Tag Archives: Ribera del Duero

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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Even better than the real thing (Ribera del Duero, Spain – Day Three)

I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the complexities of communication. A significant amount of the worlds problems can be traced back to a failure to communicate, through misunderstandings, misrepresentations or ignorance. In daily life it can be so difficult to get your message across and understand your opposite within your native language, let alone someone else’s. It is my firm belief that the major thing holding wine back in the world is communication, rather than economic, political or social barriers. Wine is such a unique product that it is futile attempting to market it in my opinion, all you can do is communicate it. Some might argue that this is the same thing, but communication is only one element of marketing that is the most complicated in relation to wine. In my experience one of the hardest things to convey about wine is more than quality, it is personality, context and the overall mystery of wine. I have always endeavoured to improve the way I communicate about wine, dependant on the audience, and I will continue to do so in the future. When you consider that in todays global wine market there are hundreds of different language and cultural barriers, this further adds to the complexity involved. On my journey I have had several instances of misunderstanding and miscommunication, but my experience today was one of the most frustrating.
Barrels in the cellars of Vega Sicilia

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Moving and shaking (Ribera del Duero, Spain – Day Two)

About 15 years ago Spain became the new frontier for wine in Europe, with a number of emerging regions being discovered by a small group of pioneers not necessarily from Spain. It was a great time to invest in the country, as land prices were still relatively low, the costs of labour and materials was lower, taxes were beneficial and there was growing interest for the wines around the world. Those early pioneers like Alvaro Palacios and Telmo Rodriguez got in at the best time, but had to work hard for very little initial reward. They are now reaping the benefits of their commitment and foresight, and those who followed rode on their coattails (particularly in terms of brand building), but at the same time paid higher prices in general. Unfortunately times are different in the year 2012 as it is well-known. Spain amongst other countries is in deep recession, and things aren’t much better in many export markets. The recent controversy of Pancho Campo only served to highlight the growing reliance on media endorsement, and the exploitability of wine businesses eager to get an edge in an increasingly competitive global market. The pioneers aren’t too fazed, as they are well entrenched in their regions and wineries, and their wines are unlikely to fall out of favour, as long as there is rabid demand to pay full price for allocated wines. I was introduced to two projects of another pioneer and modern icon, the Danish-born Peter Sisseck.
Bunches in mid-flower in the vineyards of Quinta Sardonia

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Tinto Pesquera – 20/06/2012

Alejairen Airen Crianza 2010 (La Mancha DO)
Incredibly intense golden colour. Quite an alcoholic nose, combination of the 18 months in barrel and the ripeness of this variety. Roasted nuts, savoury honey, ripe stone fruits, glazed citrus. Full bodied richness and viscosity, very creamy and textural, very toasty and full, but not heavy or fat, or alcoholic. Wonderful complexity.

El Vinculo Crianza 2006 (Tempranillo, La Mancha DO)
Bright ruby sweet red fruit nose, nice clean floral aromas. Fresh, fruit forward, clean and pure, good balance, some delicate floral candy notes and very late mineral savoury texture. Wonderfully simple wine.

Dehesa la Granja 2005 (Vino de la Tierra Castilla y Leon, 22 month American oak)
More intense floral earthy dried notes, red fruits and some citrus elements as well. Great freshness again, quite clean and tight, nice balance and composure, American oak giving it some sweetness and clunkiness on the back of the palate. Some of the fruit getting a little lost along the way from freshness and American oak.

Pesquera Crianza 2009 (100% American oak 18 months)
Quite toasty almost smokey notes, very subtle spice and vanilla aspects, good fruit but a little shy somehow. Lovely and supple but with excellent freshness, oak well integrated, complimenting the fruit sweet aspects, nice creamy but sharp and focused tannins and acids. Approachability and character at the same time.

Pesquera Reserva 2008 (100% American oak 24 months)
Wonderfully rustic nose, wild earthy and complex in oak. Very soft and delicate, not at all overt fruit. Quite intense and concentrated, very well balanced, all about the texture. Certainly unique, I hope they never change.

