Tag Archives: Rias Baixas

Bibendum Degustacion de Vinos – 3/06/2013

Bibendum as I have said many times, are one of the best importers of wine in Australia. For the first time they hosted a tasting of their entire range of Spanish producers, and some were gracious enough to fly all the way to Australia for the event. Here is a very long list of wines I tasted.

Colet-Navazos Cava Extra Brut 2009
Nice gun flint volcanic notes. Clean pure fresh light, classic but fairly simple and safe.

Navazos I Think Manzanilla
Slightly rich and creamy, toasty and crunchy texture.

Argueso Manzanilla
Pure fresh light, clean and brisk, friendly and appealing.

Argueso Las Medallas Manzanilla
A bit deeper and richer, bolder but still nice and salty, sweeter fruit character.

San Leon Manzanilla
Zingy zesty, so fresh, not what you think of manzanilla.

Angel Rodriguez Martinsancho Verdejo 2011
Fig skin and herb notes. Exquisitely balanced, light but not thin.

Val de Sil Montenovo Blanco 2012
Mid-palate texture saltiness. Bright fruit-driven but savoury.

Val de Sil Godello 2011
Quiet. Bright and fresh, fruit-forward, nice and textural.

Val de Sil Pezas da Portella Godello 2010
Salty volcanic oily nose. Much more elegant and restrained.

Horacio Calvente Pago La Guindalera Blanco 2010
Classic but restrained and dry, fresh musky floral elements.

Mengoba Brezo Blanco 2011
Tight and sharp, very precise, really good but not offering a lot.

Mengoba Blanco Godello Y Dona Blanco Sobre Lias 2010
Nicely developed, slightly wilder and more mineral.

Mengoba Brezo Tinto 2011
Bright juicy floral notes, fresh and juicy but tight and straight.

Mengoba Flor de Brezo 2010
Tighter spicier and leaner, much more savoury.

Mengoba Mencia de Espanillo 2009
Intense tight concentrated, juicy and fairly soft but intense.

Mengoba Mencia de Espanillo 2010
Amazing precision and integration, LENGTH.

Mengoba Estaladina 2010
A little dirtier and wilder, dark and intense.

Domino do Bibei Lapola Blanco 2010
Tight juicy round full friendly.

Domino do Bibei Lapena Blanco 2010
Wilder funkier basalt, intense super godello up to 11.

Domino do Bibei Lalama 2009
Soft juicy full, tight.

Domino do Bibei Lacima 2008
Wild but a little short, lacking something.

Adega Algueira Brandon Blanco 2012
Herbal green fig, very fresh and food friendly.

Adega Algueira Cortezada 2011
Denser and more lifted aromatically, brisk concentrated quince like, high acids.

Adega Algueira Merenzao 2010
Spicy wild earthy, generous yet tight.

Adega AlgueiraCarravel Barrica Mencia 2009
Denser tight, softer and fuller.

Adega Algueira Pizarra 2010
Not seeing it, might need more time.

Quinta Da Muradella Caino Redondo 2009
Too funky and wild, tougher more traditional and rustic.

Quinta Da Muradella Souson 2009
Closed and developed, tight focused acid great.

Exopto Horizonte Blanco 2011
Juicy fruit (musk) sweet, quite different, more Loire style.

Exopto Bozeto de Exopto 2011
Soft bright juicy clean, pleasant character, exceptional value.

Exopto Horizonte de Exopto 2010
Tighter more integrated, much more traditional.

Exopto de Exopto 2009
Deep and soft, juicy reflection of the variety.

Felix Callejo Rosado Vina Pilar 2012
Juicy fresh red fruit sweet.

Felix Callejo Flores de Callejo 2010
Bold juicy dark and intense, fairly straight-forward.

Felix Callejo Crianza 2009
Denser earthier and fuller, quite vintage specific.

Felix Callejo Majuelos de Callejo 2009
Tighter grainier and earthier, very generous.

Felix Callejo Gran Callejo 2006
Intense tight precise and still closed.

Felix Callejo Finca Valdelroble 2008
Stinky reduction, bright wild salty.

Felix Callejo Finca Valdelroble 2009
Juicy hot still very fresh.

Condado de Haza 2009
Very intense dark almost molasses, very soft easy and generous.

El Vinculo Crianza 2006
Extremely traditional, burnt aromatics.

Pesquera Tinto Crianza 2009
Wild earthy savoury, soft concentrated, REAL.

Pesquera Tinto Crianza 2010
Rounder larger fuller, not too different in fact.

Pesquera Reserva 2008
Wild earthy savoury, unbelievably tight.

Dehesa La Granja Tempranillo 2005
Soft bright and generous.

Bodegas Carchello 2011
Quite spicy and approachable.

Terroir Al Limit Torroja Vi de Vila 2011
Light fresh pure lean and clean.

Terroir Al Limit L’Arbossar 2010
Tighter, denser more generous.

