#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2013 Bodegas Ostatu Rosado

Rosé season is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders for $20 or less!  This week’s rosé is the 2013 Bodegas Ostatu Rosado.

The Winery

Bodegas Ostatu is a family winery located in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa region in La Rioja, Spain.

The winery is owned and operated by the Saenz de Samaniego family, who have been in the area for many generations.  Most of that time they grape growers who sold their grapes to other wineries. But in the late 60s Doroteo Asunción made the decision to make and sell his own wines rather than selling his grapes on to other wineries.

The Sáenz de Samaniego Family Photo by Steven Alexander

The Sáenz de Samaniego Family
Photo by Steven Alexander

The vineyards, which are protected by the Sierra de Cantabria range, are composed of ochre coloured chalky clay soil, with an average age of 50 years. The estate is composed of over forty hectares of vines located in and around the town of Samaniego.

According to importer De Maison Selections Inc, until recently, all Ostatu wines were produced using the carbonic maceration process. Such wines are made to be consumed young and are popular with many locals.  However that philosophy changed when Frenchman, Hubert de Bouard de Laforest of Chateau Angelus saw the unique potential of the terroir of Ostatu vineyards. As a result, wines are now produced using traditional fermentation, and yields in the vineyards have been reduced in order improve the quality of the Ostatu wines.  As a result Ostatu is able to produce wines which live up to their full potential.

The Wine

This wine is one of Ostatu’s latest projects.  Fruit for the wine was sourced from some of Ostatu’s oldest and highest elevation vineyards, this wine is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, and 30% Garnacha (Grenache Noir). It was fermented in stainless steel vats.

13% alcohol | Retail – $14

photo (40)

My tasting notes follow:

Deep pink color with generous watermelon, raspberry and wet stone aromas. On the plate it approaches medium bodied, and is dry, lively and refreshing with tart cherry, raspberry, and subtle spice flavors underscored by an appealing minerality. Medium finish. 

Rating: B+ This has everything you want in a Pink Porch Pounder.  It’s clean, crisp, fruity, dry, and food friendly. And  the price is right at under $15. Recommended! >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: I enjoyed this with Spinach, smoked turkey and burrata salad!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

#WineWednesday Review: 2011 Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha

Today’s #WineWednesday review is the 2011 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Campo de Borja Tres Picos.  This is a wine that has a  (well -deserved) reputation for offering a lot of bang for the buck.  The last vintage I tried was 2010, when it was one of the wines tasted in our wine-tasting club’s Wines of Spain Smackdown. That wine placed second among the eight wines we blind-tasted.  So when I saw this at my local Costco for $13, I thought it was a great opportunity to check in on the 2011 vintage.

Bodegas Borsao specializes in Grenache.  Aside from this wine they produce a couple of other bottlings of 100% Grenache, and a blend that is mostly (70%) Grenache.

The wine is made from 100% Garnacha (Grenache) sourced 35 to 60-year-old vines from the Campo de Borja (a.k.a “The Empire of Garnacha”) region located in Northern Spain. The wine was fermented in stainless steel.  After fermentation, half the wine was aged 5 months in small French oak barrels (40% new) and the other half in stainless steel tank.

#WineWednesdayReview; 2011 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Tres PicoMy tasting notes follow:

 Ruby color with red fruit, leather and baking spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and supple with medium acidity and strawberry, cherry, a bit of plum and spice flavors. Medium+ finish. 

Rating:  B+:  When I look for value, I look to Spain first, and this wine over-delivers at $13! Click here to find this wine.

Pair with: Paella Mixta, pulled pork sandwich, or grilled meats.  And for my vegetarian friends - lentil or bean-based dishes.

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

The Best of California Grenache: 2013 San Francisco Family Winemakers Tasting

I attended the 23nd annual Family Winemakers of California tasting, held in San Francisco August 17th and 18th.  The tasting was open to both trade/media and th public on Saturday, and was trade/media only on Sunday.   The event was held at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason in San Francisco.  The

Family Winemakers of California (“FWC”) is the trade advocate for California’s “small family” wineries (although behemoth wineries like Kendall Jackson and Gallo are also considered family wineries most are in fact smaller family run wineries ). And a huge tasting like this brings in trade, media, and wine lovers from across the country.

It’s also the single largest tasting of California wines in the world!

photo (11)

It’s my favorite big event because it’s a chance to taste so many different types and styles of wines from throughout California, from so many producers, large and small, old and new…

FWC Crowd

If there ever was a time the vinous cliché “So many wines, so little time” is true, it’s at a huge event like this.  There were 220 wineries pouring, so I needed a plan to maximize the three hours I set aside for tasting.

I decided to do a deep dive on Grenache, or more specifically Grenache Noir!

