Vino Fino   |   Wednesday, May 10, 2017

From the Tastings: A Tour of Spain

AJ Thomson has developed a wine importing business over the past few years concentrating on French and Italian wines. Tonight's tasting was to showcase some of his recent additions to his portfolio from across Spain. AJ was supposed to present the tasting, but an unlucky accident on Monday night resulted in him ending up in hospital with a broken neck - sounds horrific and it is, but luckily for AJ no nerve damage and he should make a full recovery after a few months. So whilst missing the personal touch from AJ, but plenty of help from google, we presented the tasting ourselves.  
We tasted wines from 7 different regions of Spain - quite diverse styles and wines.

Vino Fino

Maset MIM Cava Reserve Brut
Based in the Penedes region just south of Barcelona, Maset del Lleo have been making wines and Cava (Spanish methode champenoise) for almost 250 years. In the last 30 years they have been the biggest direct sales to consumer (through telephone sales based business)  wine seller in Spain, and are now expanding into export markets.
A blend of the traditional Spanish varieties of Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada aged for 15 months for secondary bottle fermentation. This has a fine bead with floral,citrus and light toast and a hint of lemon cream on the dry finish. A very pleasant Cava that offers drinkability, flavour and great value.              
Retail $22.99       Special $18.99
Albariño 2015
The increasingly popular variety Albariño has its home in the region of Rías Baixas located in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain. Here the climate is relatively cool and damp (not unlike parts of NZ).  This wine is produced by the small, family owned vineyard and winery; Valtea, located in a beautiful valley overlooking the Mino River and within a stone’s throw of Portugal. Hand harvested fruit is gentle pressed and fermented cool in stainless steel, preserving the fruit flavours. Dry with floral, melons and spice flavours with a hint of nuttiness on the finish.  
Retail $25.99       Special $21.99
Enate 234 Chardonnay 2015
The Somontano wine region in Spain is one of the lesser known wine growing areas in the country. Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees several hours northwest of Barcelona around the historic town of Barbastro, this small area is well known for the quality of its wines which are heavily influenced by its warm days and colder nights. Here the newer vineyards have been planted with more international varieties - Chardonnay, Sauvingon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah as well as the traditional Spanish. This is an un-oaked Chardonnay that has plenty of peach, apricot and even a hint of spicy florals. Quite rich and mouthfilling, this is quite a distinct style that was enjoyed by many of the tasters.               
Retail $25.99       Special $21.99
Maset Reserva Tempranillo 2012
100% Tempranillo aged for 12 months in oak and a further 36 months in bottle before release. Plummy, slightly ageing characters with earthy spice flavours. Medium bodied and well integrated.               
Retail $25.99       Special $21.99
Chivite Gran Feudo Vinas Viejas 2010
Produced by Bodegas Chivite who are one of Spain’s most recognised names. Based in the region of Navarra just to the east of Rioja. Tempranillo with some Grenache, produced a special selection of 30+ year old vines, aged in French and American oak for 18 months. Moderately dark in colour with black cherry fruits and smokey oak and good drive. Plenty of palate interest. A good wine.
Retail $27.99       Special $23.99
Enate Crianza 2012
This is a relatively unusual blend for Spanish wines. Here Enate have used the traditional Tempranillo with Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a combination that works well. Aged in barrel for a period of nine months; the Cabernet Sauvignon in French oak and the Tempranillo in American oak. Quite dark with a bit of bricking of colour. There is a meatiness to this dark fruited, savoury wine with a real presence and good length.                  
Retail $25.99       Special $21.99
Pena del Valle Barrica 2014
Bodegas Pena del Valle is a collaboration between two childhood friends; Juan de Valle and Miguel  Garcias de la Pena from Tierra de Barros in the wine producing region of Extramadurra, in Spain’s remote southwest. This is an area that is now being ‘discovered’ by new innovative winemakers. This is a blend of Garnacha (Grenache) and Syrah, aged for 10 months in oak. Almost black in the glass, with the fruit flavours in the same spectrum - black berry fruits, liquorice, spice. This has nicely tuned, fine grain tannins and a bit of toasty oak on the finish. Pretty good!                
Retail $24.99       Special $20.99
Bodegas Perica 6 Cepas Tinto   
Based in San Ansensio, in Rioja Alta, this high quality winery has been operating for over 100 years. With 140 acres of its own vineyards spread throughout Rioja Alta, they also source fruit from throughout the Rioja region. This is the wineries’ take on a modern Rioja - aged for 6 months in French oak with a funky screen printed label. Quite fruit forward with some nice dusty tannin in the background.   
Retail $37.99       Special $31.99

Bodegas Ateca ​Atteca Old Vine Garnacha 2014
Bodegas Ateca has its headquarters in the village of Ateca, in the province of Zaragoza, fourteen km away from Calatayud. The gnarly old vines of Garnacha are planted on the hillsides at about 3,000 ft above sea level. This is a big, dark, juicy wine filled with sweet dark cherry, red and black liquorice and hints of orange peel, and a faint herbal note on the nicely dry finish. Quite an impressive wine that was the favourite of the night.               
Retail $32.99       Special $27.99
Maset del Lleo 1777 Reserva 2009
The presentation on this, Maset's top wine, is impressive. Each bottle is hand labelled, with the  wine details hand-written and individually numbered. The top is then sealed with wax and wrapped in sacking cloth. 100% Tempranillo aged for a number of years in French oak. The result is an aged wine of finesse. The red fruit flavours are changing into the more mellow, savoury spectrum with nice aged balsamic hints. Again a very good wine.  
Retail $42.99       Special $36.99

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