Showing posts with label garnacha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garnacha. Show all posts

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  • Saturday, November 2, 2019

San Gregorio Manga del Brujo 2006 (Spain) - Wine Review



wine review is something I pulled out from my cellar that was purchased more than 10 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release. The tasting note that was published in magazine suggested this would drink well to 2020, so here we are, in 2019. Let's see how this Spanish red wine is tasting tonight...

San Gregorio Manga del Brujo 2006 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

SAN GREGORIO MANGA DEL BRUJO 2006 - DO Calatayud, Spain (#015073) (XD) - $17.95
This red wine is a blend of 65% old vines Garnacha, 15% Syrah, 15% Tempranillo, and 5% Monastrell/Mazuelo that was aged for 5 months in new and used oak barrels and bottled unfiltered. Deep garnet colour. The generous nose is full of savoury, earthy, and wet forest floor aromas with hints of dried berry and floral notes. It is medium+ bodied and quite savoury on the palate with more wet forest floor, earthy and savoury characters along with sweet cherry, rose floral, sweet spice, and dried berry flavours. The fruit is fairly dried out at this stage, with tannins offering a grippy textured mouthfeel. Acids are still quite juicy. Very good length on the savoury-earthy, dried berry/floral finish. A treat to drink now if you still have a bottle. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Friday, October 11, 2019

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review

The recent parade of Spanish Rioja wine reviews continues with wine that just arrived at the LCBO as part of this Saturday's LCBO VINTAGES Release and was also featured as part of the theme on Rioja wines.

It is produced by Bodegas Franco-Españolas and reminds me of the time almost to the day, when I had the pleasure of attending a fine vertical tasting of their Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva wines ranging in vintage from 1982 to 2009. Bodegas Franco-Españolas is one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in Spain and is celebrating its 129th anniversary in this year.

The wine I opened tonight is a Reserva, a class of Spanish red wine that must be aged a minimum of three years with at least one year in oak barrels. The Rioja Bordón Reserva is aged in American (Ohio) and French oak barrels for 18 months and undergoes decanting every 6 months to facilitate a natural filtering process, then stays in bottle for further refinement. The grapes for this wine come from vineyards in Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental which are north-facing in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda. According to winemaker Rubén Provedo, 2012 was a tough harvest in Rioja due to the drought which led to lower yields. However, the grapes reached the winery in excellent health and helped produce this wonderful Rioja wine.

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2012 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

RIOJA BORDÓN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#194753) (D) - $19.95
This blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha Tinta, and 5% Mazuelo has a medium+ intensity nose that is oak-spiced followed by complex earthy, red cherry, mocha, and touches of grilled herb and licorice notes. It is medium bodied on the palate with gritty tannins and ripe flavours of candied-stewed cherry, oak spice, licorice, and cocoa. Acids are fresh and juicy. Smoky, oak spice and subtle sour cherry characters linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 88 pts


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  • Monday, October 7, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2011 (Spain) - Wine Review

Following up on the delicious 2014 Marqués de Cáceres Crianza, wine review is another lovely Rioja from Spanish producer Marqués de Cáceres. This red wine arrived at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release - and plenty are still available for purchase.

Marqués de Cáceres made its first Gran Reserva in 1975 and produces it only in the best vintages. The grapes used in this 2011 vintage are Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, and Graciano which come from a special selection of 35-50 year-old vineyards with some parcels in Rioja Alta that are 65-85 years old. The Tempranillo comes from vineyards planted between 400-620 metres above sea level from different zones within the Cenicero boundary in La Rioja, northern Spain. The Garnacha Tinta comes from selected vineyards located in Rioja Alta at altitudes between 500 m and 650 m, adding finesse, freshness, and structure to the wine. Lastly, Graciano adds a unique style and colour to the blend. All of the grapes come from mainly clay and limestone soils, and were manually harvested, parcel by parcel.

In Spanish wine law, Crianza wines spend one year in oak barrels, while Reserva wines must be aged for 2 years, of which one year must be in oak. Gran Reserva wines must be aged for two years in oak and three years in bottle. However, this Gran Reserva from Marqués de Cáceres is aged for 24-26 months in barrel, followed by a minimum of 4 years in bottle prior to release.

Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2011 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#976670) (XD) - $29.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo, 8% Garnacha Tinta, and 7% Graciano. The medium intensity nose has toasty oak and vanilla aromas nuanced with ripe red cherry, floral, and balsamic notes. It is full bodied on the palate with structured, drying tannins that become more pronounced on the mid-palate. Flavours are savoury with sweet spice, plum, dark cherry, and roasted nut notes. Acids are well-balanced while the finish is long and savoury. Approachable now, but should improve in 3 years and drink nicely into the mid-to-late 20's. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, October 7, 2019

CVNE (Spain) Wine Tasting with Maria Larrea

On a fine , I had the pleasure of tasting a few wines from Spain's historic CVNE wine company with winemaker María Larrea at George Restaurant in downtown Toronto.

CVNE is actually an abbreviation of Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España, which translates to the Northern Spanish Wine Company. It was founded in 1879 by two brothers in the town of Haro in Rioja, in northern Spain, and has always focused on producing and aging wines. It now comprises of four wineries: CVNE, Imperial, Viña Real and Contino.

CVNE Wine Tasting with Winemaker María Larrea

Even though the company is officially called CVNE, the producer is more commonly known as Cune (pronounced COO-nay). It was interesting to learn from Maria that the origins of this name are due to a label misprint by the print shop they were using in the early days of the winery's history. The print shop accidentally replaced the "V" with a "U" and the name Cune became quite popular and continues be well-known. Personally, I have always known this producer as Cune.

CVNE garnered its first awards in 1885, and further successes led to the creation of the revolutionary Effel's cellar. The cellar was designed by the famous French architect, Aleixandre Gustave Eiffel, and uses steel trusses running from wall to wall (instead of columns) to support the roof, thus creating a large, open space for the management of the barrels. It was completed in 1909 and is still in use today by Imperial wines.

Imperial wines were first created in 1920 and are some of Spain's greatest wines. The name comes from a special bottling for the English market, in a measure called "Pinta Imperial" or "Imperial Pint". Viña Real wines were also launched at this time. In 1940, the El Carmen winemaking facility became the largest of its kind in Spain and showcased the benefits of using concrete in winemaking.

In 1973, Viñedos del Contino was established by CVNE and the family that owned the Contino vineyard, becoming the first single vineyard site in Rioja. Another first occurred in 1989 when they began using gravity during the fermentation process. In 2004, Viña Real winery was inaugurated by his majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, becoming one of the most advanced wineries in Spain.

Today, the company is still controlled by descendants of the founding family. Maria and I tasted through the three wines listed below and, while all three were enjoyable, we both thought the Imperial Reserva the best. I was also hoping to try the Monopole - Spain's oldest white wine brand that was first introduced in 1915, but unfortunately it was not available for tasting.

Of the three wines I did get to taste, the Crianza and Reserva came to LCBO VINTAGES in and are still available for purchase at the LCBO. Wines from CVNE's entire portfolio can be purchased through their licensed agent here in Ontario, Von Terra. Thank you, Von Terra, for the opportunity to meet Maria and taste these fine wines from CVNE.

Tasting Notes:

CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#039925) (XD) - $16.95
85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha Tinta/Mazuelo. From a warm year, the medium-high intensity nose is all red berry and cherry with hints of strawberry and wood adding some complexity. It's light-to-medium bodied with medium-level tannins that are smooth and refined. Pretty aroma replays, plus vanilla and coconut flavours on the palate. Acids are very good. Dry, clean, and easy drinking with a finish length that is very good. Score: 88 pts

CVNE Cune Crianza 2015 (88 pts)CVNE Imperial Reserva 2014 (92 pts)

CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#424390) (XD) - $39.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo and equal parts Graciano, Mazuelo (Carignan), and Grenache spent 18 months in (60%) French and (40%) American oak. Lovely, fairly intense nose offers very complex dark berry, black cherry, blackberry, and black plum aromas, with subtle oak, cinnamon, and spice complementing the dark fruits. The medium-full bodied palate is slightly warm, but the very good fruit concentration holds it all together. Very nice aroma replays are well-balanced on the juicy palate. Nicely balanced overall with smooth tannins and a very long, complex finish. Score: 92 pts

CVNE IMPERIAL GRAN RESERVA 2008 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (XD) - $69.95
Same blend as the Reserva, this is showing maturity on the nose with complex coffee, oak, tobacco, earthy, and savoury aromas, plus hints of blackberry and dark berry. The medium-full bodied palate has complex aroma replays on the flavour profile, plus some dried herb notes. Continues to evolve in the glass. Medium tannins are refined and smooth, while acids are balanced. Excellent finish length with tobacco and forest floor notes. Score: 91 pts

CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva 2008 (91 pts)


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  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (Spain) - Wine Review

red wine review is a delicious Rioja that came to LCBO VINTAGES on and plenty of bottles are still available for purchase across Ontario.