Condado de Haza Reserva 2007 (24 months American oak)
Quite concentrated rustic dusty earthy notes, vibrant red fruits. Lot’s of acidity in this one, tannins very contained and subdued, tight fruit not reflective of the vintage. Really old-school approach to this kind of wine, not at all extractive or over ripe, showing some warmth for now. Against the grain, not at all modern. Question the use of American oak…

My vintage

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The source (Ribera del Duero, Spain – Day One)

As I’ve probably already said, my trip isn’t just about wine. Naturally the most important thing for me is to travel to the regions and visit wineries to learn about the places, people and processes behind the many and varied wines of the world. As I have also probably said, wine isn’t just about what is in the glass and the facts about how it was made. So many things influence wine that it is hard to have one without the other. Cuisine for example, or culture. The previous weekend I went to San Sebastian to indulge in the former, and this past weekend I went to Bilbao to indulge in the latter. Specifically I wanted to visit the Guggenheim, and add it to the list of iconic galleries/museums I have visited in the last year, which include the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Uffizi and l’Acedemia in Florence, and the Met in New York. After visiting the Guggenheim in Bilbao I have now visited all three (the others are in New York and Venice respectively), but the Bilbao was probably the most impressive in terms of architecture and collection. Having got a bit of a culture fix, I journeyed to the eastern part of the Ribera del Duero region, which lies in the next valley south from Rioja. On my first day I ventured deep into the very mouth of the river to visit two producers who are doing things a little differently.
Outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao

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Dominio de Pingus – 19/06/2012

Flor de Pingus 2010
Dark intense fruits, quite an amazing amount of savoury notes for such a vibrant flotal nose. Juicy ripe red and black fruits, very slightly spicy, very intense concentration, bold and full in the mid-palate, dense firm yet fresh and bright tannins. Finesse yet power, needs a few years in bottle to soften and open up. Tense and tightly coiled. Not too oaky, nor too hot and jammy.

Pingus 2010
Darker more concentrated colour, very intense and bright in purple vermillion. Toasted roasted ripe and raisined, dense impenetrable dark fruits, sweet savoury molasses notes, black sweet spices, some sweet balsamic reduction notes. One of the most concentrated wines I have tasted on my trip, not heavy exactly, but incredibly tannic, fruit powerful, hot and powerful. Warm climate and 2-3 tonnes per hectare make this an intense experience. Born this way, not made this way. Some very slight citrus notes on the back, still retaining some freshness of acids. I appreciate the concentration, but I don’t like it.

The 2009 Pingus, what’s left of it anyway

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Antidoto – 18/06/2012

2011 Limestone soils (20% of blend)
Intense colour and aromatics, very spicy and blackcurrant. Looking quite toasty and very dark in fruit. Wondrful concentration and full soft tannins, depth and integrity but plenty of acids. Lifted and structured.

2011 Sandy river stone soils (40% of blend)
Brighter more floral and fresher fruit aromatics, less earth and spice. More intensity of acidity and freshness, very focused down the middle of the palate, power yet restraint, excellent balance but a tad undeveloped. Racier somehow.

2011 Clay soils (40% of blend)
Dirtier darker, more rustic and wild. Soft full bold mouth-filling, broad juicy, very expressive dark fruits, approachable generous tannins, not the same level of drive and focus, the meat of it. Nice lengthy tannins.

2011 Antidoto
A little shy, but wonderfully intense and brooding, very dark but not heavy or oaky. Nice clarity, focus, wonderful freshness of red and black fruits, juicy and vibrant but considered and contemplative. Exceptionally young, quite tight and focused, components working in perfect harmony.

2011 Dominio de Es
Dark juicy sweet black fruit, wonderful lift and vibrancy, more concentration and mature tannins, reacting with the oak a little more somehow. Too early to see the character, quite locked away in concentration, would like to see it in a few more years.

Bertrand Sourdais examines one of his vines

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Cillar de Silos – 18/06/2012

El Quintanal Verdejo 2011 (Rueda)
Crisp grassy SB salty focused ripe tropical notes. Good light texture and weight, approachable and fresh, good balanced purity of fruit. Some nice viscosity and volume, fresh aperetivo wine but great with food too.

Rosado de Silos 2011 (100% tempranillo, 5-10% is the top grapes’ pressings)
Wonderfully aromatic, very rich and creamy nose, lovely candied strawberries and cherries, some red liquorice and blackcurrants too. Bright fresh, fruit sweet and creamy texture, full in flavour and very easy to drink, but nice structure and lightness. Definitely a fruit-sweet appearance, but well balanced and food-friendly.