No Grenache blends….just wine labeled as Grenache (meaning they are composed of at least 75% Grenache)

FWC is a very well-organized event, with a great program.  The program indicated there were 20 wineries pouring Grenache.  However, as is typically the case with big tastings like this, when the program is finalized weeks before the event, there are often changes.  Such was the case with many of the wineries denoted as pouring Grenache.  I was told their Grenache was sold out, that it was a blend, or they weren’t pouring on the day I went.  So, things were hit and miss until I came across this guy…

photo (30)

Kaena Wine Company owner/winemaker Mikael Sigouin

When I asked MIkael (who also makes wine for Beckmen Vineyards) to try his Grenache, he replied “Which one? I have four”

Music to my ears!

All told I ended up only tasting 16 wines.  My favorites, which I rated 90+ points, were from Dashe Cellars, Kaena Wine Company, Law Estate Wines, Pierce Ranch Vineyards and Rob Murray Vineyards.

My detailed tasting notes follow:

  • 2009 Frick Winery Grenache Conley Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley - Ruby color with cherry, sweet spice and a hint of pepper aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with focused cherry, raspberry and a hint of black currant flavors. (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Frog’s Tooth Grenache - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Calaveras County - Ruby red with fresh strawberry, and pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied and tart with strawberry, raspberry and pepper flavors. (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Bella Grace Grenache - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
    Cherry red color with strawberry, cherry and peppery aromas. On the palate, its approaches medium bodied with soft, tart cherry,and spice flavors (87 pts.)
  • 2012 Dashe Cellars Grenache Les Enfants Terribles - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley - Ruby color with appealing strawberry, raspberry, and spice aromas. It’s light-bodied Beaujolais style that’s energetic, with a smooth texture supported by light tannins. It shows strawberry, raspberry and spice flavors with hints of mineral and red currant flavors. Satisfying and lingering finish. (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Fenestra Grenache - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley - Medium cherry red color with black cherry, spice and a hint of game aromas. On the palate, its medium-bodied with cherry, raspberry and pepper flavors. (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Lava Cap Grenache Estate Bottled - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County - Light ruby-red color with attractive wild strawberry and floral aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied and lively with strawberry, sweet spice, mineral and a hint of pepper flavors. Medium finish. Aged in small French oak barrels for 14 months. (88 pts.)

photo (13)

  • 2010 Kaena Grenache - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
    Garnet color with appealing fresh cherry, sweet spice and white pepper aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied, with medium acidity, and tart cherry, raspberry and spiced vanilla flavors. Fruit is sourced from four vineyard sources throughout the Santa Ynez Valley consisting of: Estelle Vineyard in the Happy Canyon area, Fox Family Vineyard in Los Olivos, Tierra Alta Vineyard in Ballard Canyon and Larner Vineyard also in Ballard Canyon. The wine was aged for 22 months in neutral French Oak. The wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre (89 pts.)
  • 2011 Kaena Grenache Vie Caprice - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley - Medium dark ruby color with raspberry, spicy white pepper, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, with lively acidity and tangy raspberry, cherry flavors and a satisfying finish. (89 pts.)
  • 2010 Kaena Grenache Tierra Alta Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley - Medium ruby-red color with billowing red fruit, baking spice, and a hint of roast game aromas. On the palate, it approaches medium-bodied with silky, raspberry, strawberry, and spice flavors. Medium-long finish (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Kaena Grenache Larner Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley - Cherry red color with strawberry, cherry and peppery aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied with wonderful acidity, and tangy raspberry, and baked cherry flavors. (88 pts.)

Law Estate 10 Grenache

  • 2010 Law Estate Wines Beguiling - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Exhibits raspberry, strawberry, spice and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, its between light and medium-bodied, and balanced with surprising acidity and raspberry, strawberry, spice and mineral flavors. Lengthy finish. 94% Grenache, 6% Syrah (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Lido Bay Grenache Bitch Tongue - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Calaveras County - Ruby color with abundant red fruit and spice aromas. On the palate, its ample with medium acidity, and raspberry, strawberry, cherry and spice flavors. 90% Grenache, 10% Tempranillo. Barrel aged in 20% new French oak (89 pts.)
  • 2011 Powell Mountain Cellars Grenache - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Medium ruby color with cherry, white pepper and a hint of earth aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied with raspberry, and spiced vanilla flavors. (86 pts.)
  • 2011 Pierce Ranch Garnacha - USA, California, Central Coast, San Antonio Valley - Medium ruby color with generous strawberry, cherry and spice aromas. On the palate it’s approaches medium-bodied, and fresh with appealing wild strawberry, cherry and spice flavors on a smooth lengthy finish. Made from Spanish Garnacha clone (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Paradise View Cuvée Arlequin - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast - Dark ruby color with fruity cherry, and baking spice aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied with raspberry cherry and spice flavors. Medium finish. 98% Grenache/2% Syrah (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Rob Murray Amor Fati Wine Grenache Murmur Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley - Ruby color with perfumed red fruit, damp earth, and spicy pepper aromas. On the palate, it medium-bodied, and well-balanced with soft tannins. It’s exhibits raspberry, red currant, strawberry, mineral and spice flavors. Aged 16 months 100 neutral French Oak. (90 pts.)

