the spanish aquisition

New Releases Tasting February 2016

BLANCOS
TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'Basa' Verdejo 2014, DO Rueda
Now without any Sauvignon in the blend, this is gorgeous old dry grown Verdejo blended with a little of the lighter floral Viura for lift. Faithful to the deep sandy, stony soils of the high plains above Rio Duero, Basa is lovely, uncomplicated, and texturally pleasing. Smelling of feijoa and fresh-cut pear with the faintest wash of tropicals, it has a palate perfectly blending richness and rip. Mid-weight, of good length with a great mix of flesh, earth and tannin running out on sensational natural acid.

ZARATE Albariño 2014, Salnes Valley, DO Rias Baixas
Organic champ and genuine great guy, Eulogio Pomares has raised a ripper from the Salnes granite in 2014. A waft of the nearly Atlantic adds an entrancing saline line above the granite and below the prickly pear/cut apple fruit. This trio work together perfectly in mouth as well, with a touch of pearl giving a gurgling, running brook effect. Delicate in overall affect, but totally satisfying. Pure Salnes Valley.

VALMIÑOR Albariño 2014, O Rosal, DO Rias Baixas
Diamonds in the bloodstream - not just a great Raised by Eagles album, but kinda the way this stays neat. Golden and fleshy Albariño ripeness cut by little green diamonds, it's flecked with herbal tangy glinting aspects on nose and in mouth which allow the wine to express texturally and yet stay tucked, focused, on message, on track. Wonderfully controlled extract forms a unifying bridge between fruit richness and acid rip. Extremely good Rosal wine.

LADAIRO Godello Blanco 2013, DO Monterrei
Godello's trademark fallen orchard fruits (as always, credit to Bree Boskov for this killer call) are in clear view, along with the soils, twigs, ground herbs and other botanicals of the orchard. Sweet earth and grape skins mingle nicely in the savoury fruit and the whole thing has a lovely sense of movement and length as well as depth in a manner rarely seen in Godello (which while often lovely can tend to be front-loaded and ponderous). Monterrei has a climate which neatly mixes coastal and continental and seems perfectly suited to finesse in this Galician native.

LUIS ANXO 'Os Pasos' Treixadura 2013, DO Ribeiro
Treixadura blend, technically (75% with 15% Albarino and a bit of the local Lado and Torrontes). The blend is important: Treixadura has a wonderful honey/steel/gold (Ed Kuepper in a bottle, anyone, anyone?) character that is A-grade in all respects save for a tendency to aromatic dullness. 99% of Ribeiros 'overcome' this by using industrial 'personality' yeasts. And the wines made thus are as phony here as anywhere else. Luis, being the main man of the DO does it the right way, making straight up gorgeous Treixadura given aromatic lift by subtle blending. The ripe straw nose is as compelling as a summer's day haystack in an old Dutch master. These golden sheaves gain complex tangy herbs, pale soil aromas and cider apples over the background tinny-steel tang of Treixadura. Supple, rich, savoury, subtle, complex, beguiling ... a true wine bargain.

CAPÇANES 'Mas Donis' Garnatxa Blanca blend 2014, DO Montsant
Helped by some Macabeo in the blend to reduce vinosity and alco-power, this is Garnatxa Blanca at its most elegant. The limestone soil and Mediterranean botanicals evident in the wine warmly speak of place, but in all honesty sheer ease of enjoyment is the clearest thing in this wine. Perfectly mid-weight, utterly savoury and with no winemaking on show, this will please lovers of Chablis, Soave and the like. Great texture, nice spice, delightful, reliable pleasure.

ROSADOS
CAPÇANES 'Mas Donis' Rosat de Garnatxa 2014, DO Montsant
Beautiful reduction of Garnatxa tinto ... It's everything about the berry but lighter, fresher and zippier. Beautiful red fruits of the forest with an appley crunch, a light wave of Montsant's limestone soils and delicate fruit tannins in a nice buzzing herbal register ... Mas Donis pink has a lovely juicy and refreshing primary feel without any sugar heft. It fits and sits right in the middle of the palate, leaving a perfect amount of space - an invitation to be completed with riotous chat and chew action.