Marqués de Cáceres was founded in La Rioja and Cenicero, within the heart of the La Rioja Alta sub-region in Spain in 1970 by Enrique Forner, forming an historic alliance between a region and an enterprising family that has been devoted to the wine trade for five generations.

After making wine at his own Chateaux's in Bordeaux, he brought the same reformist spirit when he returned to Spain and employed some of the same techniques for success such as vineyard control, grape selection, cold production, ageing in new and semi-new French oak barrels, and long refinement in the bottle. All of this contributes to wines that can show finesse and elegance. Their first wine was the 1970 Crianza which was released to the public in 1975 and offered more fruity notes over wood when compared to classic Riojas of the time.

In the 1990's, a trend for innovation took hold in La Rioja. Young oenologists and wine producers looked to Bordeaux for inspiration, just as Enrique Forner had done twenty years previously, and worked the terroir and vineyards, to obtain profiles that were different to the traditional Riojas. Marqués de Cáceres was advised by Michel Rolland - the most influential oenologist in Bordeaux at the time - and together they were united by a great obsession to create quality wines.

Their single objective at Marqués de Cáceres is to have the best vine growers and vineyards in La Rioja to produce the best wines, an obsession that continues today, led by the fourth generation of this wine family, Cristina Forner. They are also the best-known Rioja in Spain as well as one of the top 50 most admired wine brands globally.

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#638775) (D) - $16.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha & 5% Graciano aged in both French and American oak. The medium intensity nose delivers red cherry/berry notes with hints of dried red fruit, followed by sweet oak spice, herbs, and floral aromas. The medium+ bodied palate is fresh and lively, offering more red cherry, floral, and oak spiced flavours surrounding a savoury, earthy core. Refined tannins offer a nice, dusty texture with a touch of chalkiness. Finish is long and earthy. A satisfying Rioja to enjoy over the next 3 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bodega Jesús Romero Rubus 2016 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine is another new release that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Bodegas Jesús Romero in partnership with San Alejandro's winemaker, Juan Vicente Alcañiz. Together, they purchased a three-hectare vineyard of 70-year-old Garnacha in Báguena, Aragón. They also work together on a nearly four-hectare plot of 10-year-old vines at 980 metres altitude.

The name "Rubus" was chosen for this red wine for two reasons. Firstly, it is a nod to its origins in the municipality of Rubielos de Mora (in Teruel, Aragón, Spain) and secondly, it refers to Rubus Ulmifolius, a species of wild blackberry that evokes its aromas and defines the landscape of the area.

Bodega Jesús Romero Rubus 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

BODEGA JESÚS ROMERO RUBUS 2016 - DO Aragón, Spain (#575944) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of roughly equal parts Garnacha and Syrah, and 20% Tempranillo completing the blend from vines on pebble soil with sandy loam texture, in a mountainous area between 900 and 1000 metres elevation. All raised in stainless steel and concrete tanks, and spent 5 months on the lees. This is quite fragrant in the glass with blackberry, red berry, and spice aromas accented by earthy mineral. It is medium-full bodied on the fresh, clean, and ripe palate that is fruit forward with blackberry, dark cherry, and spice flavours with a smoky mineral underpinning. Tannins are fairly soft and dusty, offering a nice textural character, with just a touch of grip. Fresh, juicy acids. Long, blackberry and spice finish. Enjoy over the next couple of years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, December 26, 2016

Menguante Selección Garnacha 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine was a parting gift I received after the Garnacha Day tasting in .

It is produced by Viñedos y Bodegas Pablo, a family-owned winery located in Almonacid de la Sierra, Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain. The winery dates back to the 18th century, but the winemaking traditions of this family go back even further - to 1760.

The fascinating story begins with the founder, Antonio Hernández, making grapes into wine in the underground cellar that was dug by hand and is the site where the current cellar is found today. The wine caves still exist today and previously used to house large wooden vats with capacities between 5,000 to 6,000 Litres. These vats were so large that they had to be built inside the caves. The winery has since been pulsating along, growing and modernizing itself in the process, while still maintaining the family's roots.

This red wine was released earlier this year into VINTAGES on and small quantities are still available throughout the province of Ontario.