Hawk and Horse Block 9

After getting through the available Grenache relatively quickly, it was time for “Taster’s Choice…Um..where I basically walk around and taste whatever strikes my fancy.

I tasted another 15 to 20 wines.  My favorites, which I rated 90+ points were:

  • 2007 5 Bridges
  • 2009 Hawk and Horse Block Three Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2010 Lagier-Merideth Chester’s Anvil Malbec
  • 2011 Lagier-Meredith Tribidrag
  • 2009 Smith Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2007 Smith Madrone Reserve Cabernet Cooks Flat

I certainly enjoyed by Adventure in Grenache.  California’s winemakers, especially from the Central Coast, are making some wonderful Grenache.  The most distinguished  are well-balanced with compelling aromas, bright red fruits, and a hint of spiciness. Stylistically, most we’re were dense, but I’m seeing more and more of the lighter-bodied, lower alcohol examples too.

Wine of the Week And Great QPR!; 2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out. For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra

About Herencia Altes 

Herencia Altès is a project a long time in the making. For generations Nuria Altes and his family have been grape growers, with vineyards dispersed around the village of Batea. Now, Nuria have decided to give these grapes their own personality in the form of these handcrafted wines. While Terra Alta is not yet a well-known region – tucked away in the southeastern corner of Catalonia it borders Aragón and Valencia – it is one of the largest areas in Catalonia under vine. Built upon Roman and Moorish foundations it preserves a beautiful historical center and its grand church is testament to its past glories. In terms of viticulture, it is the most important village in Terra Alta accounting for over 50% of its entire grape production. Most of the grapes are sold to cooperatives or large companies outside the region. Herencia Altes is Nuria Altes’ dream to put Terra Alta on the map and show the true quality of these wonderful old vines.

[Overview of  Spanish Wines]

This wine is a custom cuvee made for wine importer Eric Solomon by proprietor Nuria Altes. It is 100% garnaxta negra (grenache) raised on its lees in concrete vats.  The fruit is mix of very old garnaxta bush vines, which is balanced by the youthful intensity of younger vine fruit. .

Herencia Altes

My tasting notes follow:

Crimson color with black cherry and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s intense, medium-bodied with medium acidity and soft tannins. It shows cherry, pomegranate, mineral and spice flavors and a lengthy finish. 

>>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-

This wine is a great example of why Spain is unbeatable for wines that offer incredible value!  It drinks like many wines I’ve had in the $30-40 range. Sometimes the best thing you can say about a wine is “I’ll buy again”  And I have! Pair with grilled meat, lamb or goat

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 13.8% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork.
  • AVASpainCatalunyaTarragonaTerra Alta
  • Varietal(s): 100% Garnaxta Negro (Grenache)
  • SRP: $8.99
  • Ageability: Drink now, or hold for 2-3 years

Wine purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Value Alert…2011 Zestos Vinos de Madrid Old Vines

From time to time I come across a wine with a surprisingly good quality/price ratio (‘QPR”).  The 2011 Zestos Vinos de Madrid Old Vines, a Spanish wine from the DO Madrid is such a wine.  I purchased this bottle from my favorite wine store, K&L Wine Merchants.

Not familiar with the DO Madrid?  Join the club! Even many Spaniards are unaware that wine is being produced in Madrid.

DO Madrid is located south of the capital.  It is divided into 3 sub-zones – Arganda, San Martin, and Navalcarnero.  The area earned the coveted DO (Denominación de Origen) status in 1990, so it’s relatively new.

The fruit for this wine comes from the high-elevation district of San Martin de Valdeiglesisas at 2,850 elevation.

Here’s what K&L says about the wine…

Given the fresh, raspy mixed berry fruit, the name “Zestos” is indeed apt (though it actually is Spanish for “basket.”) Typical of garnacha from around the higher elevation vineyards of San Martín de Valdeiglesias (just outside of Madrid), there is a subtle yet undoubtedly present tannic backbone and firm minerality adding punch to this everyday red. It should stand up nicely to any range of dishes in your winter repertoire, even braised meats. Another example of the great potential of wines being made in the villages just outside of Madrid.

vinos de madrid old vine garnacha

My tasting notes follow:

Inky violet color with cherry liqueur, raspberry, black currant, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with surprisingly good acidity, present but well behave tannins, and black cherry, black currant, raspberry, spice, and mineral flavors. Medium finish. 

Rating: 87pts – Recommended. This wine is a great value at $10.  I’ll be buying more!

Here’s the wine geek stuff:

Where it’s from: SpainMadridVinos de Madrid

The grapes: 100% Grenache (Garnacha) 40+ years old

Aging: Stainless steel and concrete tanks of 10,000-liter capacity

Age of vineyards:40-50 year-old vines

Cost: $9.99

Alcohol: 14%

Production: 30,000 cases made, 10,000 imported to the USA

Closure: Cork

>>Find This Wine<<