Wednesday, April 18, 2012

1995 Condada de Haza Ribera del Duero, Spain

This is a fully mature wine of considerable distinction. On the nose there's at first a hint of volatile acidity which is not unpleasant. Followed by a mature wine aroma of cherry, plum, blackberry, slightly burnt vanilla/caramel with little alcohol or hotness and no tannin on the palate. I have to say it reminded me a tiny bit of a mature Bordeaux, I suppose largely in the ease with which the aroma pervades and with which it goes down, tasting of no hotness or drying/puckering tannins, only sweet fruit. The color is ruby red with a pronounced brick red and light orange rim. This is delightful right now and maybe for another year at which point I'd guess the acidity will start to dominate the nose and palate instead of the ripe, mellow fruit. This is a 91 point wine, I think.

The wine was purchased at the local "Riojaspezialist" store a couple blocks away on Akazienstrasse. The owner is very friendly and knowledgable; he prefers Rioja obviously but does stock some Ribera, which I tend to prefer, so I was happy to see this venerable vintage available for a mere 24.5 Euros ($32), substantially less than it cost in 1997 dollars ($49) when it came out in the US. Again, it's wonderful to be able to take advantage of the lower prices for European wines here in...Europe! This wine is made by the same folks who put out Pesquera, a top Ribera bodega.

Parker gave it 90 points back in 1997:

The 1995 Contado de Haza exhibits an opaque ruby/purple color, followed by an expressive, sweet, jammy, toasty nose of black cherries, plums, and prunes. Generous and full-bodied fruit flavors ooze across the palate with a certain viscosity. Strikingly silky with low acidity, this marvelously-concentrated, voluptuously-textured, sexy wine can be drunk now or aged for 12-15 years. Overall, the 1995 is more harmonious than the earthier, more tannic 1994. This winery, owned by Pesquera's Alejandro Fernandez, is doing whole cluster fermentation and aging the wines for 15 months in American oak barrels. The 100% Tempranillo vineyard was planted by Fernandez in the 1980s on a south-facing slope. The first two vintages of this wine to be shipped internationally, 1994 and 1995, are extraordinarily impressive.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

2007 Gratavinum gratallops Priorat

Wonderful at thru the looking glass restaurant, Szczecin, Poland with Tom and Clay. What a treat. Blueberry, cherry, plum and unidentified spices with some piney woods too. A little short on the finish and light body retards score a bit for Parker but I loved it. Ranks below clos de l'Obac purchased for Berlin stay. 450 zlotys or $135 in restaurant. $90 in store in USA. I say 93 points.