Menguante Selección Garnacha 2012 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

MENGUANTE SELECCIÓN GARNACHA 2012 - DOP Cariñena, Spain (#313833) (XD) - $16.95
8 months in barrel. Ripe red plum and cherry, plus raisiny aromas from the cork. Charmingly rustic with medium-high intensity aromas of raspberry, cranberry, cherry with graphite/lead elements and some woody notes. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and subtly oak-influenced flavours cherry, cranberry, red currant and Mediterranean herbs. Acids are lively and juicy. Earth and wood notes linger on the long finish. Drink over the next 2-3 years. Good value. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Celebrating #GarnachaDay

Celebrating #GarnachaDay
International Grenache Day is celebrated around the world every 3rd Friday of September. This year, the celebration fell on and I was invited to an exclusive tasting of a few spectacular Grenache (or Garnatxa as they say in Spain) wines at Archive 909 on Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto.

The origins of Grenache are found in Aragon, in northern Spain and the grape was known as the Red of Aragon (Tinto Aragonés). From there, it spread to Sardinia, Southern France, Australia and California. Over centuries, naturally occurring Grenache mutations formed, resulting in the prevalence of Grenache blanc, a grapes that's used in making white wines.

Today, Grenache is one of most widely planted grapes in the world, with Spain being the #1 grower. Single varietals wines made from Grenache noir are plenty, but it's also commonly used in GSM blends (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre/Mataro) from Southern France and Australia.

On this day in , I had the opportunity to taste through various Grenache wines, including some Garnatxa blanc wines, and pairing them with some delicious Mediterranean tapas prepared by the fine folks at Archive 909. All of the wines were from Spain, and wine reviews of my favourite Garnacha wines are provided below. Unfortunately, none of the my favourite wines are currently available at the LCBO, so you'll have to reach out to the Agent to place your order.

If you missed celebrating #GrenacheDay this year, mark you calendar as it will return in 2017 on . In the meantime, you can drink Grenache throughout year as its quite commonly found at the LCBO. Salud!

#GarnachaDay at Archive 909#GarnachaDay at Archive 909

Tasting Notes:

BOTERA VILA-CLOSA GARNATXA BLANCA 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (XD) - $16.02
Medium+ intensity nose offering plenty of mineral character combined with lemon, stone fruit and pear aromas. The palate has nicely balanced aroma replays with earthy and some flinty notes making a statement on the long finish. Fresh and succulent acids. Contact That's Life Gourmet for availability. Score: 88+ pts

Botera Vila-Closa Garnatxa Blanca 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (88+ pts)Lafou Els Amelers Garnatxa Blanca 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (89 pts)

LAFOU ELS AMELERS GARNATXA BLANCA 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (XD) ~ $29
10% of this exotic wine rested in 300-litre lightly toasted barrels. The medium intensity nose has exotic waxy, honey and tropical nuances. Lemony acids are fresh with a nice mineral texture on the palate. Some herbally flavours. Finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

LAS ROCAS VINAS VIEJAS DE SAN ALEJANDRO OLD VINE GARNACHA 2013 - DO Catalayud, Spain (XD) - ??
From vines between 80-100 years old, this has medium+ intensity aromas of cranberry, oak spice, and red & purple florals that all make an appearance on the medium+ bodied palate. It has nicely integrated tannins, balanced and juicy acids. Long finishing. Score: 88+ pts

Las Rocas Vinas Viejas de San Alejandro Old Vine Garnacha 2013 - DO Catalayud, Spain (88+ pts)Cruz de Piedra Selección Especial 2014 - DO Catalayud, Spain (89 pts)

CRUZ DE PIEDRA SELECCIÓN ESPECIAL 2014 - DO Catalayud, Spain (XD) - $12
Grapes for this wine come from old bush vines, ranging between 50-100 years old. Appears closed for the moment, but shows hints of blackberry, mineral, dark fruits, sweet oak spices. Full-bodied with a dense, concentrated mouthfeel and pleasing aroma replays. It has fresh, balanced acids that are just a touch tart. Excellent length on the finish. This is a big wine that can be decanted and enjoyed now, or aged for at least half dozen years. Contact Rogers & Company for availability. Score: 89 pts

BODEGAS ARAGONESAS FAGUS DE COTO DE HAYAS SELECCIÓN ESPECIAL 2013 - DO Campo de Borja, Spain (XD) - $29.95
From old vines ranging between 40-50 years old. Lovely, captivating nose offers complex raspberry, leafy, floral, clove and hints of mineral. Medium+ bodied on the palate with astringent tannins that softened with air. Very nice, well balanced, floral and cherry, clove, subtle sweet oak spice flavours. Balanced use of oak with hints of vanilla on the medium-long finish. My favourite wine of the tasting. Contact Hobbs & Co. for availability. Score: 89 pts

Bodegas Aragonesas Fagus de Coto de Hayas Selección Especial 2013 - DO Campo de Borja, Spain (90 pts)


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