Vina Ijalba delivers the goods at La Grande Degustation

wpid-20151105_133602.jpg

Another very interesting producer from Rioja present at La Grande Dégustation de Montréal was Vina Ijalba. Ijalba has set the standard for environmental awareness in and around Rioja, from its organic production to its extensive recycling and environmental certification for the winery. They are also famous for bottling obscure indigenous varietals in mono varietals. For more information on them, you can check my previous post on them.

At the table of Ijalba, I decided to tasty  only the wines availabe on private importation. At the SAQ, you can find currently five of their bottlings. These are Genoli, Graciano, Reserva 2010 and Maturana Blanca 2013. In addition, the magnificent reserva seleccion especial 2005. Ijalba is imported by Charton-Hobbs in the Quebec market.

Tasting notes:

Aloque Rosado 2014

( 50% Garnacha-50%Tempranillo. Clarete method of Riojan vinification)

Delicious crisp red fruit on the nose such as cherry and strawberry. On the mouth, medium body, very round, almost like a buttery texture. Flavors bring to mind hints of caramelized red fruit, spices and herbs. A pleasant revelation.

Livor 2014 Tempranillo

( 100 % Tempranillo. Destemmed fruit, No wood, just 100% inox )

Very explosive nose. Smoke and licorice with exuberant black fruit in both dry and confit form. On the mouth, full body, concentrated with supple tannins but nicely balanced. To buy by the case.

Solferino Tempranillo 2012

( 100 % organic tempranillo. Aged 4 months in new oak)

On the nose, reminiscent of traditional Rioja. Aromas of American oak. Coconut, orange, vanilla. Full body with firm tannins.Very elegant and racy like a fine Bordeaux. Lots of length here.

Murice Crianza 2011

( 90% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano. 12 months bottle aging in American oak and a further 6 months in bottle)

On the nose lots of jammy red and black fruit. Also some balsamic cream. On the mouth, full body. Smooth and creamy. Elegant with ripe tannins.

Dionisio Ruiz Ijalba Maturana Tinta 2011.

( 100 % Maturana Tinta, an almost forgotten Riojan variety. 15 days fermentation in bordeaux barriques. Malolactic fermentation in new french oak and aged on its lees)

Very balsamic nose. Lots of licorice, anis and spearmint. Ripe black fruit and eucalyptus. Young with austere tannins. Excellent quality.

Wine of the month: September rhymes with Bodegas Lacus

image

Bodegas Lacus (DOC La Rioja) was founded by Luis Arnedo, an energetic man with a profund love and respect for the roots of his native landThe word Lacus derives from a pond made out of mother rock in which it is used to crush the wine grapes.

This is a small winery with low production. They have around 20 ha of vines, distributed with Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha.

The vinification method of Inedito is very artinasal. For instance, the berries are manually picked and carefully selected usually in mid to late September. Afterwards, the grapes are given a cool maceration treatment for ten days & fermentation happens in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Finally, the wine is aged in stainless steel and is bottled nine months later without fining or filtration.
image

Inedito is a very fun wine to drink. With its opaque colour, the wine displays beautiful nuances of licorice and violet. On the mouth, the wine has very good acidity and very accesible tannins. Its flavors remind of red cherries with petal roses with time shedding away and given place to black pepper and smoke with old, cured leather and lots of minerality.

Bodegas Lacus is represented in Quebec by Vini-Vins. Along with Moraza producer, there are two of my favorites natural producers in Riona. Inedito sells privately in case of 12. For under $25, it is a steal.

Spanish presence at the Festival Vins de Terrebone 1\4: Spanish caballeros of LBV International

Every year for the last 10 years or so, I assist to the Festival Vins Terrebone. It has become a tradition of mine.  It is one of the biggest wine festivals in the Lanaudière. You can taste more than 1000 wines from some of the most important wine agencies established in Quebec. The products can be found both at the SAQ and in the private import system. This is a small winelover’s dream

I was quite pleased by the Spanish presence at this year edition.  Here are my tasting notes. From the stand of LBV International, I was very fortunate to taste the following wines:

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Imperial Gran Reserva 2007. Code SAQ:12203796. $51.50

This wine is dominated by Tempranillo, with a good proportion of Graciano and Mazuelo added to complete the blend.. Maturation takes place in new French and American oak and one has to wait patiently for 24 months prior to bottling.

Iconic, to say the least, this Cune Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja is the stuff of wine dreams… It’s here for a long time, so you can wait a decade or two to savor it, or just a year or two if you cant. The luxury of choice and time for winelovers!! If sooner is your preference, I say open your beautiful bottle and give it some air while you prepare a big plate of patatas con chorizo to eat with your first glass.