ANTIDOTO 'Roselito' Tinto Fino and Albillo 2014, DO Ribera del Duero
Chalky white limestone soil literally screams out of the glass here. Made of half red and half white grapes (very old vines grown about 1000m altitude), it smells like white wine stained with briar and tobacco (delicate versions of local Tempranillo essentials), and has a lilt of the sea running through it - and sea beds these very high altitude soils once were, long before continental uplift had its way. Utterly dry, aching, spare, super-long, arcing and reaching with terrific grip from the soil and delicately handled phenolic extract. Serious and demanding, the opposite of non-inspirational rose everywhere (most of all Spain!)

ANTIDOTO 'le Rose de Antidoto' Tinto Fino and Albillo 2014, DO Ribera del Duero
"Are you a Rosé?"
"Non, je suis 'Le' Rosé".
Honest, this thing thinks it's Stagger Lee. Get Marty Casey's Stag-swag base line in your head before you go near this bad, bad boy. It's Roselito to the power of 3, more rosey 'boof' on the nose, but even more limestone backbone, all grunt - be careful it might just blow your speakers if you don't pay attention.
... " and Stag filled him full of lead, oh yeaahhhh."

TINTOS
LUIS ANXO 'a Torna dos Pasos' Brancellao 2012, DO Ribeiro
Talk about blood on a rose, this smells so much like the clipped thorns of old-school roses and a bit of pricked blood too ... It's a little ashy, it's fleshy, and crabapple crunchy too. Not quite mid-weight, perfectly savoury and with a lovely soft tannin fan effect in the mouth.

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'Gaba do Xil' Mencia 2012, DO Valdeorras
Red fruits run through with full, but satin-like tannins, a lovely wine of flesh and crunch in nice relation. Lovely polished earthiness, it's a country wine without any rusticity. Gulpable, simple, excellent.

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'As Caborcas' Cru Mencia 2012, DO Valdeorras
An ancient mixed vineyard based on Mencia, but in reality a field blend library of this place's genetics. Fine and lingering on nose and in mouth, the fruit is red and floral not unlike the whole of a red apple the moment it is picked ripe in the orchard. The smell and taste of the vineyard runs through everything, as Telmo desires, this really is "the anti-winemaking", tasting entirely of its place.

CELLER del ROURE 'Setze Gallets' Garnatxa Monastrell blend 2013, DO Valencia
16 Coins, it's an old pirate tale! Valencia is where the pretty Garnatxa of the north meets Monastrell, the champ of Spain's southern Mediterranean coast. Unwooded, aged in buried clay jars, it's a lively and vital blend of floral red fruits with tarry licorice-like tannin. With nice earth and great acid, it lingers wonderfully. Impeccable value and could even be chilled.

4 KILOS VINICOLA 'Gallines i Foques' Manto Negro 2012, Mallorca
Loads of balsamic notes, soft deep black fruits, round but very fresh, it has volume and ease in excellent juxtaposition. Touches of dark cherry, chocolate, plum skin, violet, and a great sense of electric nerve winding through.

4 KILOS VINICOLA Grimalt - Cabellero Callet 2012, Mallorca
What a delightfully austere wine! Dashes of the abstract and volatile, Mediterranean hedgerow balsalmics, marzipan, earth and sky ... Oh, yeah , there's some delicate, glorious Callet fruit in there, too. Grand Cru every day of the week, with incredible depth and reach despite an apparent absence of extract and impact, this is from the oldest (most 'authentic') Callet vineyard in existence. Stunning, rare wine and unbelievably inexpensive.

