Monday, October 29, 2012

Monte Real Gran Reserva 1998, Bodegas Riojanas DOCa Rioja Spain

According to the governing traditions the Reservas from Rioja must spend (at least) 1 year in oak barrels and 2 years in bottle; Gran Reservas spend (at least) 2 years in barrels and 3 years in bottle.

The Monte Real GR blend is 80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano, aged in American oak casks for 24 to 30 months and in bottle for 36 months. I first sampled this in 2008 at the Astor Center's Rioja Wine Seminar where my notes are as follows:

On the nose are beautiful bright cherries with aromatic spices and ripe summer fruits, while on the palate waves of dark fruit make for an excellent balance and a lush, long finish. I did a search and PJ Wine Co. has it listed retail at $26.99. This, I believe, is an amazing value.

Here are my notes on the same wine 4 years later at the "Spain's Great Match/WineFoodDesign" held in the Metropolitan Center in NYC this past week. 

Pale ruby colors in the glass with burnt orange around the rim, mild spices, white pepper, subdued, ripe cherry, smooth, mild wood, very smooth finish. Presently the SRP is $55.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Castello di Gabbiano Bellezza Chianti Classico Riserva 2009 DOCG

Made with 100% Sangiovese grapes, hand picked ripe fruits, fermented in stainless steel at warm temperatures, punched down 4 times daily for 28 days for added texture and extraction and then aged on the lees in French oak for 17 months before bottling.

Deep ruby colors with aromas of resinous ripe cherries, raspberries and strawberries while the palate shows attractive signs of cinnamon and nutmeg with puffs of smoky vanilla and hints of an earthy slate. Crisp and juicy acidity with bold tannins and an excellent finish.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Castello di Borghese Merlot 2007

Formerly known as Hargrave Vineyards, Anne Marie and Marco Borghese have taken Castello di Borghese to new heights. They made the oldest vines on Long Island work very successfully for them. 

Aged in French oak for 13 months before bottling. Ruby with warmer colors around the edge of the glass. Clear bright cherries with caramel aromas, beautiful essence of rosewater contrasting a strong vanilla, also hints of raspberries and blue fruits, while flavors of ripe cherry compote, cinnamon, and vanilla again, wisps of white pepper combine nicely on the palate. Showing mild, soft tannins, finely balanced with a supple and juicy acidity. A good long finish, 12.5 % alcohol and a great value for a 2007 at $20!

Friday, October 12, 2012

L'oca Ciuca 2008 IGT

L'oca Ciuca or The Drunken Goose is a Tuscan blend of 40% Sangiovese, 30% merlot, and 30% Syrah with pretty violet perfume, aromas of ripe rich and crisp cherries, while on the palate notes of red fruit and cherries with white pepper and anise. Followed by hints of blueberries, vanilla, and especially caramel at the back of the tongue. Soft tannins, nice finish, just an all around winner. This bottle was $34 at Tuscan Hills on Queens Blvd.