Terroir Al Limit Dits del Terra 2010
So elegant but hauntingly complex.

Terroir Al Limit Les Manyes 2010
Beautifully floral yet spicy, intense and tight, extremely long.

Terroir Al Limit Les Tosses 2010
Darker more brooding and more fruit sweetness.

Clos Manyettes Priorat 2007
Punchy and unctuous.

Clos Mogador 2007
Toasty smoky earthy wild terroir wine.

Equipo Navazos No. 31 La Bota de Amontillado
Toasty caramel nose, rich but still dry, wild and feral.

Equipo Navazos No. 37 La Bota de Amontillado
Creamier honeyed spice caramel, salty richer rollier.

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Nobody expects the Spanish disposition (Rias Baixas, Spain – Day Two)

When people think of Spanish wine 90 times out of 100 they would think of red wine. Nine times they may think of cava depending on where they are from, and maybe one time they would think of sherry. Chances are they wouldn’t think of white wine but there are two places in particular where white wine is pretty much all they make. The first is Rueda where wines made from the verdejo grape are one of the fasting growing in the country. The other place is Rias Baixas where they make wines mostly from albarino. In my opinion Rias Baixas white wines are the most Spanish that a wine can be. Firstly as a country that is mostly surrounded by water they eat a lot of seafood and other fresh and often salty dishes that are perfect matches with albarino thanks to its high acidity and zingy freshness. Secondly the country gets very hot as I have discovered myself, and as a chilled wine albarino is much more refreshing than a glass of Rioja tempranillo or oloroso sherry. As albarino wines are almost always made in a simple way they are also a reflection of the simple lifestyle that Spanish people lead, particularly in the current difficult economic situation. Then add to this the fact that albarino is very cheap to produce and can therefore be more affordable than many wines produced in Spain for the Spanish people. There aren’t really any complicated terms or levels of quality like crianza or reserve that mean almost nothing, it is simply good or it isn’t.  Albarino can be enjoyed across the whole country with any myriad of different dishes and is so easy to drink. What I’m trying to say is that Spanish should be drinking more albarino, but only as long as there is enough for the rest of us too.

Have you ever seen razor clams before?

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Pretty simple, simply pretty (Rias Baixas, Spain – Day One)

Travelling around Europe these past six months I have encountered a select few regions that exemplify my general philosophy of elegance in simplicity, and that there are varieties that express their origin much better than others but should only be grown in certain places. I have mentioned a few of these in the past, but it is safe to say that I would add the albarino variety and Rias Baixas to these lists. Many people have compared albarino to riesling which is a pretty fair assessment, not only for the fact that the wines are generally made without oak in a fresh mineralic style, but also the tendency for mature albarino wines to acquire the same oily aromas and viscosity that riesling does. It is the first reason that I feel so strongly about these wines, as albarino can be amazingly uncomplicated and unpretentious yet filled with character and style, the purest expression you can imagine. These are wines that everyone can enjoy for various reasons, and also everyone can afford. With so little influence from the winemaker there is really nothing to hide; if you don’t have good grapes then you don’t have good wine. Pretty simple really but with the propensity to use so many techniques to influence wines in the winery I think this is lost somehow, and the wines are thought of merely as simple. Why should all white wine be made like white burgundy?
A beautiful albarino leaf

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Castro Martin – 20/07/2012

2011 Albarino A2O
Clean fresh very fruit-strong citrus lychee lime. Vibrant fresh fruit, quite tight and some nice sharpness. Looking a little too linear and sharp at the moment, needs to settle a little before bottling.

2011 Albarino Family Estate
More subdued fruit and more floral notes, slightly richer but softer in it’s ripe citrus notes. Fuller texture and ripeness, even a little fruit sweet viscosity. Less sharp, but no less focused. More of a textural extension on the palate.

Val do Salnes 2010
Showing much more minerality, looking slightly tired and fat, but still retaining plenty of freshness and fruit characters. Riper and more viscous and round, matured nicely.

Family Estate 2010
More subtle and complex on the nose, slightly flintier and finer, slightly green and herbal notes. Wonderful lines, crisp straight and pure, zippy yet textured and characterful through the palate. Finesse and brightness with mineral concentration, very slight floral notes.

Angela and Andrew at Bodegas Castro Martin

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Pazo Senorans – 20/07/2012

Albarino 2011
Lovely and flinty, very crisp and fresh, wonderful citrus and dried floral elements, nice purity and life. Nice lines, purity and freshness, quite precise but not sharp, very light.

Seleccion de Anada 2005
Lovely intense nose, showing candied floral, oily and slightly tropical ripe, really opening up. Creamy texture. Some very delicate cheese elements, ripe fruit texture but losing the sweetness on the palate, a little savoury and mealy in the mouth, in fact it has excellent mouth-feel.

