2006 Cune Vina Real Crianza
A little hard and ungenerous on the nose with notes of old wood, earth, burnt fruit and rubberbands. In the mouth this shows lots of lovely fruit with bright acids that lend a clear, precise feel to the wine. There’s a touch a vanilla on the backend and the finish is long and expansive with the same earthy black raspberry fruit that dances across the palate.  This is young and austere, even for traditional Rioja, but is so well balanced and elegant that it shares more with Burgundy than most Rioja produced today. A great value. 91pts

 2005 Bodegas Eder Crianza
 An additional bit of age has given this a lovely array of aromatics that incorporates the raspberry and herbs of it’s younger brother into a more complex, if less intense array of scents that includes notes nutty oak, leather, soil, tea, hibiscus and sassafras.   Broad and soft in the mouth this is ready to drink with lush red fruit tones, velvety tannins and lovely nuances of cherry cola. The backend lacks some of the thrust of the 2007 version but the acids support the ripe fruit through to the long finish with lingering notes of mocha, licorice and medicinal cherry. This is quite an intense Crianza. 89pts

2007 Bodegas Eder Joven
Raspberry jam, herbs, sandy soil, soaring if simple aromatics, this is modern smelling but so precise and clear that it’s completely alluring.  In the mouth the wine comes of as a little lean and light though it retains a lovely freshness and is very well balanced. After the promise of the aromatics this under-delivers a bit but still is a zesty, fruity, young Rioja with well integrated wood notes and a smooth, elegant finish that reveals a lovely watermelon tone. 88pts

2007 Ugarte Consecha
With only a touch of wood spice on the nose and some stinky barrel/fermentation notes that blow off, this comes across as very young, and fresh if fairly concentrated and ripe. On the palate it shows nice balance with a lean feel accentuated by the wine’s crisp tannins and obvious acids. There are flavors of red apple and light berry fruits with a hint of meatiness that leads to the modest finish.  A good value. 87pts

2006 Luis Canas Crianza
This is quite a fruity wine on the nose with lovely notes of bitter cherry jam, graham cracker, rosemary and nutmeg. It has a bit French oak, which is not out of balance. On entry this is roundish with a nice feel to it that quickly leads to the mid-palate where the extracted quality of the wine becomes obvious. This is fairly dense, and quite polished with black fruit tones and some bitter tannin that clips the finish and leaves some alcoholic burn for the finale. A wine that shows some promise but lacks typicity.  86pts

2003 Bodegas Eder Reserva
Black cherry, spice, cookies, gingerbread, toast, licorice, a hint of heat. And vanilla in a slightly heavy, yet typical Reserva nose.  Up front this has nice acid and a decent concentration of fruit but it’s neither particularly complex nor intense with modest flavors of polished wood, mint, and backing spice helping to accent the backed cherry fruit. The finish falls flat, lacking structure, focus and length. 86pts

2001 Campillo Reserva
The nose offers up complex notes of meat, pepper, macerated flowers, licorice and light wood but the underlying aromas of the wine are heavy and dull with a jammy, honied tone that smells over-ripe.  In the mouth this is rich and ripe with big acids and slightly under-ripe tannins that give the red fruit green accents and keep the finish rather short and astringent. A decent wine with some complexity but not the best balance. 86pts

2003 Baron Ladron de Guevara Reserva
Lots of oak on the nose, smells raw, hard and lean.  On the palate this follow through with a hard lean feel. There’s plenty of ripe red fruit here in a rather lean package with plenty of tannins and a surge of acid across the mid-palate that throws the balance off somewhat. The finish is also raw and woody with not enough fruit to hand all the wood and tannins on. This actually has good fruit and presents itself as a very traditional style of wine but for me it’s just a little too hard and drying. 84pts

2002 Conde de Valdemar Reserva
Sour note on the nose recall yogurt but are joined by notes of asparagus, spicy wood, a bit of Cabernet like herbaciousness and jammy, Pez-like candied tones. In the mouth this shows nice balance in a small scale that is neither complex nor intense. There’s a bit of watermelon candy that helps to add some contrast to the red berry tone before the moderate length finish kicks in with it’s somewhat dirty, leather qualities.  A very difficult vintage and in the context of the vintage this is not bad. 83pts

2007 Tobia Graciano
Very burnt and charred smelling on the nose with a touch of herbs followed by a huge nose of roasting coffee beans and cigarettes.  In the mouth this is smooth and shows nice integration of the structural components with nice fruit and herbs on the palate but the finish is all about the structure with cutting acids and sharp tannins bringing the finish to a early finale. I think this needs some time to integrate though the acids seem particularly assertive and ultimately out of balance. 83pts

2001 Lorinon Gran Reserva
This is very aromatic but much of the aromas come from wood. There are notes of seashells and sweet root vegetables that attempt to fill the void at the center of all the woodiness but this has a black hole nose. In the mouth this is hard and dry with a fair amount of fruit but tremendous extracted tannins that turn bitter on the short finish. A wine for masochists. 80pts

White Wines

2008 Cune Monopole Blanco
Bright on the nose with notes of mineral, some coconut husk, pear, and a slight hint of sage Light, crisp, and fairly fruity up front then turning lemony, citrussy with a nice mineral wash then very high acid finale, super saline and minerally and refreshing. 87pts

2004 Marquis de Murrieta Capellania
This is quite oaky on the nose with notes of, vanilla, pear, anise, mint, mud, and bay leaf – nice acid, a bit lean, weird feel with good flavors yet an intense dose of wood and fatness fills the backend, finishes with a bit of almond, lemon cream and tannin and a hint of oxidative sweetness.  83pts


2007 Faustino V – Rose
Smells like dirt, sweet oxidative tones, cherry and brownie,  a touch of va,  high acid, lean, decent flavors, very ordinary, very monotone 80pts