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Archive for the ‘Spanish Wines’ Category

Value wine tasting at Sunset Corners

Posted by fromagebob on January 16, 2010

Saturday is my day to visit Sunset Corners for their weekly wine and cheese tasting. This week, they featured a selection of Spanish wines, all priced below $25.00, and all nice drinking wines. Part of the reason I enjoy visiting this shop is because they do not charge for their tastings, they get “newbie” wine drinkers in the shop, and it is always a pleasure to share their fresh experiences.

The first wine was a 2008 Bodegas Santa Quiteria Higueruela, from Almansa, Spain. This is 100% garnacha, unoaked, from old vines. The aroma was alcohol, sweet cherries, and a hint of floral notes. The taste was a little sweet, and slightly candy-like, with cooked dark fruits, and a touch of spice. The finish was short, and a little earthy. This wine retails for $11.99

Next was a 2007 Bodegas Silvano Garcia Vina Honda, from Jumilla (one of my favorite wine regions). This wine is 100% Monastrell, fermented in stainless steel vats. The aroma was smoky, with dark cherries, blueberries, and a hint of leather. The taste was tobacco, dark fruits, some slight vegetal notes. It has a medium finish that was nice – slightly bitter, but spicy. I thought the leather and tobacco notes were unusual in the wine, since it was not oaked, but they were the first thing that hit my nose. This wine retails for $14.99.

Third up was a wine I’ve had before – Vivir, Vivir. This particular vintage was 2008. This 100% unoaked Tempranillo. On the nose, a little spicy, with some vegetal notes, and dark berries. The flavor was cooked dark fruit, some tannins that softened out pretty quickly, and a medium, slightly bitter finish. This wine retails for $9.99. I found that this is a wine that you open and drink – it does not hold well. It would be a very nice party wine.

Next was the 2008 Bodegas Abanico Las Colinas del Ebro Terra Alta. This is a blend of Syrah (60%) and Garnacha (40%). The two varietals are fermented separately, then blended. They undergo a short period in French Oak barrels. On the nose, I found cherry, licorice, dark berries, and light floral notes. In the mouth, Light tannins, dark cherries, a little vanilla, and a slight vegetal note. The finish was medium, and slightly sweet. This wine retails for $12.99

Tomorrow, I’ll fill in the rest! Have a glass of wine with dinner – you’ll be glad you did! If you’re interested in finding out about their upcoming wine tastings, send an e-mail to Michael Bittell.


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Protos Ribera Duero Roble 2007

Posted by fromagebob on November 1, 2009

According to the label, this wine is made from 100% Tinto del País, which is another name for Tempranillo. According to the label, this vintage was aged for 4 months in new American oak; their website says six months. Either way, it’s not oaky at all, with just a hit of the wood’s contributions.

The nose shows red fruit, distinct alcohol, currants, slight cigar-box, some white pepper, a touch of licorice, and some spiciness. Left sitting, the alcohol dissipates but the other notes remain.

The initial taste is smoky cherries, dark plums, some tannins – soft but noticeable. A bit of pepper, slightly vegetal , with a little chocolate and licorice. The finish is medium. The tannins initially produce a sense of dryness, but the wine sweetens and softens a bit, they lies there and gradually fades away.

I wouldn’t say this is a terribly complex wine, but it’s tasty and nice. I received this as a gift, but a search of the web shows a retail of under $40.00; certainly keeping a few bottles around.

I tried this wine with several cheeses. The first was a delicious triple crème, Cathedrale de Meaux. This is an industrial brie-type cheese made in the artisanal fashion. The mold is mixed into the milk, instead of being sprayed on at the end. The nose of the cheese is buttery, soft, with a hint of the pasture. On the tongue, pure bliss! Buttery, with a slight sour note that makes it pleasant. Hints of pasture, straw, and rich cream. It is addicting. This cheese is widely available at grocers with decent cheese counters. Try it.

With the wine, the flavor of the cheese was much subdued; the tannins in the wine cut the fattiness of the cheese. The cheese became a back-note to the wine, which became more fruity – the red fruits came out quite a bit. The finish changed completely; no tannins, but a pleasant buttered-fruit combo that was pretty nice.

The next cheese was the Beaufort, a delicious French cheese that I’ve written about in my blog. This is a great pairing. Initially the wine takes on a spicy taste, but then elevates the beefy character of the cheese. Again, the fat content of the cheese tones down the tannins in the wine, making a great combination. As it lies in the mouth, the tannins are very, very soft, and the taste evolves into something reminiscent of a rich beef stew. Yum. I’ve found Beaufort locally from time to time, but it does not hold a bougie to the real French version!

The last cheese is Manchester Consider Bardwell, a delicious goat cheese from Vermont. This is a washed-rind cheese with a really funky looking rind that’s actually quite tasty. The aroma is slightly funky, with a hint of barnyard, hay, nuts and butter. The flavor reminds me of chewing contentedly on a piece of straw; it’s a little spicy, vegetal, with a strong sense of nuts and grain. With the wine, it’s neutral. Neither is elevated, neither is hurt. The wine almost disappears, the cheese takes on a very, very slightly more intense flavor. Verdict – I’d serve these at a party, but nothing to write home about. A friend brought this back from Murray’s Cheese in NY – you can order it online at their website.

Finally, the winery’s website has a lot of other possible food matches you can check for yourself.

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