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I've tasted a lot of Spanish wines in my life and was curious on your thoughts about them, especially priorat. Is this a region that should one day become as famous as Bordeaux or burgundy? Do you feel Spanish wines are underrated by critics ?


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"I have drunk not to the clouding of my reason, but just so much that I can still surely distinguish the syllables with my tongue." Athenaeus

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Posts: 6613 | Location: Montreal | Registered: Feb 21, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I love Spanish wines, but I think they might be over-rated by some critics, particularly the WA scores I see on some of the cheaper ones I've tries. I need to explore Priorat more. Love Rioja, Ribera del Duero, whites made from Verdejo and starting to enjoy Godello as well.
 
Posts: 5489 | Location: Aurora, IL | Registered: Jul 29, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Jay Miller:
I've tasted a lot of Spanish wines in my life and was curious on your thoughts about them, especially priorat. Is this a region that should one day become as famous as Bordeaux or burgundy?

As famous, or are you asking if the wines are as good? Famous, yes, for the richness of the garnachas and carineñas, but I don't think these wines will ever match the splendor of a well-aged top Burgundy or Bordeaux from a great vintage.

Do you feel Spanish wines are underrated by critics ?

Not by good critics.


Just one more sip.
 
Posts: 36878 | Location: NY | Registered: Oct 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Priorat is hand-down my fav region in Spain and I try to recommend the region often to people who want to get into spanish wines, but are not big into tempranillo. In particular, I would give a shout out to Clos Mogador and Ferrer Bobet. I find these wines deep and full of character.
As far as the pub or recognition, I don't have an opinion because that doesn't really matter to me that much. In fact, let's keep the recognition as low as possible so we can keep the prices reasonable. The last thing we need is to see China go crazy for Priorat!
 
Posts: 142 | Registered: Aug 19, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The wine situation in Priorat is unusual in that the tradition is ancient, the vines very old, and in contrast, the modern era of wine making shorter than most New World areas.
Given the short time span of wines making it to the world market, the results have to be considered successful at the top of the charts.
Still, the learning curve is somewhere around that of Washington State, meaning that excesses are more the rule than the exception.
My belief is that they have the raw material to be one of the great wine regions of the world, given time to sort out the best wine making from faddish over-extraction, high alcohol, and tolerance of VA.
 
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Priorat is also a great region to visit. I expect to return next year. My favorite Spanish white is Coma Blanca from Mas d'en Gil, a 50-50 blend of Garnacha Blanca and Macabeo.


Just one more sip.
 
Posts: 36878 | Location: NY | Registered: Oct 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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sort out the best wine making from faddish over-extraction, high alcohol, and tolerance of VA.

Exactly my problem. And the "best" Priorats seem to have no immunity here (eg. Erasmus). I've yet to have a Priorat with the complexity, nuance, balance, or intellectual appeal of the very best France (or Barolo, for that matter) has to offer.

There are undoubtedly some very good, even great wines coming out of the region. But, will they ever be comparable in quality to a great vintage of Haut Brion or La Tache? My guess: not even close. (Nor a score of Rhone bottlings nor about a half-dozen Baroli.)

Who knows what the future holds, and Priorat, Ribera and Rioja are all capable of great wines; but right now I'll take a properly aged 27th best red Burgundy from a good vintage (Dujac Clos St. Denis?) over the "best" Spanish wine from a great vintage.


"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" -- W.C. Fields
 
Posts: 7628 | Registered: Dec 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Board-O:
My favorite Spanish white is Coma Blanca from Mas d'en Gil, a 50-50 blend of Garnacha Blanca and Macabeo.

Coma Blanca: My very favorite Spanish white as well. A wonderfully made wine.
 
Posts: 15563 | Location: Montreal, QC | Registered: Feb 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by winetarelli:
I've yet to have a Priorat with the complexity, nuance, balance, or intellectual appeal of the very best France (or Barolo, for that matter) has to offer.

But, will they ever be comparable in quality to a great vintage of Haut Brion or La Tache? My guess: not even close. (Nor a score of Rhone bottlings nor about a half-dozen Baroli.)

... right now I'll take a properly aged 27th best red Burgundy from a good vintage (Dujac Clos St. Denis?) over the "best" Spanish wine from a great vintage.

winetarelli - have you any opportunity to experience any vintages of Alvario Palacios' L'Ermita ?
 
Posts: 15563 | Location: Montreal, QC | Registered: Feb 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by KSC02:
quote:
Originally posted by winetarelli:
I've yet to have a Priorat with the complexity, nuance, balance, or intellectual appeal of the very best France (or Barolo, for that matter) has to offer.

But, will they ever be comparable in quality to a great vintage of Haut Brion or La Tache? My guess: not even close. (Nor a score of Rhone bottlings nor about a half-dozen Baroli.)

... right now I'll take a properly aged 27th best red Burgundy from a good vintage (Dujac Clos St. Denis?) over the "best" Spanish wine from a great vintage.

winetarelli - have you any opportunity to experience any vintages of Alvario Palacios' L'Ermita ?

I was actually thinking about Palacios as an exception -- even the Dofi is a very well made wine. But I haven't had a good taste of L'Ermita. (One of the only real holes in my Spanish career.)


"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" -- W.C. Fields
 
Posts: 7628 | Registered: Dec 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Can't you get drab to open one for you? The 2005 was a wine of the year for me. The 2004 was runner-up.


Just one more sip.
 
Posts: 36878 | Location: NY | Registered: Oct 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by billhike:
starting to enjoy Godello as well.


Cool Great value as well.
 
