February 10, 2018

Kickin Up a Notch!!! Return to ATAULA!


1. 2014 La Vizcaina La Vitoriana Tinto 2014 - blend of mostly Mencia with Bastardo (Trousseau), Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet), Dona Blanca and Palomino grapes
My favorite red of the 2014 vintage was the 2014 La Vizcaína La Vitoriana, which was very expressive, floral and elegant, with filigree and detail. There is a lot of depth in the palate, greatly balanced with very fine tannins and a long, tasty finish. This is the oldest vineyard they have, and Raúl Pérez told me the vineyard is not an easy one: very good in some years, not so good in others. 6,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in April, the latest bottling, as it needs a long aging after a three-month maceration. Rated 95 The Wine Advocate

2. 2015 Horizonte de Exopto Rioja Spain - blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha & Graciano grapes
Sweet black fruit and fine vanilla from the oak. Surprisingly plush for this category in spite of the serious tannins. Long and quite polished finish. Drinking well now. Rated 93 James Suckling

3. 2013 Bodegas Jorge Ordonez Vatan Tinto de Toro Spain – 100% Tempranillo grape
I also tasted the just-bottled 2013 Vatan, from a completely different vintage that despite the cooler growing season, achieved 2% more alcohol than the 2012 (this is 16% and remained with 3.5 grams unfermented sugar). The wine is ripe and hedonistic, juicier and fresher than the 2012, and despite having more alcohol it feels much more balanced. It is still a baby with plenty of puppy fat to be rendered by the time in bottle. There are some lactic aromas, ripe black berry fruit and integrated oak scents; it has plenty of spices and some underbrush hints. The palate is full-bodied with glossy tannins; it is juicy, chewy and nicely balanced within its XXL size. The velvety tannins make it approachable now, but it should develop more complexity in bottle, and for sure it should have a long life ahead. It is a nice representation of a powerful Toro style, and at this quality level, the price is quite good. Rated 93 The Wine Advocate

4. 2009 Bodegas San Valero "El Bombero" Gran Reserva Spain – 100% Garnacha grape (aka Grenache)
Like the original, this is 100% Spanish Garnacha from seriously old vines (some up to 90 years of age!) and delivers a punch of deep, dark, berry flavor. But thanks to three years spent mellowing in oak barrels and another three-plus years in bottle, there’s also an intriguing spicy-cocoa character that keeps you coming back for more. Guaranteed to be a hit on your dinner table – pair with beef, lamb, meaty pastas, or small plates of chorizo and Manchego cheese. vinovations.us

5. 2014 Vinos Valtuille Pago de Valdoneje Mencia Bierzo Spain – 100% Mencia grape
Intensive Red color with violets hints. On the nose it is extremely fresh. Barnyard and smoke driven nose. Black and red fruits such as plums and blackberries; very earthy and mineral coming from the Bierzo soils such as roasted notes, smoke, black pepper and licorice, some hints of balsamic aromas, mint mainly, are also present. The wine is firmly structured on the palate, with incredible depth and a persistent fruit-driven finish. Perfect balance with very fine tannins. This wine is unfined and unfiltered. TheWineBowGroup.com

6. 2012 El Aprendiz Prietopicudo Leyenda del Paramo Tierra de Leon Spain – Prietopicudo grape
Prietopicudo is a local grape variety, unique to the region and almost entirely extinct. Alongside Albarin Bianco, another rare local grape, there are only 100 hectares remaining. This opens with spicy peppery notes of red berries and warm almost-garrigue-herbs. The palate has vibrant acidity , giving life to a core of pure juicy dark berry fruit. The tannins are very fine, making this an elegant and appealing wine – delicious now and rather moreish. laywheeler.com

7. 2015 Bodegas Raul Perez Ultreia St. Jacques Bierzo - blend of mostly Mencia with Bastardo (Trousseau) and Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) grapes
The 2015 Ultreia St Jacques is the entry-level red for the Ultreia range and is amazingly good for the price. Produced from old vines, this is a serious wine, with juicy fruit, a fine palate and good freshness for the conditions of the year. They have included new vineyards that they have been working for the last four or five years, so they are able to bottle a little bit more wine. This is a great value. 24,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2017. Rated 93 The Wine Advocate; #51 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2017

8. 2013 Stone Griffin Tempranillo Estate Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon - Tempranillo
Planted in 2007, this Spanish varietal is estate grown in Carlton. Tempranillo means “early” in Spanish, contributing to the success of ripening. Beautifully rich and full bodied without being too jammy. Hints of spicy white pepper, warm vanilla, and cassis in the smooth tannins. Well balanced with a nice dry finish. Winery