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Yesterday I dropped by my retailer—Bodega San Sebastián—as part of the weekly ritual. Though they are extremely busy furnishing the future Tasca (mostly tapas, & everything vinous BTG!!), they always have time and humor for the Friday tastings. This time it was again CBC (Comercial Brero Canarias), whose David congregated us around the newest Ribera beauties that they distribute.
Hacienda Monasterio Crianza’99 (G93) was there, establishing a difficult benchmark for the newies. This was the order, drunk in the course of three hours:

Hermanos Pérez Pascuas VIÑA PEDROSA Cr’99 13% Alc. 18m French & American
PAGO DE CARRAOVEJAS Cr’99 (25% C-S) 13,5% Alc. 12m French & American
HACIENDA MONASTERIO Cr’99 (15% C-S+5% Merlot) 14% Alc. 16m Allier

The bunch is intensely hedonistic, immediately approachable, lush, balanced, food-friendly, and well-structured.
As usual (how easy it is to get used to these little luxuries [Wink] ) glasses were Riedel 448/30, and Nikola kindly served some excellent local goats milk cheese and Italian dehydrated tomatoes, tapas-style. New A/C system has worked a little miracle while the cellar insulation gets finished.

Hermanos Pérez Pascuas VIÑA PEDROSA Cr’99 13% Alc. 18m French & American

Initially restrained nose but with telltale Ribera aromatics. The mouth at this stage suggested that some bottle age was needed. After about 1h. the nose had opened beautifully, and the palate mellowed, but it certainly has some future ahead. Gorgeous balance. Ripe but not overtly jammy nose of blackberry, plum, and cherry fruit, with exquisitely elegant, cedary smoky oak notes, tobacco, and ink. Great depth and complexity (minerals) for a wine this young (just arrived here; David was trying it for his first time too). The finish is long and full of character, though for a moment I felt a slight hollowness in the midpalate.
Regarding typicity, this was perhaps the most Riberesque of the session, conjugating excellent ripeness with textbook Ribera spiciness and elegant austerity (well, a touch of oldwordlishness… [Smile] ).

PAGO DE CARRAOVEJAS Cr’99 (25% C-S) 13,5% Alc. 12m French & American

I was sort of frightened by the claim of overripeness in the back label. I believe it refers only to the 25% C-S in the blend. After a little aeration the nose indeed shouts “overripeness” (well, surmaturité in Europe): sweetish nose, fruit-driven, it has soaked-up the 12m in oak and now it’s giving away a jammy/tarry (but perhaps not too intense) nose of black berries and prunes with some foreign evidence in the blend (but I would not spot it as CS particularly). Chocolate, spices, turf, ink… all the aromatics are there, including a beautiful faint spirity perfume in the background. Perhaps it will develop further with bottle age. The mouth (-ful) is all lush velvetiness.
This was by far the less typical of the trio, more dramatic than my usual glass of Ribera. On is own it would be very welcome, but in the context of the outworldlish 1999 vintage it appears a touch clumsy, perhaps even more between the Pedrosa and the HMonasterio. 90.

HACIENDA MONASTERIO Cr’99 (15% C-S+5% Merlot) 14% Alc. 16m Allier

This bottle needed a little air, unlike the one we tried 4 weeks before, but was just as good, so much so that virtually the entire TN has been pasted from that thread. One of the shop owners, Tino, joined us and waxed really enthusiastic about this wine; another attendant, Pío, sommelier at one of the best Restaurants over here, advanced us the impressive quality of the HM Reserva 1998.

This wine was just released last May, with considerable delay (up to 6m) for a 1999 with respect to other wineries. Well, you bet it is ready now: Two bottles of this wine were opened. Amazing ripeness and concentration in the nose, with intense jammy sweetness AND a fairly dry mouth (just what I like). That jammy black fruit is filtered through an exquisite and subtle net of spicy Crianza character: smoky oak, vanilla, and engaging complexity already, with mocha, tar, chocolate, and lead pencil. It is distinctive in the Ribera context, but without renouncing local character: full-bodied but well-focused, with perfect balance, fine tannins and a palate-friendly approachability. The finish is endless. 93
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Well, I don't even know if we'll ever get to try it (cf. the € for the Crianza99). David will have to have a good deal of spare bottles if I'm to enjoy it... But it's so good to see HM back on form... [Big Grin]
I bought a bottle of the crianza 97 for about 24€, and I'll try to open it side by side with a 99 some of these days. If I manage to put the coven together for a tasting of Ribera 99 I may drop the Numanthia98 and this HM97 as ringers.
Now I MUST try Finca Villacreces 99 to complete the picture. Sad thing is this will be 20€+ too. But the P.Carraovejas and specially the Pedrosa are the real bargains so far. Can't wait to retry E. Moro!
Good Lord, after Switzerland, Chicago (well, Illinois) seems to be the second biggest market for Ribera! [Wink]
I'll try to get a bottle of FV'99 as soon as possible. The HM97 I bought on a recommendation from David (actually he wanted the 97s back from the shop in exchange for the 99s. He wanted the 97s for his own cellar...).

It is streetwisdom that in general 96 was a better year than 97 in both Rioja and Ribera. Yet many 97s are very good, some even better than the 96s in some houses, for whichever reason. WS gave the HM97 a 90 pt rating, for example. I'm on an experiment here, as I can't really say I'd jump blind in whatever swimming pool TM points with a finger, but HM for me deserves a chance here.
I'll post a TN as soon as I taste it, but the context is bound to be detrimental to it (rest will be all 99s and a Numanthia98)...
Did you finally go to Spain? Where did you go? What wines/wineshops?

