19 April 1999
Minetta Tavern, Greenwich Village, NY
Theme: Spanish evening
In a recent trip to the USA, I was fortunate enough to meet
up with many regular participants of the wine lovers discussion group (www.wine-lovers-page.com/forum/general)
from both St Louis and New York. Here are my rather sketchy notes from the wonderful
evening I shared with the NY crowd at the Minetta Tavern, ably arranged by Brad Kane and
Mike Bassman. Also in attendance were regular WLDGers Steve Plotnicki, SF Joe, Sasha,
Jonathan Hermann, Chris Coad, Lisa Allen, and several others (you'll have to help me out
with names here, and I apologise for not remembering them all). The theme was Spanish
wines, and the usual caveats apply to these notes (there were many wines, I might have
missed some, some might have been a bit 'lost in the crowd'). Wines were not drunk blind.
I was really impressed by the stunning range of wines we tried, and it's hard to pick a
'group favourite'. However, I was personally most impressed by the Alion, Porrera,
Villacreces, Pesquera and Abadia Retuerta, and if I had to take just one home tonight it
would likely be the Alion.
Vina Ardanza 1990 Reserva, Rioja (white)
Big lemony nose and plenty of vanilla oak. Mature, and possibly a good food match,
but not a style I care for.
Belondrade y Lurton 1996, Rueda (white)
Fresh, light and dry, with some supporting oak and lemon fruit. Good concentration.
Complex and very good. The best Spanish non-Albarino white I have tasted.
Alion 1994, Ribera del Duero
Attractive nose of chocolate and blackberry. Beautifully textured wine with soft,
concentrated fruit and plenty of wood (but this is well integrated). Although approachable
now, the rich tannins suggest that this wine still has some development left in it. Very
Cims de Porrera 1996 'Classic' Priorat
Rich full nose is suggestive of a top Bordeaux. A strong, full wine, but currently
with hard tannins and relatively high acidity. This wine has excellent potential, but is
currently quite closed. Cepage is not disclosed.
Remírez de Ganuza 1994, Rioja
Bit of VA in the nose. On palate there is soft fruit with a slightly hot finish.
Good concentration. OK.
1996 Pesquera, Ribero del Duero
Attractive nose. Rich blackcurrant fruit and fine structure. Approachable now but
very young still. Very good. Oddly, I found this more approachable thanthe 1996 Condado de
Jarrarte 1995 Rioja
Quite good fruit concentration, but some odd funky notes too, that I can't quite
put my finger on. OK.
Mauro Reserva 1991 (Ribera/Castilla y Leon)
Soft, sweet ripe fruit, with smooth tannic structure. Nicely mature. Very good.
Mauro 1996 (Ribera/Castilla y Leon)
Ripe and fruity with some spice and chocolate. Good.
Abadia Retuerta 1996 Ribera del Duero
Rich, exotic nose of chocolate and liquorice. Soft on the palate with rich, full
fruit. Unusual, seductive wine, very similar in flavour profile to the lesser Rivola, but
a slight notch more concentrated. Very good.
Finca Villacreces 1995 Ribera del Duero
Wow! Really bretty, animal nose. Excellent concentration and an interesting wine.
Tannic. Very good, but avoid if you are averse to animal poop in your glass.
Marques de Murrietta Castillo Ygay Rioja 1989
High acid, lemony, smooth, with medicinal/herby edge. Good, but the high
acidity is off-putting. This is what many people associate with Rioja, and it is a good
example of the style.
Cune 1982 Rioja Imperial
The oldest wine of the night. This is dry, with strawberries, cedar and herbs on
the palate. Light with age, this has high acid to keep it alive. Interesting.
Dominio de Valdepusa Syrah 1996 Marques de Grinon
Rich, ripe fruit. Spicy with bacon fat and liqourice, this is easy to drink. Fine
structure under the fruit. Good.
Haciendo de Monasterio (spelling?) 1995
I only had a quick taste of this, but it appeared to be fine, with rich,
well-textured fruit and a good underlying tannic structure.
Lustau Amontillado Bodega Vieja (100 anos)
Complex, hot nose. This is dry and salty; nutty and with high acidity. Very good.
Lustau Emilin Moscatel Superiore (Jerez)
Sweet, raisined sherry with complexity and intensity, and a christmas pudding
character. I find this slightly less intense and well balanced than Pedro Ximenez, but it
is very good.
Lustau Tintilla de Rota (Jerez)
A soft, sweet reddish-brown wine that is unlike anything I've ever had before.
Perhaps a little simple, but good.