This Saturday, March 8th, we are pleased to welcome Mikel Martinez from Bodegas Hermanos Peciña, whose Riojas have become a staple on our Spanish shelves for their commitment to traditional winemaking, organic viticulture, native yeast fermentations, and excellent quality at everyday prices. Peciña's wines reliably deliver elegance across vintages and are among our favorite Riojas to enjoy both young and aged. Mikel's lineup will include the tantalizing 2009 Blanco, Crianzas from 2007 and 2006 (in magnum), and the swoon-worthy 2001 Vendimia Seleccionada Reserva that is only made in exceptional vintages. We hope to see you tomorrow between 4 and 7pm!
Also, an impressive number of producers from the Canary Islands will be coming to town later this month. If only we had room to host all of them! Nevertheless, we are thrilled to host three of our favorites: Ana de León of Bermejos (Lanzarote), Pedro Ramírez of Frontón de Oro (Gran Canaria), and Juan Jesús Méndez of Viñátigo (Tenerife). Join us on Friday, March 21st (5-7pm), to learn more about these exciting wines from the rare indigenous grapes and complex terroirs that make the Canary Islands unique.
Lastly, we are pleased to offer delicious new vintages of López de Heredia's deep and lovely Gravonia Blanco, Glòria and Berta Garriga's coveted Els Jelipins Sumoll, racy Mountain Muscat from Telmo Rodriguez, and more. Cheers! AR
Pecina's Blanco comes from 2 hectares of old Viura vines in the San Vicente region of Rioja Alta. The hand-harvested grapes are allowed 24 hours of maceration before pressing, which confers musky aromas and rich, almond-y textures and flavors on the palate of crushed peach, lemon curd, whey, and spice. Voluptuous, energizing, and a great example of well-priced white Rioja that benefits from age! Please stop by for a taste this Saturday between 4 and 7pm. AR
Pecina's Crianza spends two years in used American oak and two years in bottle before release, for a supple, medium-bodied Rioja featuring pretty red fruits and the patented green herb and savory leather character that brings us back to this traditional estate's wines vintage after vintage. Tasting this wine next to the 2006 Crianza in magnum really elucidates the subtle shifts that age and format provide (on top of being straightforwardly delicious). Join us on Saturday 3/8 (4-7pm) to taste them both! AR
This magnum is the epitome of affordable luxury, displaying all the elegance, structure, and development that we look for in RIojas this age. Pecina's Crianza wines spend two years in used American oak and at least two years in bottle before release and age so gracefully that there is no reason not to cellar them next to the Reservas and Gran Reservas. Tasting this wine next to the 2007 Crianza really elucidates the subtle shifts that age and format provide (on top of being straightforwardly delicious). Join us on Saturday 3/8 (4-7pm) to taste them both! AR
The Vendimia Seleccionada Reserva is only made in exceptional vintages where the power, elegance, and ageworthiness of Pecina's wines will achieve their highest expression with three years in used American oak followed by three years in bottle. 2001 is a singular vintage and one that gives great pleasure even in relative youth. Densely knit but incredibly subtle, with dusky wild cherry, gentle baking spice, seedy berries, dark earth, and umami. This is a wine for the cellar but also delicious right now with herbed grass-fed steaks or savory lamb. AR
100% Viura from 45-year-old vines planted on the poor, stony soils of the historic Zaconia vineyard. 2004 is a magnificent vintage for this wine, joyous and expressive out of the gate with jasmine, honey, green herbs, stone fruit, and mustard seed aromas. The palate is luscious and lingering, rich with meyer lemon, juicy fresh apricot, white pepper, hazelnut skins, and balanced by soaring acidity that makes it fresh and food-friendly. Fresh seafood, buttery egg and potato dishes, poultry of any kind, and cheese courses are all great matches. AR