Cedary. Lovely ripe black fruit expression with pencil shavings nuances. Tar and chinese ink undertones. Perfect oak integration. On the mouth, plush with a good concentration. Noble and mature tannins with an exquisite balance. Long and racy. Retronasal flavors remind me of dry mountain leaves, flowers. Long aftertaste. Perfect Rioja. 100/100

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Contino Rioja Reserva Rioja 2008. Code SAQ : 12347159 . Price: $26.40

Contino is a single-estate bodega (62 ha of vineyards) based in a 200-year-old farmhouse just outside the town of Laguardia in the Alavesa region.  The estate’s name comes from the royal guard of 100 soldiers who protected the monarch. The label is adorned with the bust of San Gregorio, the patron saint and protector of vineyards

On the nose, traditional american oak aromas with lots of cedar, tobacco and roasted black fruit nose. In addition, herbs. On the palate, amazing elegance. Chewy fruit bringing to mind dark plums. Magnific finale. 95\100

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Fontaura Aponte Reserva 2005 Toro. Code SAQ: 12259407. Price: $23.90

The wines of Toro, an appellation next door to Ribera del Duero tend to be richer and more extracted than its neighbor. In some instances, they can be heavy and out of balance. However, it seems to be the exception with Fontaura. This is a property that its origins go back to the XIX century. The estates comprises 120 ha and the wine is a blend from old vine tempranillo vines situated at different parcels of the estate.

Wild Blackberry nose, almost passified in nature with dry indian spices. On the nose, full body. Jammy fruit. Retronasal reminding me of butterscotch with dark chocolate and cocoa. Smoky with mineral flavors and smooth and mature tannins. 90\100.

Wine of The Month: CVNE Monopole Rioja Blanco 2014

Viura is a synonym used in the Spanish DO of Rioja for Macabeo, which is the most popular grape of northen Spain. High in production, the Macabeo adapts well to hot and dry regions. It also buds late which makes it less likely to be harmed by frost. Together with the varietals Parellada and Xarel-lo it is used in the production of the sparkling Spanish wine Cava. Both still and sparkling wines from the Macabeo are dry, medium in acidity, and have notes of delicate wildflowers and bitter almonds. Macabeo is best consumed young.

Besides Cava the best examples of Macabeo come from Rioja, where it is known as Viura, and now makes up 90% of the still white wine production in that area. It can also be found in large quantities in southern France, particularly in the Languedoc area where it is usually blended with Grenache Blanc.

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Monopole Rioja 2014. SAQ Code:  12636760. Price: $16.35

Cune (the initials C.V.N.E. are short for Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana, but in common practice everyone says “coo-nay”) is a well known winery in the Rioja region that works in a very traditional style.Cune Monopole is a dry, crisp white wine made from the local Viura grape. It is pale green/gold in color with aromas and flavors of grapefruit, wild herbs and hints of fennel and mandarin. This unoaked white Rioja is lean and lightly mineral in character. It is very refreshing and pairs well with marinated vegetables and fresh seafood. For the price that it commands at the SAQ, it is a real and obscene steal.

Wines of The Month: Torres Coronas Tempranillo and Rioja Ibericos

Torres, is one of the most admirable wine brands in Spain and worldwide. The Torres Family is  one Spain’s leading wine dynasty and the  number one world’s most recognizable Spanish brand. Torres is also the family winery with the most extensive vineyards in the Denomination of Origin (DO) of Penedès and the largest winery in Spain. They also run overseas wine proyects such as   the Miguel Torres Chile winery in the Chilean Central Valley, and in the United States (California) when in 1986 Marimar Torres founded Marimar Estate. In Spain outside of the Torres family’s native Penedès region, they own vineyards in the DO Conca de Barberà, DO Toro, DO Jumilla, DO Ribera del Duero, DOQ Priorat and most recently in DOC Rioja .Moreover, Torres is also Spain’s largest producer of DO wines under its own label, exporting to more than 140 countries. Torres made two significant contributions to the development of enology in Spain: First, the use of fermentation at controlled temperatures, and second wine maturation  in small oak barrels as  as has been a habitual practice in Bordeaux for many centuries.

Bodegas Torres was founded by Jaime Torres and his brother in 1870 in Vilafranca del Penedes. During the Spanish Civil War the winery was bombarded, leaving everything in ruins. Miguel Torres Carbó, a fourth generation member of the family, rebuilt the winery in 1940 and started business up again. He was a pioneer in state bottling. During World War II, Miguel Torres traveled to the United States to promote his wines.It was in this period that the brands Sangre de Toro, Viña Sol and Coronas first came into the market. In 1966 work started on the planting of  internationalgrape varieties: at first Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and later on Merlot, Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. This is a pretty impressive resume. Both wines tasted below, regularly available at the SAQ are some of the best values available in the province of Quebec and Ontario

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Torres Coronas 2011. SAQ Code:  00029728. Price: $14.40. LCBO Code: 29728

A blend of mostly tempranillo with some Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose, aromas of ripe red plums, black cherry with vinous nuances and green cofee. In the mouth, full body, fresh with generous fruit. Savoury nuances of oak, vanilla and leather. A bit tannic but showing nice lenght and a long finale. Excellent quality for the price paid. 88\100. Weekday wine for for a simple bbq of grilled meats. Also it makes a nice food match with roasted pork loin in a mustard and rosemary sauce.

