Monday, April 23, 2012

Spanish Wines From Whole Foods Market, Part Two

Whole Foods Market invited me to take part in a Twitter Tasting event featuring some of the Spanish wines they have in stock for the spring.  The event - on April 19, 2012 - took place over social media giant Twitter.  I and the other participants broke out the bottles supplied by our local Whole Foods, spread bottles and glasses and smartphones and computers across the kitchen table and went to work.  If you’d like to see how the conversation went, it’s here.

We tasted the wines and tweeted our findings, comparing notes with the others.  Here is how they tasted to me:

Castell de Raimat Albariño 2011

This Albariño is produced in Costers del Segre region near Lleida in Catalonia.  Costers del Segre is unusual for a wine region, in that it is made up of several different sub-zones which are scattered about the area in the northeastern corner of Spain, unconnected to one another.  The Whole Foods sommeliers informed us that Raimat is the biggest family-owned, single vineyard estate in Europe.

The lightly tinted white has a beautiful bouquet of pineapples, pears and flowers.  It’s a fairly intense nose, with aromas showing themselves plainly.  A slight fizziness shows in the glass.  Succulent lemon and lime flavors dominate the palate, and a zippy acidity feels playful in the mouth.  A lime zest flavor lingers after the sip.  12.5% abv.

Faustino Rioja 2010

The Rioja region is in northern Spain, where the strong winds can present a problem for grape growers.  The Cantabrian Mountains help protect Rioja from the nasty wind and also help keep the temperatures moderate.  The Ebro and Oja Rivers figure into the region’s geography.

This Rioja red is amazing.  It’s a fairly dark ruby color and the nose knocks me out.  Blackberry and cassis come forward in strong fashion, with a trace of oak notes in the background.  The palate is just luscious, and it shows cassis even stronger than on the nose and features a slight hint of chocolate.  A great acidity livens up the silky mouthfeel.  This is a very good Tempranillo. 13% abv.

Más de Leda Tempranillo  2008

This wine is labeled as Tierra de Castilla y León.  Adding “Tierra de” to the region’s name allows the bodega the freedom to source grapes from outside the appellation if they so desire.  These Tempranillo grapes come from old vine, low-yielding vineyards in the Duero River Valley of northern Spain.

Medium-dark ruby in the glass, the nose is a delightful mix of cherry candy and anise.  Black cherry and blackberry are most noticeable on the palate, with a spicy streak running through it.  The finish has black licorice and cinnamon notes lasting quite some time.

Whole Foods Market featured Spanish wines include:
Hermanos Lurton Verdejo from Rueda
Castell de Raimat Albariño from Costers del Segre in Catalan
Spartico Organic Tempranillo from Valencia 
Protos Tinto Fino from Ribera del Duero 
Faustino Rioja from Rioja
Maximo Tempranillo from La Mancha 
Más de Leda Tempranillo from Castilla y León 
La Vendimia Granacha Tempranillo from Rioja 
Cellars Can Blau Blau Cariñena Garnacha-Syrah from Priorat 
Monte Oton Garnacha from Campo de Borja
Castillo de Monséran Garnacha from Cariñena
Castaño Organic Monastrell from Yecla 

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