El Quintanal Tempranillo 2011 (Ribera del Duero)
Dark yet mellow notes on the nose, ripe black fruits and some earth and spice notes. Bold yet soft and full voluptuous tannins, very fresh and light, easy to drink, plenty of approachable attractive fruits, but relatively good structure and balance. Simple yet structured.

Joven de Silos 2011
Dark subtle closed fruit at the moment. Some concentrated dark fruits, a little bit of dried spices, some fruit sweetness on the back, good character and balance. Acid freshness holding things together, a tad exuberant and warm at the moment.

Cillar de Silos 2009 (Crianza)
Bright intense nose, very beautiful dark yet fresh fruits, very subtle oak influence, a little nutty creaminess. Quite tight and focused, very locked up fruit, slightly warm and oaky but only because it is a little reductive. Certainly a textural structured wine.

Torresilo 2008
Vey serious intense but also subtle aromas, red fruits, red earth, mature and integrated oak. Focused and driven, warm on the back of the palate, still young. Finesse and elegance but also power, not unlike a Barbaresco. Juicy dark fruits but fantastic acids and freshness, great balance. Lot’s of ageing potential.

Torresilo 2009
Slightly darker more intense colour. More reductive closed dark fruits, less subtle oak aromas for the moment. Sweeter tannins, more concentrated dark fruits, less focus, more approachability. Fuller more expressive flavour, not the same structure. Very agreeable dark fruit appreciation, great wine for many people.

Flor de Silos 2007
Seductive dark fruits and floral aromas, some toast but also savoury elements, quite an intense experience. Dark and soft, velvety tannin structure but still wonderful structure. Dark oak elements but not adding to the sweetness of the fruit profile. Very voluptuous round tannins, more new oak influence.

Flor de Silos 2005
Wonderful concentration, excellent maturity, density and richness, dark fruits, ripe florals, chocolate spice. Wonderful depth and complexity, bright most definitely and a classic style, but developing some wonderful tertiary elements, some dusty chocolate and balsamic notes. Still has a slightly sweet profile on the front, but fading nicely.

Flor de Silos 2004
Wow, wonderful deep and intense, not as full on the dark fruits, some serious savoury characters. Locked away tight, some creamy texture and retaining some youthful oak. At least 20 years cellaring potential. Amazing concentration, intensity and focus, structure depth, lot’s of expression and power. More youthful than the 2005. An absolute classic.
A barrel of the good stuff

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Bodegas Roda – 11/06/2012

Sela 2009 (mainly tempranillo, a little graciano. 12 months in barrel, young vines)
Intense purple colour, but still bright. Blackforest, black cherry, vibrant florals. Juicy juby very soft mellow, some creaminess from the oak. Bright intense sweet red and black fruits, generous smooth tannins and some brightness of acidity. Fairly modern style.

Roda 2007
Darker denser and earthier. Deeper tannins, much more brooding and masculine, textural heavier oak influence. Youthful crunchy tannins, some nut and vanilla notes from the oak and grape tannins, mature and extractive but not heavy, fat or fruit-sweet.

Roda 1 2006 (always 100% tempranillo)
Even darker colour but not too intense and black. Denser darker fruit nose, black olives, dried spices, wild plum. Very deep intense, noticeable influence from the oak, but in an extremely mature and delicate way. Very savoury, not a lot of overt juicy black fruits, all extremely well integrated. Quite grainy rough manly texture, but not aggressive or oppressive and oaky. A wine that will benefit a lot from ageing.

Cirsion 2009 (100% tempranillo, only made in certain years)
The darkest and most intense heavy colour of them all. Sweet coconut chocolate vanilla, black fruits plum and very intense blueberry notes. Very youthful and modern looking, ripeness and concentration are key.

Corimbo 2010 (Ribera del Duero)
Creamy red currant fruits, caramel elements, lovely and intense fruits, quite toasty. Tight tannins, quite juicy and full, fruit intense. Quite warm for the time being, but not ready for release just yet. Prefer the Ribera fruit to the Rioja fruit.

Corimbo 1 2009 (Ribera del Duero)
Dark really bright and juby black fruits on the nose. Blackcurrant juice, super intense. Much heavier tannins and depth, but with a very mellow smooth finish. So young for now, will really benefit from bottle ageing. Full-flavoured generous breadth and depth, bang for buck, powerful example.

Roda tasting

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