Gloria and Berta Garriga make Els Jelipins with great love and attention (but zero intervention) in the tiny hilly hamlet of Font-Rubi, Penedes (Spain's Cava country). The heart of this wine is the rare and beautiful Sumoll grape, which Gloria hunts determinedly, sometimes claiming just a handful of rows in vineyards normally relegated to local co-op production. Jelipins is brilliant upon release and haunting with additional age. With some time to open in the bottle or a decanter, the 2009 shows ravishing aromas of kirsch, cranberry, brambly blue fruit, lilacs, pencil lead, and cafe-au-lait; clear and layered flavors of mulberries, raspberry seeds, red currant, and tart black raspberry intertwine with sheer minerality and that fierce and buoyant acidity that is Jelipins' trademark. Each bottle is unique and wild. Gloria says it best: "The Els Jelipins philosophy is plagued by flaws-desire-contradictions-energy-dilemmas, like the wines that we love: always mature-subtle-vigorous-fine-balanced, at times strange-shy-surly-contradictory-hard, and never dressed up... Like us, spartan-combative-amicable-ridiculous-happy. Whether or not this is the right way to go (if there is a right way), it is the way we have chosen." AR
Rioja native Telmo Rodriguez (Remelluri) has shined his winning light on many of Spain's unknown grapes and complex terroirs under his Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez label. Lovers of dry Gewurztraminer, Gelber Muskateller, spicy foods, and bold but balanced flavors, take note! In a region renowned for sweet and sticky wines, Telmo's Mountain Blanco is vinified dry from 100% Moscatel de Alejandria planted on pure slate slopes at 550m in the Sierra de Malaga DO of Andalusia. Zesty quince, fun florals, and soapy lavender waft from the glass, with an exotic, heady, yet briskly acidic palate of white and pink grapefruit, lime curd, grape seeds, orange blossoms, jasmine tea, bitter almond, and a bold, icey, mineral core. AR
In an attempt to beat the extreme southern Spanish heat, Ramon Saavedra planted 5 hectares of vines on north-facing hillsides in Granada's Sierra Nevada mountain range. He farms organically. uses no added sulfites, and works outside the appellation -- all with tremendous results. The 2011 Iradei is a broad and spicy Tempranillo-based blend with sultry aromas of raspberry musk, wild strawberry patch, clove, and cinnamon sticks. The palate is juicy and giving,with rich purple plum, sweet muddled strawberries, rosewater, black tea, spicy nutmeg and cloven earth. Relaxed and wonderful! AR
Samuel Cano's Patio Airen is a delicious example of opaque, exuberant, zero sulphur, but perfectly clean natural white wine from Spain. Cano's 65- year-old Airen vines are planted at 800m on clay and limestone soils in Castilla La Mancha. Fresh and mellow, aromas of white beer, lemon-lime soda, and zesty green herbs with fresh, juicy orchard peach, lime zest, lemon seeds, and long minerality in the mouth. An excellent aperitif and thirst-quenching match for summertime and seafood. AR
Fans of Bermejos' subtle, minerally Malvasias will adore this wine! Diego is a vigorous, high-acid grape (also known as Vijariego Blanco) that is authorized in all of the Canary Islands DOs. Bermejos' version features aromas of sweet pineapple, crisp green apple, herbal lemon balm and white pepper; clear-fruited flavors include lemon and pineapple, with a hint of fennel, ash, and maraschino cherry on the bright and mineral palate. AR
This light and pretty vintage of the Tinto flawlessly channels the subtle fruit and herbs of Listan Negro (blended with Tintilla) in a way that is fascinating for the seasoned Canary Islands drinker as well the curious novice. Mellow black raspberry, dusky mulberry, bitter cherry, and the juice of fresh heirloom tomatoes float across the palate with the telltale whiff of ashy earth and salty island air. (There's something about Listan Negro that makes me think about reds from the Jura... This one is the color of Trousseau, with some of the notes I find delightful in Poulsard. Just a thought!) A great pairing for vegetarian fare and charcuterie. AR
A couple of exciting wines made from the red Baboso grape have recently commanded our attention, including this delicious blend from the Tacorante-Acenteo DO on the Northeastern coast of the island of Tenerife. Tacande is the side project of winemaker Juan J. Mendez, who makes exotic varietal wines from own-rooted indegenous grapes for the label Vinatigo. This Tinto is his first blended wine, consisting of 60% Baboso plus roughly equal parts Tintilla, Vijariego Tinto, and Negramoll. Aromas of savory coffee beans, blackberry sap, wild nettles, sea salt, and bay leaf zap you from the glass; the palate is broad and electric, with gushing red and purple berry fruit, sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, bitter berry stems and seeds, the umami of salty soy sauce, and generous acidity. One of the most novel and fabulous Canary reds yet! Enjoy with barbeque, charcuterie, or a pot of spicy chili. AR