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I was able to make it to the Wine Cellar in Palatine on Saturday for the Spanish Wine tasting being held by Thirsty1 at his shop. I was impressed with the shop, the people and the quality of the wines being sampled. All of the wines I tried were red and presented a very dark and concentrated appearance. The prices are the tasting day sale prices. Here are some of my notes:

RIBERA DEL DUERO (Temperanillo)
~1999 Condado de Haza($15)- Impressive. My favorite Ribera. Even better than the 1995 Tinto Pesquera Gran Riserva which cost $90+. Spicy aroma but very smooth and understated with well integrated tannins. Old world style. 90-91.
~1998 Tinto Pesquera($17)- A bit sharp and rough with a woody texture. 84-86.
~1997 Tinto Pesquera Reserva($41)- Initial barnyard aroma faded after a little glass time. Fruitiest of the Riberas. Needs time for the tannins to settle. 88-89.
~1995 Tinto Pesquera Gran Reserva($82)- It sure is nice to go to a free tasting and have a $90-100 bottle of wine available. Inky black. Smooth and deep with a peasantly bitter finish. 89-90.

RIOJA (Temperanillo)
~1994 Montecillo Gran Reserva($22)- Good legs. Full rich fruit. Med/long finish. Drinking very well now. 89-91.
~1997 Bodegas Muga Reserva($14)- Good nose with a touch of barnyard. Aged 2 years in oak and 1 in bottle. Medium/full bodied. Spicy pepper taste mixed with dark fruit. 87-88.
~1995 Bodegas Muga Prado Enea($28)- Burgundy/brown hue. Aged 3 years in oak. Big fruit aroma. Smooth, well integrated wine. 88-90.
~1996 Bodegas Muga Torre($42)- Muga's top wine from an excellent vintage. Old vines, late harvest, special selection, 18 months in oak. Very dark. Great chocolate aroma. Deep, rich flavors of cherry and dark fruit. Very long finish. 91-93.

~1999 Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses($22)- Forgot to take notes on this one. All I wrote was 88 points.
~1998 Fra Fulco($37)- The best wine of the tasting. 80% Carignane, 20% Syrah. Old vines & unfiltered. Smells very portlike. Candied fruit flavors with an appealingly sweet edge. Long, long finish. Very intricate. Great with red meat. Will last 10+ years. 92-94.

~1999 Capcanes Cabrida Tarragona($36)- 100% Granacha. Tannic now. Needs time but has sufficient fruit to age 20 years. Interesting spicey notes. 89-90.
~2000 Casa Castillo Monastrell Jumilla($15)- Nice floral bouquet. Violet and spice notes. 86-88.
~1999 Telmo Rodriguez Pago la Jara "G"($30)- Slick bottle with an etched "G" on it. From the Toro region in Northwest Spain. Thick legs. Smooth and elegant with pepper, herb and cherry notes. 89-91.
~1998 Bodegas Fernandez Dehesa La Granja($20)- From the Zamora region. Lost notes. 87-88 points.
~1999 Bodegas Fernandez El Vinculo($22)- From the La Mancha region. A dark gripping wine. Tannic now. Needs time but could evolve into something very nice. 87-89.

Thanks again to Thirsty1 and Tastewine2 for the hospitality.


[ 08-05-2002, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: Vino Me ]
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Great notes, VM. I've been eyeing the Condado de Haza now for a couple of weeks; I'll have to pick up a couple to try out w/some paella. Agree on the '94 Monticello Gran Reserva, too. It's on my shopping list for my next visit to Atlanta.

There was a nice supply of the the '97 Bodegas Muga Reserva, but it has been scarfed from my local haunt. Also, some '91 Prado Enea exists but I'm told that while a 90-92 pt. wine, it is probably at its zenith, and I don't really feel like spending $29 for a wine knowingly on the decline.

I'm Jonesing for PE's trip to Spain next year! Just going to have to make it happen somehow.

Great notes, as usual! It was fun tasting these fine wines with you last Saturday and I think your ratings were spot-on.

As noted in the "Chicago Thanks" thread in the wine conversations, I also thought the '98 Fra Fulco Priorat was the clear best of show. Anyone out there who likes velvety highly extracted fruit in their wine will not be disappointed in this bottle. Agree it could age, but it's awesome right now.

Also concur that The Wine Cellar is a terrific little shop and I'll be back for more tastings/shopping in the future. Thirsty1 and tastewine1 were excellent hosts.

Kybo: I have several bottles of the eaaasy drinkin' 1994 Montecillo Gran Reserva in the cellar. It is indeed a lovely chocolately wine and priced really well at $22. Great QPR. I can't believe it's still out there on the shelves, but I continue to see it in alot of shops, even Whole Foods.


