Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Red and white (OK, maroon and gold) Heredias

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Rioja 2004, Reserva, Viña Tondonia, R. Lopez de Heredia ($49.25, 116679010)
Estate-grown Tempranillo (75%), Garnacha (15%) and Graciano (5%) and Mazuelo (aka Carignan, 5%). Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured in estate-made American oak barrels for six years, with twice yearly racking. Fined with egg whites. Bottled unfiltered. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Straightforward but beautiful nose of plum, cut wood, spice, papier d’Arménie, raspberry cordial, blackberry tea, hay and a touch of vanilla. Medium-bodied, savoury and ready to go. The combination of velvety fruit, dark minerals, wood, smooth acidity and supple if lightly raspy tannins is engaging though more structure, complexity and depth wouldn’t be unwelcome, especially at the price point. The slow-fade finish brings balsam and leather to mind. Maybe it’s passing through a phase but this seems less special, more earthbound than in earlier vintages. (Buy again? Hmm.)

Rioja 2006, Crianza, Viña Gravonia, R. Lopez de Heredia ($30.50, 11667927)
100% Viura (aka Macabeo) from old vines. Manually harvested, gently destemmed and immediately crushed. The must is transferred into 60-hectolitre oak vats, where it ferments spontaneously. Matured in 225-litre American oak barrels for four years, with racking twice a year. Unfiltered but fined with egg whites before bottling. Reducing sugar: 2.4 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
The layered, faintly oxidized but still fresh nose generated a wide range of descriptors from the assembled tasters: honey, oak, “a coniferous thing,” “raw almond,” “green almond,” vanilla, “basement concrete,” “vegetal but not, like a tree,” “elm,” ground cherry, “almost Muscat,” white spice and more. Hefty but not heavy in the mouth. The fruit – mainly preserved lemon and stone fruit – is wrapped in a gauze of oak, enlivened by soft acidity and tethered to a chalky saline substrate. Toffee and nougat notes overtone the long finish. Perhaps a shade less complex than earlier vintages but still unique and delicious. The price is astounding for a 10-year-old wine of this quality. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

MWG October 27, 2016, tasting: flight 7 of 7

Written by carswell

December 2, 2016 at 13:44

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