, there’s the aromatic Imako Vino Majestic Temjanika 2013, $13.95,  an excellent crisp sipper with nuances of nectarine at play.
 
The lone Spanish white to carve out a spot on this release, Duquesa de Valladolid Verdejo 2013, $13.95 comes from Rueda, the one region particularly noted for its whites – it is refreshing with citrus fruit and herbal notes. 
 
Wine Tasting At Stokely Creek Lodge
 
On February 14, I will be hosting a Wine-Tasting at Stokely Creek in Goulais River, and if you’re able to attend, you’ll be in for a treat as we have selected some exceptional wines to accompany Stokely’s fine appetizers.
 
Cost for the tasting is just $20 plus tax, but we hope you’ll stay for the great dinner to follow – then, the tasting and dinner together are just $52, with tax included.  It will be a wonderful evening, and if you’re skiing or snowshoeing, it should cap off a perfect day.
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