VM: I know nothing of most of these wines except the 94 Montecillo Gran Res. Rioja. I had this and the 1982 version of this wine at the Boston Wine expo last February, gave a 91 to the 1994 and 90 points to the gracefully aged 1982. Reading the conversation here makes me wonder why I've not bought some yet, I saw it a few months ago for less than $20. I will if I see again, thanks for the reminder and the nice notes.

Vino Me, thanks for the nice notes! I agree with many of them. I would also rate the 1995 Pesquera Gran Reserva way below 90. Contrary to your opinion, I don't like the Condado de Haza much, it is too simple and straightforward fruit/oak driven IMO. Fernandez wines are very famous here and for a lot of people a synonym for "the best spanish wine". I would only agree for a few bottlings though: 1985 Janus, 1994 Gran Reserva and 1995 Millennium Reserva.
It's a pitty that you couldn't taste the first growths of Casa Castillo and Palacios: While both the Monastrell and the Les Terrasses are good-to-very-good wines, the Pie Franco (Casa Castillo) and the Finca Dofi (Palacios) are outstanding! And the Pie Franco goes for around USD 20 here which makes it my current PQR-leader all around the world. Rumour says, there's even a better bottling by Palacios called "Ermita". It's a 200 USD-bottle here which is far above my budget. [Frown]

[ 08-06-2002, 03:13 AM: Message edited by: Marc ]
Great notes, it's been a long time since I last went through such an ordeal as yours... [Wink]
I include my TN for the FRA FULCÓ 1998 from a couple of months ago, for evidence of the shared enthusiasm.
The "g" in the Toro wine is for Gago (Telmo Rodríguez's wine in Toro is called Dehesa Gago). The portfolio includes an unoaked red , a "Crianza," and that "Pago la Jara" (vines over 50 years old, luxury treatment...). Costs about 32€ in Spain, but no chance in Tenerife. Lucky you, I haven't even been close to a bottle.

Priorato Carignan Vinyes Vignes FRA FULCÓ 1998
Candidate for wine of the evening. RP has given other vintages consistent ratings in the low 90s and to me this was no exception (91+). The jammy, concentrated nose gives away gloriously perfumed aromas of black fruits and vanilla, with distant but perceptible minerals and a pleasant earthy rusticity. Really full-bodied, this was evidently a food wine, and everybody was stunned by it as well as by the promising crescendo.

Thanks so much for the great notes. I will look for the 1998 Fra Fulco. Sounds wonderful.

I love Priorat wines. I agree with andreadago about the '91 Prado Enea, it is drinking beautifully now and should last a while lomger. Interested in tasting the '95.

My favorite Rioja is the Torre Muga. If you ever get a chance try the 1994. It is outstanding.

Otis- Thanks. It was good to meet and discuss the wines with you also.

Marc- I can see where the Condado might be to simple for some. This is not a wine for everyone. Honestly, anyone who prefers big extracted fruity wines would probably feel the same as you. I found something wonderfully understated and elegant in the Condado.

Gastro- Thanks for the Fra Fulco notes. I found them very interesting. It's good to have someone who knows so much about Spanish wines like you confirm your impressions.

To all those mentioning the Prado Enea- The sales representative for Muga made an interesting comment about the Muga Reserva. He believed that the Reserva was actually better in off vintages since the grapes for the Prado Enea went into the Reserva in those years. The Prado is only made in the best years. Do any of you have experience? If so, do you agree?

Is the 98 still around over there? I see RP has already reviewed the 99, and it's a very limited production stuff (or else a lot of it gets exported, which I'm certain about: 1st time I saw it was in Vinothek St Stephans in Vienna...).
In Xmas I'll be traveling to Galicia where I got my 98 and will surely try the 99 if reasonably priced (20-25€). Meanwhile I'll read TNs... [Big Grin]
Hi folks,

I have a lone spanish wine in my collection, a Bodegas Montecillio Crianza 1998 Rioja. I was looking through a selection of wine from Chile and this one was out of place, so... I decided to give it a try and buy it for $10.99. It is my understanding this is fruity in character. Anyone familiar with this wine?

Mark, N.H.
Gastro- Thanks for looking.

Mark- Montecillo makes 3 levels of Rioja. A Crianza, a Reserva and a Gran Reserva. I reviewed a Gran Reserva above. You have the basic bottling. 1998 was a good year but not as good as 1996 or 1999. WS gave your bottle an 82 rating. I have not had it.


[ 08-12-2002, 11:39 AM: Message edited by: Vino Me ]

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