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'Dehesa Gago' Tinta de Toro 2013, DO Toro
Glacé cherry with a touch of chocolate, some cranberry, and a nice orchard tree florality run the show here, with the powerful clay soils of Toro in clear evidence underneath. All lovely and exuberant, but the real point with this wine is just how delicate and pared back it is compared to the Toro norm. (Toro basically being a super-rich soil reach of the Duero much better suited in the main to cash crops and such). Unwooded, aged in concrete, it's not fruity, not raw, not heavy, just a moderate riot of fruit entirely organised on great, gravelly grip-and-release fruit tannins. Simple and special.

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'Gago' Tinta de Toro 2013, DO Toro
Dehesa Gago's big sister, and acts just like her. Slicker and polished, extremely well-organised voluptuousness ... Nutty tannins glide through the Tempranillo cola and unify it with Toro earthiness.

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'Pago la Jara' Tinta de Toro 2011, DO Toro
Beautiful amalgam of fruit tannin and very fine oak, spice and acid, the core of this wine is Toro earth given highly structured form in delicate winemaking hands, and all run around and through with complex fruits in a dazzlingly perfumed, rather than sugar-leaden form. Lashings of anise, a tease of cacao, pretty red flowers and an expressive perfume flourish at the back signs off with a great sense of release.

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'Corriente' Tempranillo 2012, DOCa Rioja
Lantziego's growers organised as a collective via Telmo and Pablo's raw concrete winery atop the hill outside the village. This "Rioja Regular" is entirely typical of just this part of Rioja - plenty of clay in the chalk, floral red berry Tempranillo and Garnacha with excellent volume ... lovely roundness without heft, a touch of briar, open-weave, full fruit tannin embrace. Bring me a charcoal'd carcass right now!

ALEGRE & VALGANON 'La Calleja' Tempranillo 2012, DOCa Rioja
A "real" traditional Rioja, Oscar Alegre and his wife Eva Valganon blend the coldest Tempranillo-suited soils of la Rioja in their little village of Fonzaleche, with warmer-clime San Vicente Garnacha. Reminds me a lot of pre-Parker Barossa - those lovely old-school, old wood Shiraz-Cabernet earthy country wines.

REMELLURI Lindes de Remelluri 'Labastida' Tempranillo 2011, DOCa Rioja
REMELLURI Lindes de Remelluri 'San Vicente' Tempranillo 2011, DOCa Rioja
When Telmo took over Remelluri in 2009 he found that his dad had increasingly been buying wines from the villages either side of Remelluri Estate (Labastida on the western 'linde' or side of Remelluri, on the track to Haro, and San Vicente on the eastern 'linde', the boundary towards Logroño). Telmo immediately culled the grower fruit, but instead of simply cancelling their contracts, and leaving the villagers without income, he decided to make a grower's wine from the villages either side of the estate. Not only did he honour the contracts in 2009, being such a committed historian and cultural conservator, Telmo decided the little village project they had accidentally made as a one-off was in fact a really worthwhile alternate interpretation and expression of Rioja, and he has continued to make the Lindes de Remelluri grower-village wines since (with ongoing improvement in what are now delicious, interesting and very good value wines.
The two villages are just 5km apart on a small country road, the A-124 from Haro to Logroño which winds just under the mountains above the north shore of the Ebro. Labastida and San Vicente offer quite different terroir expressions, with no winemaking to influence the differences. It's a very cool project. Labastida is soft, sweet and delicate with good energy and nice lines - a cool-soils wine with juicy inky-blue fruits. San Vicente has a warmer aspect and richer ferrous red soils, and although high under the Cantabrica range, it's a village suited to Garnacha as well as Tempranillo. Lindes de San Vicente is a notably more earthy wine, with foursquare tannins, nicely blocky compared to the slink of Labastida.

ARTADI 'Estate' Tempranillo 2014 , DOCa Rioja
Artadi's young vines blend across the four sites of the estate. Gentle oak treatment (9 months in 1, 2 and 3 y.o. French oak) gives savoury, elegant maturity without any hint of oakiness.

