Tag Archives: Malaga

Sea change (Malaga, Spain)

What motivates people to step away from their comfort zones and start a new adventure in an unfamiliar place? This is a question that I ask myself quite regularly as I make my journey around the world, and encounter people who somehow have ended up somewhere far from their roots, much like myself. In my travels I have encountered viticulturalists and winemakers who are working in a region or country not their own, mostly for the love and challenge of great wine. Everything from Kiwis in the United States, South Africans in Canada, to Swiss in Germany and Spain, and Germans in Italy. And without question there are French everywhere, which is probably to do with the fact that outside of France there are more opportunities to create a reputation for themselves and build something from the ground up. This has particularly been the case in Spain, with at least six wineries I have visited being either founded by a French winemaker or at least employing one.

A cortijo where moscatel grapes are left to dry in the sun


Filed under Winery Visits

What’s the deal? (Rioja, Spain – Day Three)

Despite the fact that the Rioja region only runs for about 130 km, it is an unbelievably diverse region geologically and climatically, not to mention the fat that it actually crosses three political regions of La Rioja, Basque and Navarra. The region follows the Ebra River and which sits between the Cantabrian Mountains to the northeast and another range to the South-West, and has a wide valley ideal for the cultivation of a range of agricultural products. The climate is quite interesting, as it is a combination of Atlantic, Mediterranean and Continental. They are protected from rain coming from the north so it is very dry, and as they have cool air sucked up the valley from the Mediterranean so it is relatively cool at night. The micro-climate depends on a number of factors, including elevation, aspect and soil, the latter of which varying significantly from alluvial, to calcareous, to clay, limestone and chalk. The fact that most wine in Rioja is blended from a great range of these individual terroirs means that you are losing a lot of the nuances, but luckily there are estates like the three I visited today who are focusing on village and single vineyard wines in the future.

Rioja Alavesa as depicted by an artist that lived at Remelluri

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Companio de Vinos – 13/06/2012

El Transistor 2010 (Rueda, Verdejo)
Lovely bright citrus, tropical notes, not the Marlborough SB profile I have seen in others, fresh and inviting. Clean pure minerality, nice battonage notes very subtle, great fruit, but very pure balanced and drinkable. Friendly but with character.

Mountain Blanco 2010 (Malaga)
Lovely musky nose, quite subtle though, very inviting like an Italian dry moscato. Wonderful texture, appearance of fruit sweetness, bold and generous, pure and deep. Balanced friendly, wonderfully drinkable, hard to spit out.

LZ 2011 (Rioja, Joven Tempranillo)
Bright rosy black fruit nose, juicy plum blackberry, wonderfully fresh and soft, generous inviting with nice core of sweet black fruit and well managed tannins and acids. Approachable but good character.

Lanzaga 2008 (Rioja)
Open soft red fruits, subtle earth and mushroom notes. Pure focused, great drive and extension, gentle caressing tannins, not broad heavy or sweet, nice balance and concentration of fruit, some mineral characters. Fantastic integrated acids.

Altos Lanzaga 2007 (Rioja)
Darker colour, more concentrated and extractive, possible vintage-specific. Incredibly dense complex nose, very quiet fruits and well integrated oak notes. Darker more intense fruit, a little warmer on the palate, very concentrated and much more classic profile of Rioja, dark fruits, power and expression, balanced and ageable.

Gago 2008 (Toro)
Quite dark purple colour, very intense. Lovely savoury tar and black and blue fruits. Soft mellow, full and dark, slightly leathery but still very drinkable, more brooding in character, really concentrated. Amazing structure, will soften up nicely given time.

Pegaso Barrancas de Pizzara 2009 (Cebreros, 100% garnacha)
Smokier flintier more raisined notes, candied florals. Daker heavier more intense, sweeter black fruit, softer and more open, less concentration of tannins.

Pegaso Granito 2008 (Cebreros, 100% garnacha)
Seductive dark floral notes, sweet fruits very red and blue, not heavy, quite fresh but intense dark and expressive. Approachable delicious bang for buck value in a glass, what you want, what you need. Plenty of tannins.
The definition of a sustainable winery

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