The family Frutos Villar were already trading wines in the region around the town of Toro (province of Castilla y Leon in the north-west of Spain) at the begining of the last century, their own winery was then founded in 1920. Today, José Luis Villar Rodríguez is the head of the 4th generation´s team. It it them, together with other 3 wineries in the area, who are actually responsible for the foundation of this relatively new D.O. TORO. Beeing such a traditional cellar, this family has definitely managed to develop itself and meets up with the most modern standards of winemaking today. The wines that convinced me from the begining on are their „Muruve“ wines. The „Joven“, “Roble“, „Crianza“ and „Reserva“ are clearly defined, there is a consequent step-up to the next higher quality which you maybe think is strange that I mention it. But this is actually something that you don´t find necessarily very naturally all the time. The grapes for the „Joven“ and the „Roble“ are meanwhile harvested by mashines, the grapes for the „Crianza“ and the „Reserva“ are harvested manually. All four wines are 100% Tempranillo and profit from the high average age oft he vineyards, th oldest vines are more than a 100 years old. For the aging the bodega uses mostly American oak: fort he „Roble“ entirely, for the „Crianza“ and the „Reserva“ with a small percentage of French oak. The „dosis“ of oak is very much in balance with the fruit, the wines are wonderfully harmonic , without trying to cover the typical, natural vigor oft he wines of D.O. Toro.
Brand: Abel Mendoza Seleccion Personal
Winery: Bodega Abel Mendoza
Varietal: 100% Tempranillo
Winemaking: grapes are hand-picked from partially 100 years old vines (!) Cold pre-fermentation, alcoholic fermentation in cement vats, malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels. Gravety flow instead of pumping, natural clarifying and filtering
Average Price: € 37
Tasting Notes: incredible balance between richness and elegance. Pure extract of fruit and minerality at the same time. The fruit is a cool dark one, and you literally taste the earth, stones, minerality, tobbacco …. With a long finish. Perfect to drink now…
Brand: Talai Berri
Winery: Bodega Talai Berri
Varietal: 90% Hondarribi Zuri, 10% Hondarribi Beltza
Winemaking: Cold pre-fermentation extracts/ retains the aromas, fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel with tanks mainly closed in order to receive product with just a bit of CO2 left in the wine. This just slightly sparkling white wine is kept in the tanks until the last minute before bottling, no wine is bottled and kept in storage without being ordered. Bottling at 2° degrees Celsius to retain freshness of the Txakoli.
This extremely fun varietal Verdejo is the autochtonous grape in the northern Spanish D.O. Rueda, just a bit south of the city Leon, in the region of Castilla y Leon. Like many other wine regions in Europe, Rueda suffered in the first half of the 20 th century. The Spanish civil war and the dictatorship under Franco did nothing to benefit the local wine industry. It wasn’t until Marques de Riscal, the famed Rioja winery, arrived to Rueda in 1971 that the region came back into relevance for wine lovers. The region was revolutionized with the new ideas and technology Marques de Riscal brought, and has become famous for producing delightful, fresh and fruity white wines from the Verdejo grape (as opposed to unfashionable, Sherry style wines). Riscal also introduced Sauvignon Blanc to the Rueda wine region, which they discovered blended sublimely with Verdejo. These days, Rueda is wildly successful and producing amazingly good value for money fruity wines. It´s been the fastest growing wine region in Spain in the past year. Recently the regulations opened the DO for the production of red wines, before the region was entirely white…
Winery: Bodegas Veracruz
Wow… visting this region is not only about wine, it definitely comes with an endless amount of history classes! Very impressive and stunning Schloss Reinhartshausen in the small town of Erbach in the “Rheingau” region!! Admirable with which deep knowledge, imense professionalism and certain pride Mr. Bibo (Managing Director) and his team lead the place, make amazing wines, carry on this huge task and tradition the castle carries with itself. It is difficult to put in words, but I am going to try anyways….
Brand: Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen
Winery: Schloss Reinhardtshausen
Varietal: 100% Riesling
Brand: Partida Limitada
Winery: Gimenez Riili
Varietal: 50% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot
Winemaking: temperature controlled pre-fermentative maceration, traditional fermentation and maceration, malolactic fermentation in the barrels, careful filtering
Aging: 10 months in new French oak barrels
Bottle aging: 14 months
Average Price: € 18
I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” – Madam Lilly Bollinger
Winery: Pierre Peters
Winemaking: All base wines are elaborated in stainless steel and are therefore very dry. The residual sugar is somewhere between 3 and 6 g/l depending on quality and vintage. Owner Rodolphe Peters decided not to label the Champagne „Extra Brut“. Only after extraordinary vintages this Champagne is made. The 2002 aged on it´s yeasts for 6 years and is the 2003´s successor, which was clearly lighter and came on the market before.
Average Price: € 39,00
Tasting Notes: On the palate hints of white fruits like peach and pear, also dominating citrus aromas. The intense scent of almonds and marzipan, the minerality and the crisp acidity are fabulous! It´s perfect when you let it breathe 3 or 4 minutes after pouring.
Long aging potential!
Unmistakable!! The style of Capcanes in the Montsant. The other evening we only wanted a glass each to enjoy with a movie and I grabbed the last 0,375l bottle of Costers del Gravet 2003 from Capcanes, it´s really at it´s best point.
Brand: Costers del Gravet
Varietal: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena
I had given up on finding great Pinot Noirs in Argentina. At least I never really found the style that I personally like (smooth structure, earthy silky mouthfeel with aromas of strawberry style, lush but still complex, not missing the freshness), so here is the absolute exception, so excited about it!!
Winery: Palo Alto
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
My first entry is going to be an Argentine Malbec since my first glass of Malbec that I had in a bar in Salta (province in the north of Argentina) was decisive for my further path in life! I know this sounds sort of dramatic but it really was!!:-)
I had been on a three month backpacking trip through the country at that time and after having been in Argentina for only two weeks I decided to throw away my plane ticket for the way back and stay. The endless amount of amazing places, the crazy loud happy people, the sun and the fantastic wine made me curious for more, and at the same time I felt very much at home in this place from beginning on…
Let me share one of my favorite “every day” Malbecs from Mendoza with you…from the foot of the “Cordon del Plata”