Bon Appétit: Spanish wines
March 26, 2010 with Juan Guardia of European Cellars
2008 Burgans Albarino: 100% Albarino. Burgans is made at the famous Bodega Martin Codax by Luciano Almoedo, perhaps the biggest advocate of the Albarino varietal in Spain. Luciano was extremely influential in obtaining worldwide recognition for not only the varietal, but also Rias-Baixas, where he was the founder and first leader of the AOC. Today, the Bodega has grown considerably and is known as one of the most progressive in the zone. The use of wood is definitively eschewed at the Bodega in order to preserve the natural lift and minerality of the grapes. As such, the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel with light lees stirring. The wine is blended by Eric Solomon, working in concert with the property, and is bottled in the spring after harvest.
2007 Artazuri Garnacha: 100% Garacha (Grenache) from 40-60 year old vines. 6 months in neutral French oak. “Vivid red. Energetic, sharply focused strawberry and raspberry aromas are complicated by notes of rose, cinnamon and white pepper; smells like a sexy pinot noir. The very fresh palate offers silky, sweet red berry flavors and suave notes of candied flowers and Asian spices. Gains sweetness on the finish, lingering with good flavor authority and liveliness. This is an outstanding value.”
2007 Casa Castillo Monastrell:Casa Castillo Monastrell is made from the lower vineyards at the bottom of the slopes; soils are brown and calcare, planted totally with Monsatrell. The vineyard is cropped in the traditional bush, and without irrigation, with a density of 1.600 vines per hectare. The wine is aged for 6 months in used barrels in their third year. 80% of them were french oak barrels of 500 litres, 20% remaining aged in american oak barrels of 225 l.
2008 Bodegas Castano Monastrell: 100% Monastrell. Created by Ramon Castaño Santa and his 3 sons, Bodegas Castaño is not nearly as old as the vines it owns. Starting quite small, the family has nurtured old plantings and re-planted other parcels and now owns about 400 hectares (10% of the D.O.) in four prime vineyard estates. Bodegas Castaño, as it is known today for its entrepreneurial spirit, focus and vision, really begun in the early 80’s when it slowly and carefully started to experiment with bottling and its state of the art winery facility. The family’s commitment to both quality and the Monastrell variety is unparalleled. Today, Daniel Castaño, one of Ramon’s sons, runs the winery with the help of other members of the family.
2006 Artadi Rioja Crianza Vinas de Gain, 100% Tempranillo: The Artadi estate was created in 1985 by the dynamic visionary winemaker, Juan Carlos Lopez de la Calle. His objective was to seek and nurture the concept that Tempranillo, when cultivated at high altitude, low-cropped, and from old vines, produces extraordinarily rich and profound wines. This, coupled with specific barrel treatments (with minor American oak influences) produces some of Rioja’s best wines. Artadi is about purity of extracted fruit with almost Burgundian textures. In fact, critics have often compared these wines to the top wines of Chambolle-Musigny and other top appellations of Burgundy. The key to this level of elegance comes from the cold wines of the Pyrenees which blow from the north. This coupled with moderate temperatures tend to make these wines a study in elegance and power, the iron fist in a velvet glove if you will. They are some of the most extraordinary examples of Tempranillo in the world.