Category Archives: Spanish Wine

Bodegas Riojanas Rioja Monte Real Vertical

Tempranillo from excellent vineyards and good vintages like the Bodegas Riojanas Monte Reals can go forever, retaining a lot of their delicious fruit for several decades, but putting on wonderful secondary and tertiary flavors of tobacco, mushroom and cigar box as well. Continue reading

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Ribera del Duero: Rich, Tempranillo-Based Wines

If you like rich, complex, high quality red wines, you owe it to yourself to get to know the wines of Ribera del Duero. The steep vineyards rising along the banks of the Duero River in Spain’s second most important wine region, after Rioja, yield wines that are frequently outstanding. Continue reading

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Rioja Gems Part III: Hugely Successful Innovator

This week, it’s my pleasure to relate the details of a visit to two of the winery properties owned by one of Rioja’s reigning winemaking families—the highly successful Egurens. Continue reading

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Rioja Gems Part I: Bodegas Franco-Españolas

In a trip filled with highlights, my visit to Franco-Españolas was a standout for me for several reasons. I’d been curious about this producer ever since its wines—including a 1968 Royal Reserva and 1964 Excelso Gran Reserva–had come out on top for me in a couple of retrospective tastings of older Riojas in the past year. It’s also an incredibly beautiful winery, dating back to the 1890s, in the heart of Logroño, Rioja’s largest city. And the wines are exceptional—from the good quality, fresh young wines, to the Reservas and Gran Reservas, to the aged examples (especially an outstanding old white Gran Reserva, one of the best wines I’ve tasted this year). In short, this is a producer deserving of much greater attention, especially from those, like me, who are fans of the world’s great traditional producers. Continue reading

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Spanish Wine: Great Values for Ready Drinking

A few tastings of current Spanish releases in recent weeks, including the Spanish Wine Cellar trade show last month, have driven home for me two facts: Spanish wines are not only great bargains, they are also ideally suited to the American palate. Continue reading

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Great Grower Champagnes and other Sparkling Wines for the Holiday Season

Terry’s Estate Selections and the sparkling wines and Champagnes from the WineWise Portfolio that were presented at the tasting event I attended in mid-October include most of the great grower producers: Vilmart, Pierre Péters, H. Billiot, Chartogne-Taillet, Gaston Chiquet, Henri Goutorbe, Jean Milan, Marc Hébrart, A. Margaine and Pierre Gimonnet. These great Champagnes, represented in many cases by the winemaker or a member of the family that owns and runs the domaine, were poured alongside a variety of other sparkling wines. In all, I tasted 87 sparkling wines from 25 producers at this event. These were impressive wines across the board, and a very strong group of producers. Continue reading

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More Mature Riojas 1961-1998: López de Heredia, Ygay, Cune, Bodegas Riojanas

We started with a flight of white Riojas. For me, at least, these complex, gorgeous, savory wines, in an intentionally oxidative style, nearly stole the show. After that flight, I very much want to try an entire lunch or dinner devoted to aged white Riojas as I think they would hold their own not only with salads and appetizers, but virtually any savory dish or protein a chef might throw at them. It would be fun, as well, to try to pair some of the savory spice-oriented tertiary flavors one gets from these wines, like cumin and saffron, with dishes featuring those ingredients. The whites we tasted came from López de Heredia–probably the most familiar and popular source of oxidative, ageworthy white Riojas in this country–and Marqués de Murrieta. Continue reading

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