Cune Reserva Tempranillo 2011, DOCa Rioja
Sweetly earthy and balsamic woodsy aromas wander by one another and mingle with subtle cherry, plum and rose. There are touches of briar, tobacco leaf and a hint of choc. The palate is perfectly resolved and graceful, with fruit, oak and earth all playing together in harmony. A mint-acid snip gives definition. Just mid-weight, gloriously glidey and relaxed, it is the big easy. And it will live until 50 years' age, no sweat, given good cellaring. Impressive for the price...

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'Altos de Lanzaga' Tempranillo 2011, DOCa Rioja
Cherry cola and cherry tree wood with field herb and birch-brushy undergrowth on the nose, all of which repeat on the palate. It's long and very, very fine. Perfectly grained, tooled without tightness, sweet ripe seeds and skins have yielded a mature and sweet tannin-acid frame of great class. Beautifully integrated.

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'Las Beatas' Tempranillo 2012, DOCa Rioja
Violet, fennel, cherry blossom and fresh clay soil. It is very floral, very much of the soil, lovely and very delicate. Open, purple and electric. There's cranberry in the violet, angelica, mountain air, and lots of space in a palate which is fine and clear featuring very lovely delicate tannins. (tasted in Oullari, June 2013, still carrying post-malo carbonic).

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'M2 de Matallana' Tinto Fino 2011, DO Ribera del Duero
Literally, the second wine of Matallana, Telmo makes M2 in a deliberately 'feminine' style, for ease of early access, but also as a style preference for better representation of Tempranillo's more subtle side. Basically, Telmo's position is that Tempranillo is a delicate grape variety, and that big, extracted blockbusters are not the most sympathetic or appropriate style. Really, really wonderful fruit such as that used in Matallana and Pingus can handle new barriques and still be subtle, perfumed wines, but most often Tempranillo requires rather more subtle handling. For M2, this means new and one-year old oak, but based on 600 litre larger formats, for subtle impregnation with, rather than domination by oak. Resultantly, M2 shows Tempranillo's naturally juicy, velvety fruit profile and cloud of heady back palate perfume to great advantage.

TELMO RODRIGUEZ 'Matallana' Tinto Fino 2010, DO Ribera del Duero
This affordable masterpiece is entirely handmade, biologically grown and matured for 18 months in new French barriques. Although beautifully made, with great finesse and integration, it begs for at least 3 years' cellaring to allow regional perfume, earth, and all the many layers of complexity to really express.

CILLAR de SILOS 'Torresilo' Tinto Fino 2012, DO Ribera del Duero
Fine, deep blue-note cola aromatics are underpinned by gorgeous silty clay-dirt smells imbued with licorice, tobacco, cowhide and rainforest timber ... very pure, and very Ribera. Fine blueberry fruit in the mouth plus Silos' typical red heather perfume is cut by nutty tannins and precisely set tangy-anisey mineral acidity. So silky, you'll find yourself licking the top of your palate, endlessly, dreamily, and in public.

ANTIDOTO 'Le Hormiga de Antidoto' Tempranillo 2012, DO Ribera del Duero
Sweet blackcurrant pastille fruit is pippy and gamey with lovely ripe tannin aroma. There's beautiful wet soil smells, fat-soft metal minerals, dark raspberry and purply violets. Lots of aromatic action, but all is organised and gently expressive. Plush-palated, it has beautifully rounded and spiced purple fruits backed by the minerals, running along a seamless seam of perfectly integrated silky tannin/oak before giving way to an exquisite squeak of natural acid.

ESCUDERO-SOURDAIS 'Dominio de ES' Tinto Fino 2012, DO Ribera del Duero
Carmine marked with magenta, it's fresher and lower in alcohol in the tradition of Clarete wines. Soft, earthy, beautifully perfumed fruit runs cherry-boysenberry-gooseberry. It's a textural expression of soil, with fleshy silkiness given a nice tug by spice and minerality with floral-vegetal relief. A good splosh of the white Albillo and its lovely fresh acidity softens the strictness of the limestone rimming the palate, and leavens the power with which clay marks the tannins. Lovely. Allocation for Australia, 60 bottles.

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