Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

What have we been saying about aged Spanish Wine?

Posted by Richard Foxall, Apr 11, 2012.

Well, it only took Eric Asimov a couple years to catch up to GregT and the Rioja brigade here at Snooth: Reservas from Spain are the best deal in wine--great product and they age it for you. 

Happy to say that a friend just gave me a bottle of the Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial a few weeks ago.  If you want some (it went up by $10 but is still $5 less than retail), K&L still has some on hand, although it's almost sold out in SF--one bottle left--because folks in NorCal are impressed by the wine, not the finicky French guys who want us to cellar it at our own risk.


Reply by JonDerry, Apr 12, 2012.

Thanks Fox, this will definitely be on my buy list.

Reply by GregT, Apr 12, 2012.

Funny Fox.  Once a year Asimov does an article on how he just discovered Spain, and often Rioja. I didn't read it this time but in the past he's talked about Lopez de Heredia and about 2 years ago did a whole several page article on them with pics, etc. Last night, after tasting a dozen Burgundies that left me baffled, I opened a bottle of Riscal's Reserva. Ahhh, back to wine you actually like. . .

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 12, 2012.

GregT, I just bought a bunch of burgs to see what I was missing--dmcker alerted me to the sale at N. Berkeley wines--and now you're bumming me out. :-) Oh, wait, I was already saying I am flummoxed by the stuff back in October--what was I thinking?

I like the Riscal, not my absolute fave, but I hardly have met a Rioja Reserva I don't like.  Heck, give me a crianza, a joven even--why did it take me so long to discover these tempranillo based wines? Is there a grape that tastes so good young and ages so well, with an almost uninterrupted range of good ages?

Reply by Lucha Vino, Apr 12, 2012.

The Spanish wines are definitely a hit with me too! Great wines and so affordable.

The Vuelta Castillo y Leon is happening this week so I am paying a visit to Ribero del Duero for a Tempranillo slugfest with a Washington Yakima Valley Tempranillo from Airfield Estates. I will post a link to my notes after the match.


Reply by spikedc, Apr 12, 2012.

Rioja for me all the way, especially Muga. 

Lucha - I agree, you can always find a good Rioja at a reasonable price !.  Talking Ribera del Duero I had a great bottle of Legaris Reserva 2005 the other day, decanted for a couple of hours, went down very well.

Reply by GregT, Apr 12, 2012.

luchavino - that's actually an interesting comparison. I just did a tasting of WA/CA Tempranillo recently and of course had a couple Spanish ones in the mix as benchmarks.  Some of the US wines are showing really well these days.  Not yet at the top level but I think there's a real future as the grape hasn't been explored much outside of Spain.

Reply by JonDerry, Apr 13, 2012.

why did it take me so long to discover these tempranillo based wines? Fox, I figured I should extrapolate this remark and ask about any Tempranillo you might have had outside of Spain? Wonder if Portugal has any good examples? Assuming France isn't farming the big T.

I'll be trying some of the big Paso Temp's over the next year or so, but haven't got around to it yet.
Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 16, 2012.

JD, there's not a ton of it around, that I can find.  Abacela in OR, some places in WA, Viader makes one... To some degree, it's probably got to do with the Spanish being kind of off the map during the post-war years when Americans first re-connected to wine and Europe, what with Franco and all.  Can't see that the post-prohibition Cal pioneers were going to be influenced by much besides France.  Plus there was a reputation for heavy, overtly alchoholic wines from Spain. South America has plantings of Temp and so does Australia, but I don't see them in the stores.  With prices from Spain so reasonable, it's hard to see a huge upside in it for anyone. 

Definitely quite a bit in Portugal, where it's called Tinta Roriz (and probably other things).  My main experience with wines from Portugal (besides Port, which I don't enjoy) has been with bargain wines--really nice table wines for <$10.  Some have Tinta Roriz, lots have Touriga Nacional, and then there's the blends.  But since Douro and RdD are on the same river, it's not too surprising they share their best grape variety.

Reply by GregT, Apr 16, 2012.

There's some in Portugal, where it's called several things, most commonly Arragonez, but most of Portugal is kind of hot for it.  Remember, the best comes from what would be the northern latitude for Portugal.  Anyhow, Fox is right that there's not a lot of it outside of Spain and probably for the reasons he mentions. But there's a movement in CA to produce it and just by looking, I'm thinking that WA should be able to do it well. We did a tasting recently of Temp from the US and Spain and the wines from the US showed remarkably well, which was surprising and encouraging.

What does that have to do with aging?  Not a lot.


People have been spending time looking at the best places to grow Cab and PN, and if they were to spend a fraction of that time looking for places to grow Tempranillo and Nebbiolo, I think we'd have a very different wine market in the US and perhaps the world. Those 2 grapes have to be the longest lived in the world and we haven't explored a fraction of their potential.

Reply by JonDerry, Apr 17, 2012.

I definitely feel the Tempranillo movement in Paso, or at least a good heart beat. Would be curious to know where or who else in N.A. is getting a reputation for it. Not sure about Nebbiolo, but just know it shows up from time to time, haven't heard any buzz about NA versions.

Either way, I agree they should be explored more out here and hopefully it's only a matter of time until we start seeing these grapes find a niche in the market.  

What do you think about Temp in France, more of a pride/radition thing for them not to grow it?

Interesting you point out Tempranillo and Nebbiolo being the longest lived grapes in the world. Shall we score a point for typicity?

Reply by GregT, Apr 18, 2012.

No point for typicity - the life of a wine depends too much on the producer and the vines.  But some versions of those just seem to last and last.  Other versions don't. However, you do cause some reflection here - maybe they're only the longest lived because we, or I, am familiar with them in that guise and some other grape could be equally long-lived if produced in the appropriate way. 

I don't know.  Interesting question.

Temp in France is even more interesting.  They should be able to do some - I don't see any mass movement for it though, as it's so closely identified with Spain and of course we have our national rivalries.  But France does such a good job with Garnacha and Monastrell and Carinena that I'd imagine they could do wonders with Tempranillo too, were they so inclined!

Reply by Lucha Vino, Apr 19, 2012.

Washington is making some good Tempranillo these days.  Better than the Abacela (my perspective) and about half the price.

Here is the link to my matchup between Airfield Estates and Ribera del Duero.  Both of these wines performed well at the $20 price point.

I did a three way Tempranillo comparison a couple of months ago that featured Abacela, Kerloo from WA and another Ribera del Duero.  Kerloo was the winner.

I have a few more matches on my blog that feature Washington Tempranillos.  You can use the search to find them all if you are curious.


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 21, 2012.

You mean this old thing?

If it seems like I can’t stop talking about this wine, you’re right. It’s the best value of the year in my book and a wine I stocked my cellar with. For just around $30, it’s almost impossible to find more to love in a wine.

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