Showing posts with label Castilla y Leon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Castilla y Leon. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tempranillo By Any Other Name

Bela is located in the village of Villalba de Duero, in the Castilla y Leon region of Spain's rugged Ribera del Duero appellation.  Bela is produced by CVNE, Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana.  Their vineyard is some 2600  feet above sea level, and features mostly clay and sandy soil. 

The 2017 Bela Ribera del Duero was made from grapes harvested in the estate vineyard.  The Tempranillo grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for six months in barrels of American and French oak.  Some of the casks were new, some were one year old.  Alcohol hits 14% abv and the retail price is an enjoyable $18.

This Tempranillo is dark and savory on the nose.  Black fruit meets tar over a cup of coffee.  The palate is fruit-forward, with a healthy dose of earth, licorice and spice.  The tannins are firm, but it's still an enjoyable sipper.  The mouthfeel is full, even lush, and the acidity makes for a wine which will pair well with meat dishes, especially heartier autumn meals. My wife used it in a delicious tomato sauce she made, and it brought a deep, earthy facet to it.


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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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Avelino Vegas Arco de la Vega Verdejo Viura 2008


A wrought iron loveseat has been moved to a higher position in the backyard and stripped of its filthy, brick-colored cushions.  The frame actually looks great, and even better the flowers that now sit in their pots upon the iron structure, committing their riot of color.

In the foreground, an interesting, old, weathered table sits with a couple of cafe chairs bookending it.  When the eyes drift to the background, the two unopened bags of soil supplements make a statement about the gardening work yet to be done.  The yard is so much lovelier now than when we started, and yet so much lies ahead.  I can't wait to see the corn planted off to the left side of the property, twelve stalks bursting with yellow ears.

And when the work is done for the day, and when the deck and its comfy chairs beckon, there will be wine.

I always seem to wax poetic - at least that's what I call it - when a Spanish wine is opened.  I think that may be because it was actually a tasting of Spanish wines that made a wine geek out of me.  An importer had brought some Spanish wines and some pictures of Spanish vineyards.  Looking at the scrub-brush grapevines growing in the Spanish desert, and juxtaposing those images against the magnificent wines made from them, I was hooked.  I felt I had some true insight into what it is that makes a winemaker keep on working. 

Bodegas Avelino Vegas  has a wine called Arco de la Vega, which is a 50/50 blend of Verdejo and Viura from Castilla y Leon.  The alcohol level is at 12% abv, so it wears very well as a hot weather refresher.  A twelve-dollar price tag puts it in the "affordable" column.  So far all systems are "go" for a delightful summer sipper, if it's good.  Let's find out.

The nose is all about the grapefruit. The taste, too, for that matter.  Not any of that Rio Grande Ruby Red fruit with the sweetness that tries to rub out the tartness.  I'm talking about the grapefruit that puckers the mouth to such an extent it seems there might not be any relief from it.  This wine is as fresh and vigorous an expression of Verdejo and Viura as I can remember.  There is some of that "wet stone minerality" to be had, but honestly, its like trying to focus on a dime in the roadway when there's a big rig barreling down upon you.  Peeking out from around the sides of that huge grapefruit explosion is a bit of lemon zest and a nice acidity.  This wine will serve well with light menu fare and stand on it own, too.