New Spanish Wine, May 2014

2012 Bodegas Avanthia Avancia Cuvée de O, Valdeorras, Godello

Godello is a varietal found principally in Galicia in NW Spain. To my palate, it typically produces full-bodied whites with citrus (think lime zest), stone fruit (peach and apricot) and fresh stream aromas (we’ve just returned from a walk along our fresh stream, so that may be lingering), with a medium weight in the mouth that is minimized by its crisp, acid-driven finish. They are very savory, food-friendly wines that can pair well with scallops, salmon, swordfish, chicken, sheep cheeses, and mild Indian and Chinese foods.

The review below appeared in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Novermber 2013. He assigned the wine an 89 score.

Approximately 40% of the 2012 Avancia Cuvee de O godello is barrel-fermented and 60% aged in stainless steel. It is then aged six months sur-lie. The debut release, the 2012 exhibits lots of wet stone and chalky minerality characteristics as well as intense notes of white currants and a delicate hint of apricots. Rich and intense with wonderful freshness as well as precision, it should drink nicely for several years.

This joint project between Bodegas Godeval and Jorge Ordonez was founded in 2007 in the appellation of Valdeorras in Galicia. The white wines are made from Godello, a grape that can produce very fine wine.

2011 Bodegas Avante Tineta, Ribera del Duero

Though this is the first vintage for the winery, the vines from which the Tineta is made were planted between 1975-1985. It was fermented in stainless steel, then transferred to 3-year old barrels and aged for 7 months before bottling. 4000 cases were produced.

Parker—91, October 2012

The grapes from this vineyard are used in the 2011 Tineta (100% Tinto Fino). It reveals a deep ruby/purple color as well as copious notes of crème de cassis intermixed with hints of wood smoke and charcoal. Medium to full-bodied, juicy, succulent and sensual, it should drink nicely for 3-4 years.

Josh Raynolds–90, International Wine Cellar, Sept. 2012

100% Tempranillo, featured in stainless steel and then aged in three-year-old barrels for seven months): Youthful purple. Intense aromas of blueberry, cherry liqueur, licorice and Indian spices. Lively, sweet and spicy in the mouth, with energetic black and blue fruit flavors underscored by zesty minerality. Notes of bitter chocolate and dark berries on a long, spicy and sharply focused finish.

2010 Borsao, Berola, Campo de Borja — $13.99

Borsao is a name familiar to those who enjoy Garnacha/Grenache. Borsao is a coop located in Borja, in the province of Aragon, the place from which Grenache began its colonization east to France,  Italy (Sardinia) and eventually to Australia, and west to other parts of Spain and to the United States, becoming in the process the most-planted red wine grape varietal in the world. Borsao is so widely recognized both because it produces a lot of wine and because the wine with its name is synonymous with value– good tasting juice at great prices. It is wine cooperative with 620 member-producers. Several smaller cooperatives merged in 2001. Their combined resources provided sufficient resources to improve vineyard management and refurbish the winemaking facility. Their consolidation has been our gain as well. Borsao with the resulting improvement of the quality of the wines.

Like all the Borsao wines, the Berola is Garnacha-dominate, with 70% of the blend. These vines are 35-60 years old; the syrah vines are 10 years old. After stainless steel fermentation, the wine is aged for 14 months in small American and French oak barrels.

Robert Parker, WA, 91— November 2013

70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% CS aged in a combination of American and French oak for ten months. It then spends a year in bottle prior to being released. A sleeper of the vintage, it reveals a deep ruby/purple color along with aromas of blackberries, black cherries, licorice and lavender. Full-bodied, rich, nicely-textured and impressively pure, it can be enjoyed over the next 3-4 years.

Josh Raynolds, IWC–90, September/October 2013

(70% garnacha, 20% syrah and 10% cabernet sauvignon; fermented in stainless steel and aged in French and American oak for ten months):  Bright purple.  Powerful aromas of blueberry, blackberry and peppery spices.  Displays vibrant flavors of smoky dark berries, white pepper and candied flowers, with a hint of candied rose in the background.  Rich but graceful blend with a smoky, floral finish.

2011 Bodegas Teso La Monja, Romanico, Toro

Teso La Monja is Marcos Erugen’s “new” Toro project. While the Erugen family has been involved in growing grapes since 1870, they started their first winery, Sierra Cantabria, in 1957. In the early 1990s, they started Sonerio de San Vincente meant to showcase a single wine from a single vineyard made from a particular clone of Tempranillo. This is a family that knows its Tempranillo. They have expanded their efforts to Toro, where they discovered pre-phylloxera old vines and acquired the property. After a decade of rehabilitating the vineyards, they began to produce top wines from their new estate, Teso La Monja. That was in 2007. The reviews have been uniformly positive. In 2009, they began producing the entry-level Romanico. Below are reviews of the current vintage, 2011, from both International Wine Cellar and Wine Advocate. Romanico is 100% Tempranillo, referred to as Tinta de Toro in Toro.

Josh Raynolds, IWC, Sept/Oct 2013—91

Bright purple. Intense dark berry aromas are complemented by potpourri, cola and vanillin oak. Broad, palate-coating blackberry and blueberry flavors become livelier with air and show an energetic spiciness. Finishes with very good clarity and juicy persistence, the cola and spice repeating.

Parker, WA,also a 91

The 2011 Romanico (100% Tinta de Toro) was fashioned from yields of 22 hectoliters per hectare, and was aged six months in 100% new French oak. A sensational red, it exhibits a dense purple color as well as a sweet perfume of lead pencil sahvings, violets, licorice, blackberries and black currants. Keep in mind that Tinta de Toro is essentially a cousin of Tempranillo, but a lower yielding grape. Full-bodied with a voluptuous texture and a long finish, it should drink well for 6-10 years. It taste like a wine that costs $50 or more rather than $16.50.

2011 Ordonez Zerran, Montsant– $14.99

While Montsant is close to the Mediterranean, the vineyards from which the Zerran is made are high altitude, between 1500-1800 feet. Montsant is a DO next to the more “tony” Priorat, the latter known for its slate composition soils and resulting minerally, graphitey wines. Montsant’s soils include slate, but also chalk and clay.  The Zerran is a blend of Grenache, Mazuelo (Carignan) and Syrah, with the Grenache planted in the slate soils, the Mazuelo in sandy clay, and the Syrah in chalky soils. After fermentation, the wine ages for 10 months in 2 and 3 year old French barrels. 2000 cases for the US

Parker, Wine Advocate–92, October 2012

Even more so is the 2011 Zerran, which rachets up the level of concentration and ripe fruit. It reveals abundant kirsch, lavender, black raspberry and dusty, loamy, earthy scents intermixed with notions of spring flowers and blackberries. There is not anyoak evident in this dense effort. Its completeness and overall equilibrium are impessive, and this great value should drink well for 5-6 years, possibly longer.

Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar—90(+), Sept 2012

(mostly garnacha, with mazuelo and syrah):  Vivid purple.  Aromas of black raspberry, spicecake and musky herbs, with a smoky topnote.  Densely packed and youthful, with spicy dark berry flavors accented by cracked pepper and a touch of candied violet.   Tannins build on the zesty finish, which shows refreshing bitterness and a touch of boysenberry.