Pazo Senorans wines

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Eidosela – 19/07/2012

Arbastrum Condado de Tea 2011
Grassy green fresh citrus melon citrus apricot. Clean fresh precise, nice ripeness and richness of fruit, some subtle floral elements, kiwi and guava, good texture and depth but over-delivering on the freshness, acids and personality.

Eidosela Albarino 2011
A little brighter and fresher, more floral and fruit sweet, apricots and citrus. Full textured and rich but very light and fresh, textured and very slightly green in a nice way, a bit of bite and zing. Focus and drive on the palate, with a juxtaposition of sweet and green fruit.

Eidosela Albarino Espumante 2010
Nice fine bead, bright yellow green colours. Closed on the nose, but showing potential. Classic albarino fruit character, no yeast autolysis influence, good acids and freshness, really no more than a sparkling albarino. Just with a fine bead.

Seleccion Albarino 2009
Very quiet fruit. Ripe rich and more volume and texture, showing a little sweeter and a little more viscous. Bold yet restrained, not seeing as much fruit on the palate, some very late caramel nut characters.

Eidosela Albarino 2011

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Valminor – 19/07/2012

Valminor Albarino 2011
Lovely grassy citrus notes, slightly floral and perfumed, some depth but just good solid fruit on the nose. Fresh fruits and acidity, vibrant texture and intensity. Great structure and flavours across the palate, fresh and vibrant but not one-dimensional. Body and expression.

Darila Blanco 2011 (albarino, loureiro, treixadura)
Slightly more brooding and intense, interesting character coming from the blend and/or the lees contact, deeper more honeyed notes, less citrus and floral. Finer broader and less fruit-driven, more lean through the palate, less expressive, more minerality and more sea influence.

Villa L100 2010 (loureiro)
Riper and more intense, more grassy and herbal, showing some toasty honey spice notes, along with some very delicate floral aromas. Riper and yet more subtle and soft, more textural but quite light, ripe yet fresh, citrus tropical notes and some very delicate honey sweetness.

Villa M100 2009 (albarino, louriero, caino blanco)
Denser and crunchier, quite noticeable influence from oak. More texture and body, slightly more warmth and crunch, nice partnership with the fruit, not overly expressive, more about the mouth-feel. A tad aggressive for now, perhaps due to vintage and youth.

Villa M100 2007
More golden oily colour. Honeyed maturity, more oily and rich on the nose, ageing a little quickly. Deeper darker notes, but still fresh and very delicate. Oak has softened out and gained some complexity. Very fine and rich wine, but not flabby at all.

Albarino leaf

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Ramon Bilbao – 11/06/2012

Mar de Frades Finca Valinas Albarino 2010 (Rias Baixas)
Lovely ripe tropical fruit, apple, floral, some minerality. Textured sharpness, ripe and slightly viscous. Nice balance and approachable fruit. Good character, pleasant drinking and good with food. Need to understand the variety and region better.

Monte Blanco Verdejo 2011 (Rueda)
Riper more candied notes, slightly sweaty in a sauvignon blanc way. Ripe tropical New Zealand sauvignon blanc style of wine, looks almost volatile in its sweaty characters. Good aromatic white wine with ripe approachable fruit, good as an aperitif but lacking in finesse, crispness and minerality. Ditto above.

Ramon Bilbao Crianza 2009 (12 months in barrel, 9 months in bottle)
Fairly bright red fruits and some dusty earth notes, cherry and slightly green strawberries. Tight compact and fruit-driven, fresh and relatively elegant, sweetness of tannin from the American oak, slightly vanilla and caramel. A tad hot in the mouth.

Ramon Bilbao Reserva 2006
More intense focused fruit nose, more oak influence, dark floral notes and some sweet balsamic elements. Light and tight, juicy dark fruit still on the fresh side, good structure and balance, focused tannins, oak not interfering too much, has some more potential.

Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva 2004
Fruit completely shut down on the nose, oak dominating and not inviting at all. Sweet fruit, almost candied on the palate. Quite juicy and plummy, fairly broad and lacks the focus of the Reserva. Quite simple for a wine of this quality.

Ramon Bilbao Vina Turzaballa Gran Reserva 2001 Rioja
Shy nose, in a trough, starting to show some bottle mature notes, some leather and dusty elements. Better concentration of fruit and more expressive structure, good combination of red and black fruits, plenty of life in the wine yet.

Ramon Bilbao Selecion Limitada 2009 Rioja
Ruby and dark fruit nose, very bold fruit, dense and juicy, very ripe and sweet, extended maceration and newer oak. Bold, very young, international-style Spanish wine, not really Rioja.

Mirto 2006
Lives up to its name, as it smells like myrtle, hazel, vegetative elements. Very intense concentrated fruit, really low yielding very ripe berries, a lot of time in new oak, designed to be left for many years. Stay away, it’s difficult to see where the wine might go in the future.
Ramon Bilbao fermenter

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