Posts: 3598 | Location: Algonquin, Illinois | Registered: Jan 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Mimik:
I've tasted a lot of Spanish wines in my life and was curious on your thoughts about them, especially priorat. Is this a region that should one day become as famous as Bordeaux or burgundy? Do you feel Spanish wines are underrated by critics ?


Once again, "Spanish wine" is like saying "French wine". There's a difference between Saumur and Corbieres and Alsace just as there is between Rias Baixas, Priorat, and Bullas. So drinking a lot of Spanish wine is the same as drinking a lot of French wine.

A place like Saumur, which isn't all that large, is larger than Priorat in terms of hectares under vine. Bordeaux of course, is vastly bigger than both combined so just by random luck, you might have a better chance of finding a decent wine.

While many vines in Priorat may be old, those aren't the ones that made the reputation of the region. The first modern pioneers didn't believe you could make great wine from Carinena and Garnacha so they planted Cab, Merlot, and Syrah to hedge their bets and those wines are the ones that first received critical attention.

Eventually some of the producers started to rely more on the other grapes, so it's difficult to say much about potential, given that you have wines from the early 1990s that may be heavy on young Cab and today you have different blends.

But that's only one region. My guess, based on having been drinking those wines since 1991, is that they're never going to be the best from Spain.

Obviously that's just personal preference talking. As far as whether or not any region will be as "famous" or as "good" as Bordeaux, that's personal preference again. Last week we did a blind tasting and in that tasting was a 2000 La Conseillante. At 12 years in, even a long-lived Bordeaux should be showing something. It was the only 2000, everything else was 2001, but the point was to be fair to Bordeaux.

Tasting everything blind, each in its own glass in any order one chose, I knew instantly what my favorite wine was and I also knew it was from Rioja. My next favorite was Ribera del Duero.

Doesn't mean the Bordeaux was bad in any way, although it still had notes of cedar that reminded me of a hamster cage. But it sure wasn't as good as the others, at least to me. As to whether wines from Spain are underrated by critics or not, that's a matter of indifference to me since I figure I've had as much or more than most critics anyway.

I sure do love old Bordeaux. And if someone is pouring, I'm more than happy to drink it. But out of several thousand bottles, I have maybe a couple cases of Bordeaux and many cases of wine from Rioja and Ribera.

BTW - I didn't see any posts about it and thought about bringing it up myself, but if you caught it, Tom did a great job on Rioja a few issues back. Interestingly, he brought up something that few people pay attention to, which is the fact that while winemaking in the region is ancient, what we think of as "traditional" doesn't go back eons, either in Rioja or Bordeaux.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GregT,


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2643 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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GregT, what Spanish syrahs have you tried and liked? I picked up some recently and am excited to try them.
 
Posts: 8733 | Location: North CA | Registered: May 28, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just picked up some 2010 JC Vizcarra Ribera del Duero at costco. I've been trying more spanish wines of late at work.
 
Posts: 9448 | Location: minneapolis minnesota usa | Registered: Dec 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Spo - it's a good question. Most of it tends to be blended. For example, even Mauro, just outside of the Ribera del Duero region, can have about 10% Syrah. There wasn't a lot anywhere until relatively recently but these days it's like the ninth or tenth most planted grape in Spain, but that's mostly been planted within the last 20 years, so it's still a work in progress.

Some was planted down in the Valencia region, but elsewhere as well. They put it in Tarragona obviously, and farther inland in Manchuela, which is where Victor de la Serna makes Finca Sandoval, which is probably the best known Syrah-dominated blend at about 80% Syrah, from vines that supposedly come from Beaucastel cuttings, although I don't know that for sure. It's good wine though.

Then there's some planted even farther inland, around Madrid, in places like Mentrida, where you have Bodegas Arrayán. They also do a monovarietal Syrah and that even has some of the bacon or meaty notes that you sometimes get from Cote Rotie and CA.

Some of the most interesting Syrah I've had comes from farther west, from Extremadura. Bodegas Habla does some monovarietal wines, including Syrah, and they're quite good. They're also pretty expensive and I don't know if they're imported now or not. They number them, so you'd get Habla No.4 and Habla No.11, which are Syrah.

Then you have these weird little places like Bodegas y Viñedos Sánchez Muliterno, which has it's very own private D.O. and they're doing Syrah as well. I've only had it once or twice so can't really say much about it. Dominio de Valdepusa is another - they may even have been the first private D.O. They make Marques de Grinon and that's imported so you should be able to try that. It's not bad at all.

And then I have to plug some friends who are promoting a project called Lazarus Wine, which is wines made by blind winemakers. The wines are made in Somontano and they do Syrah and it's available in the US.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GregT,


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2643 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have the Finca Sandoval, then 2 others you didn't mention but one is from Somomtano.
 
Posts: 8733 | Location: North CA | Registered: May 28, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Somehow managed to forget this.


"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" -- W.C. Fields
 
Posts: 7628 | Registered: Dec 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I’m not sure if any region in Spain will ever get as much hype as Bordeaux and Burgundy, but the best wines of Spain IMO can totally hang with the biggest names of Bord and Burg. Prices being equal, I would actually pick a perfect vintage of LdH or CVNE over a first growth Bordeaux in a perfect vintage. I don’t have enough experience with really high end Burgs to make that comparison yet.
 
Posts: 6536 | Location: OC, CA  | Registered: Aug 01, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Glenn - I agree and in fact have picked Spain over the others in blind tastings many many times. In fact, in the last three weeks running. That doesn't mean the others are bad in any way, it just means that for me, I have clear preferences.


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2643 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Definitely look into the Spanish wines from Bodegas Arrayan--both Syrah and Petit Verdot!
 
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