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Torres Ibéricos 2011. SAQ Code: 11180342. Price: $18.25. LCBO Code: 381046

Ibéricos  name is inspired from Alto Otero, a pretty place where the winery is situated in the town of Labastida, north of the Iberian Peninsula. On the nose, aromas of cedar, tobacco pipe with lots of ripe red fruit character. On the mouth, full body. Rich and velevety on the palate with well endowed tannins. Flavors remind of spices and balsamic notes. Generous finale. A well made crianza. Long and classy finale. 92\100. It goes really well with a grilled Merguez sausage and Spanish saffron rice.

Torres is represented in Quebec by Amphora Vins Fins et Spiritueux and in Ontario by Family Wine Merchants.

Cheers!!!

Spanish presence at the Trialto Tasting

image

Trialto, one of the leading agencies in the Canadian wine importing business, hosted on June 9th, their second annual tasting. I was in the company of other members of the Quebec wine press. The wine tasting was an intimate gathering and was followed by a fine selection of cured meats and fine cheeses. The Spanish wine presence was quite high, about 30% of the wines tasted. From 17 wines presented, five were from Spain. Most of the wines are available all year round in the Quebec market, with two exceptions that I will mention below.

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Navarra-Garnacha, Bodega Artazu 2013. SAQ Code: 10902841. Price: $15.45

On the nose, aromas that bring to mind different layers of black fruit. In addition, black pepper with paprika nuances. In the mouth, full body, fruity in the mid palate. Dusty tannins with a medium lenght finish. 87\100

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Catalunya-Montsant Mas Collet, Celler de Capcanes. 2012. SAQ Code: 642538. Price: $17.55

On the nose, aromas of redcurrants with dark plums and roasted herbs. In the mouth, full body with confit red berries flavors . Great tannins expression. 90\100

Rioja-Izadi Reserva 2010. SAQ Code:  12604098 ( Lot Specialty to arrive in August )

On the nose, noble oak notes with distinctive nots of crayons. In addition, cofee with ripe dark fruits. In the mouth, full body with coconut and cocoa flavors. Brambly tannins. Difficult to approach nose because of its youth. 90\100

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Ribera del Duero-Pruno Finca Villacreces 2013. SAQ Code: 11881940. $22.45

On the nose, lots of red ripe red fruits with smoke and barnyards. Less oak than previous vintages. In the mouth, lovely flavors of leafy blackcurrants. Big but quite polished tannins. 92/100

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Castilla-leon. Rueda Basa. Telmo Rodriguez 2014. SAQ Code: 10264018. Price: $16.45

On the nose, lots of green and tropical fruit character. In the mouth, medium body. Fresh and a bit sparkling. Lovely citrusy fruit character. 89/100

wpid-20150609_122528.jpg

The tasting was more special, because during lunch, we were lucky to have the presence of Juan Palomar from Grupo Artevino. Mr. Palomar is the export area manager for Artevino in the North Aamerican market. This is a group of wine companies led by the Anton family. They include Izadi ( Rioja), Finca Villacreces ( D.O Ribera del Duero), Vetus ( D.O Toro and Rueda) and Orben ( Rioja).

I had a nice dialogue with Juan regarding the style of Izadi in Rioja and Villacreces in Ribera del Duero. Regarding Izadi, it is a very special since it marries the traditional style of Rioja with the modern one. I also was pleased with the latest vintage of Pruno. There was more fruit character and less oak.

You heard it first in spanishwineguide.com.

Hasta Luego

Vina Real Gran Reserva Rioja 2008

image

Viña Real has been producing wine since the nineteenth century and over the years They have  consistently brought fresh ideas and techniques to the Rioja region.

Today they can be found in Rioja Alavesa, a sub-region that were pioneers in barrel-ageing, and indeed Viña Real themselves were one of the first to make crianza wines.

Their first wine was sold way back in 1920 from vines near the Camino Real (or ‘royal road’, an historic Spanish highway) which is where their name originated. They have retained this name, although they are now under the much larger umbrella of producers run by the famous CVNE organisation.

Despite their many years of experience, choosing when to harvest is still a tricky operation as they only want to pick grapes at their optimum potential. When harvesting does get underway, it is done by hand, and the grapes undergo a further selection on automatic ‘hoppers’ at the winery.

image

Vina Real Gran Reserva Rioja 2008. SAQ Code: 12497501. Price: $35.00.

Aromas of blackcurrant with hints of coffe and dark chocolate and spices such as cinnamon. On the mouth, fruity, reminding me of sour cherries and strawberries. Elegant and structured with additional Rioja flavors of cedar and pipe tobacco. Lovely finale bringing to mind mint and confit red and blackcurrant. Drink now or cellar for the next 7-10 years.

Viña Real is represented in Quebec by LBV International.