Read these NOTES while waiting for Spain reports

a taste of Spain

Mr. and Mrs. tBoW have been touring Spain for the past couple weeks. As tBoW prepares the reports we offer a welltimed mop up from recent tastings. The best wine out of Malibu gets challenged with seafood stir fry, a very good Carneros Bordeaux blend, and an old Super Second Bordeaux. And even more!

HandleMan believes tBoW doesn’t like Cabernet Sauvignon. And I have to keep reminding this lover of Malbec and medium to big Reds that I do like Cabernet Sauvignon BUT not the same-old Cabs from France or Napa or God Forbid anywhere else. Cab has such a narrow taste profile it has to be top notch. Which has no relationship to price necessarily. But then who would know since most Cab drinkers have not given Pinot Noir or SW France or Spanish Riojas a real chance. My point is Cabernet is not a grape that can develop a wide range of nuance. When it is great it is truly wonderful. But it is almost always limited in the range of experience it can provide. Basically big, fruity, deep concentrated. monochromatic. So here are a couple of NoCal Cabs we liked mucho.

2001 Hafner Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
$fuggedaboudid: A subscriber brought it to the party. Alexander Valley makes softer more approachable wines. This producer fits the mold. Briny nose. Dark purple red color. Soft, still young at 10 years, Dark, evergreen mintiness. Showing some age. When all is said and done, kind of sweet. An admirable 13.5%

2006 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
$18: Dark color, deep flavors, intense as only Cabernet can be. Cocoa puffs out of the box. Tasting panel set for August Cabernet indulgence with Mr Mark. 14.3%

2007 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem $10: From Beaune Imports which is a good sign. Aromas call for Cabernet and Cab Franc. Sweet for Old World wine. Mild, light, almost minty, orange rind. Recalls a Maipu Malbec. But NO!! Blend is Grenache, Syrah, Carignane and Cinsault. One of those very underrated (still!) Southern France reds. 12.5%

2006 Box Car Ros√© $10: This label was ubiquitous a couple years ago. Maybe it still is. We avoid it for the “quaint” label. This wine confirms our instinct. Bitter, oily, lack of fruit. Dark red pink color. Probably too old for a pinky. Maybe the “straight” reds are better? 14.5%

2007 Terry Hoage Vineyards Grenache Rosé $15: Where did this come from? Paso pink. More interesting than the Box Car and only one year younger. Candy bright pale salmon color. Gone now I would bet you can probably try the latest without too much fear!

2009 Malibu Sanity Pinot Noir $35-ish: The desk was stacked against this wine showing well as we prepared to pack, plan, lose our minds preparing for travel. tBoW paired the Malibu dandy with seafood stir fry. He chilled it thinking it was the producer’s Chardonnay. With nothing left to do but pull the cork…the wine showed beautifully matched pretty nicely with the shrimp and curry. Testimony to the acid spine and nice fruit. When the first red was poured in Spain the following week…it was chilled! 14.5%

2008 Chateau Mas Neuf Rosé $13: You have to buy this Rose in the current vintage. Every year they ar near the top. This year the nose was minty and the flavors were spicy. Lovely. A Paul Young import. Expect the same high quality in each vintage. xx$

2008 Domaine St Andrede Figuiere Ros√© $14: Another very dependable pink producer in every vintage. Notes say honeydew melon and pears on the nose and in the mouth. Middle weight from Provence. Importer Paul Young’s fave pinkie way back when. You can go to it in confidence again. Half Mourvedre, 25% Grenache and 25% Cinsault. 13%

1989 Milz Laurentiushof Trittenheimer Felsekopf Auslese Riesling $not sure: This review is for folks traveling to the Mosel this summer or early Fall. Had this in a liter bottle. Do not know how I got this lucky. Laurentiushof is a favorite Mosel producer. Dehydrated pee color like Galliano. Super green fruit flavors at more than 20 years. Pfeffernüsse flavors like a dark German bread. Loved it. had to be under 11%

Next post will be first of several covering the very recent road trip in Southern Spain and Portugal. Must seek out Verdelho and Vinha Verde. Ole!!


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    mouse says:

    Cabernet is a wonderful grape – for blending.

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    igty says:

    you were away?
    now we must hear all about those spanish rioja’s that we can’t get here. or that spain is making great strides in improving their whites–which is total iberian propaganda machine foolishness.
    i can’t wait to read about your excitement over tapas and pairings. i hope you brought some decent reds home. i’m thirsty.

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      mouse says:

      Spanish whites are, sadly, forgettable. Don’t try to change our minds….

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        Bacchus says:

        I LOVED the Spanish Verdehlos and Portuguese Vinho Verdes. I am not a fan of the stylized oxidized white wines from Rioja and did not have these. I did put away most of a bottle of Verdehlo all by my lonesome one afternoon in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. I found the reds to be serviceable. Read about all very shortly. Preparing first post-Spain-vacation post. Of course, the Serrano ham is another matter! I am sure you get more of that on the Least Coast. Even the local Gelsons discontinued carrying it at $36/lb.

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    mouse says:

    OK. I admit to having a pleasant garnacha bianco from catalonia…

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