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The wines of Marqués de Griñón, Dominio de Valdepusa (Montes de Toledo) and Rioja

The innovative Dominio de Valdepusa vineyards were planted as recently as a decade ago. Located Malpica de Tajo, near Toledo, they cover some 50 ha, and employ state of the art trellising and irrigation systems. Consultants who have been employed include luminaries such as Emile Peynaud and the ubiquitous Michel Rolland, and the wines are made in a modern, rich style. Despite a few patchy performances in the past, quality seems to be on the up: I was very impressed with all four of these wines, which in their current vintages are better than ever. Also tasted here were three wines that Carlos Falco (the Marqués de Griñón) also makes in Rioja, which are good, but in my opinion these aren't in the same league as the Valdepusa wines. The Valdepusa wines are fairly widely available in the UK (the Syrah and Cabernet are stocked by some supermarkets), and independents such as Noel Young stock the rarer Petit Verdot. The 1999 vintage may not have hit the shelves yet, and when it does, expect it to sell out fairly rapidly.

Dominio de Valdepusa Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
A deep red/purple colour, this is exotic stuff. The nose shows pungent leafy blackcurrant fruit with some medicinal nose. This leads to a palate of ripe fruit with a lovely herbal/medicinal complexity. It's dense, striking stuff; fresh and full. Very good/excellent

Dominio de Valdepusa Syrah 1999
Exotic nose of spice, liquorice, anise and herby fruit. The palate is rich and savoury, with a great density of liqouricey fruit backed up by firm, spicy tannins. Modern, but not overdone. Very good/excellent

Dominio de Valdepusa Petit Verdot 1999
It's rare to find varietal Petit Verdot wines, but this is a superb example of what this grape is capable of. A dense wine showing an nose of liquorice and raspberry fruit, with a nice smoky edge. The palate displays lush, raspberry laced fruit and chunky tannins. Hugely concentrated and needs time, but a lovely wine. Very good/excellent

Dominio de Valdepusa Emeritus 1998
A flagship-style blend, this is currently quite shy on the nose, with ripe berry fruit and spicy herbal undertones. Lush, rounded and ripe on the palate with good acidity and tannic structure. Very young at the moment, this with is tight knit with great length, and will probably be stunning in five years' time. Very good/excellent

1999 Rioja
A cherry red colour, this is a lush, modern style of Rioja with bright fruit and a touch of sweet oak. An inexpensive but full flavoured easy drinker. A bit of a crowd pleaser. Very good

1997 Alea Tempranillo Rioja Crianza
An attractive nose of sweet herby fruit and tobacco leaf notes carries through to the palate. There's also a touch of caramel and some herby complexity. More classically styled than the straight Rioja. Very good

1996 Rioja Reserva Collecion Personal
The rich nose shows herby cherry fruit with a touch of volatility and some sweet leafy notes. The palate shows chunky herbal flavours with firm tannins and a touch of spice. Good complexity. Very good+

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