Of course you're correct (and lucky) to drink the HM'97. I was only speaking in terms of having a choice and picking 1. After reading your notes, I would certainly follow your palate more often than TM's. I recently had a '97 Teofilo Reyes Cr from the Ribera and enjoyed thoroughly. A great food wine, plums,dried cherries,earthy and a solid core of acid finishing with dry tannins.

We did get to Spain this summer. A week in Barcelona -purchased 2 Finca Dofi, the '97 and '98 - and 2 weeks in Rioja. It was great. Do you know these wines? We also went to Italy and since I could only take home 1 case, the other 10 were '97 Barolo's and Brunello's. I still have a number of '94 Reservas from rioja and a '78 and '81 GR from Conde de Valdemar that need to be drunk soon. Also a bunch of '96's from the Ribera and an '81 or '82 Valbuena from Vega Sicilia. I'll post notes when I crack them open.

I am a big fan of both traditional Spanish wines and the new international styles as long as they retain that Spanish terroir. Unfortunately, we don't get very many new Spanish wines, especially from the emerging regions. I'll have to content myself with my own stash until I get back there.


PS - On a toally unrelated thread, I read notes on the '96 Mas La Plana from Torres. This wine has been a favorite of mine since I had the '93 a number of years ago. I was disappointed with the '94 but it is a wine that TM consistently underrates IMHO.
Glad you had a good time. I had a bottle of the VERY impressive Finca Dofí'97 about 18 months ago and would kill for another (glad you're in Vancouver now... [Wink] ).

You'll be the death of me: just bought the HM Reserva 98 for 37 € (about twice what I can afford now...). The Bodega San Sebastián got two six-packs apparently, but now back to Timcan's observation, had I known they'd get the Reserva so soon perhaps I wouldn't have bought the Crianza 97 as well... Well, it's just speculation until the corks are removed, but now certainly it's the Crianza97 that's going into the group tasting. The reserva will have to wait for a selfish Gastro weekend...
Gastro, sure you don't want to put the HM Reserva 98 into the tasting? The 97 Crianza is "only" a high 80P.-wine. [Wink] Thanks for the sacrifice anyway (I'm eager to see the TN's). I'll do mine next Sunday, when I crack my 1997 Mogador for the Priorat blind-tasting. It's gonna be the hell of a weekend; Saturday the big Mosel/Saar-tasting with Tsunami and his friends, afterwards maybe more wine at their place (?), and Sunday the Priorat-session.

By the way, I could still buy the 1997 Finca Dofi for EUR 38. Should I? [Roll Eyes]

Yes, Yes, do it for me!! I paid about the same in Barcelona for mine and I'm wondering how long to hold it. I'd like to wait until the '98 is also ready and invite a couple of friends over for a blind vertical. I suspect the '98 won't be ready for a couple of years, but again that's only a guess.

Was I reading in another thread that you'd recently tasted the "98 Poliziano? What do you know about this winery? I have the '96 and just picked up a magnum of the '98 for about 60 Euros, but have never tasted either. I think Gambero Rosso gave them both 3 glasses but we rarely get them here.

Timcan, the 1997 Finca Dofi is a superb wine. I've posted a TN some month ago, check this:;f=1;t=001909

It is at the beginning of its drinking phase. Decanting (1hour+) is needed.

I guess you're talking about Poliziano's Le Stanze. It was a very good wine at this tasting, yes. I don't know the exact varieties, it must be a bordeaux-style blend however. At least the Cab-notes come out quite clearly. I've also had older versions of this wine and was never disappointed. You may also want to try their Vino Nobile Cru called Asinone. IMO it is the best VNdM, far above the somewhere else beloved Grandi Annate di Avignonesi. Especially the 1997-version is a fantastic wine, a great expression of Sangiovese!

(edit) I checked my Gambero Rosso: Le Stanze caught 3 Bicchieri in 1995, 1997 and 1998. The VNdM Asinone caught 3 Bicchieri in 1993, 1995 and 1997.

[ 09-25-2002, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: Marc ]
To add to this Ribera thread, I had a chance to taste '99 Mauro tonight - wonderful, plush dark fruit wine. Delicious. Also the Mauro '96 Vendemia (sp?) and the '98 Vendemia were well-made wines too, though they need a few years to soften up. I also tasted the '99 Ledi - which also needs time.

Sorry for the undetailed notes - I walked in to my local wine shop, and the rep was tasting these, and had to book out to catch a flight so it was hurried.
Yes, the 99 is the first Mauro in years to hit the WS90 rating (see RP for better marks).
Actually, the Spanish label reads "Vendimia Seleccionada" (implying best grapes were chosen for this wine, "auslese").
They cannot use "Reserva" because they have no D.O. status, but of course, they HAVE reserved the best parcels, grapes, and lots for this wine (and in fact for many years this was popularly known as Mauro reserva vs the regular bottle, crianza: sadly nobody can still know this wine "popularly" because of the high prices...). But anyway, if RP and almost another dozen critics call it Vendemia in either Italian or bad-Italian, I see no reason why you shouldn't use this: you may even ask for the Vendimia Seleccionada and put the shop owner in trouble [Wink]

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