Spanish Wines


Ribera del Duero


89 Viña Mayor Riserva

Simple. Spicy. Concentrated. Rough. Good value. $13 3/96

94 Condado de Haza

One hundred percent Tempranillo blend from the Pesquera firm. Over-oaked, of course, but still more interesting than most equally-priced Riojas or California merlots. Slight tannic edge subdued with aeration. Enjoyable but never-approaching-smooth palate or finish. Decent fruit, medium body, good value. Could last another 5 years, but I don’t know how much improvement to expect. $14 4/99

95 Teofilo Reyes Tinto

Lots of oak. Lots of tannins (but not out of control), but really good blackberry flavor. Medium finish. Flavor trailing off just slightly in late palate a) keeps this a 91 pt wine b) makes one wonder if it really can make it > 5 yrs without fading. RP 91 $21 (totally worth $21) 9/05

96 Sardon del Duero
Spicy, medium bodied, a nice mouthful. Finally, Spanish wine is getting away from Spanish wine. Did I mention it wasn’t over-oaked? One complaint. An annoying phenolic nose, which I experienced last in a young gewürztraminer? I wish I knew what this was. $21 7/99
Note: someone told me this was from mercaptones put into the wines? 11/00

(2) Too oaky and tannic throughout. Enough fruit though so maybe will be okay in 4-5 years. Wouldn't bet my life on it. RP 90 pts, but I say 87-88. Overpriced at $24 9/05

97 Teofilo Reyes Tinto

Good, solid Ribera. Perhaps a bit on the tannic side, but still good. Would hold another 5+ years. 12/04

98 Pago de Carraovejas Crianza

Good but not worth $27. Flavor and balance not bad. Maybe worth $20. 8/02





94 Albet I Noya Penedes

It’s mostly Tempranillo? I think it was a steal at $16. 7/97

(2) Merlo-y. Oaky. Easy to drink. Only 5/10 on the fruit scale. Wouldn’t bother cellaring any longer. $18 (worth $15). 2/01




94 Conde de Valdemar
It was the second time I’ve had it, and neither time have been that memorable. Still good for $11 4/97

89 Marques de Caceres
Not a great taste. Over-oaked. Acceptable finish. Cinnamon. $17 5/98

89 Martinez Bujanda

Same as Marques de Caceres. Perhaps more fruit, body. Over-cocked at $20 2/99

01 Muga Rioja Reserva

Initially a bit out of control. Out of balance, perhaps too acidic.  But it settles down after 20-30 minutes and a not-that-bad Rioja flavor emerges. If you’re a fan of the typical $10-25 Rioja flavor—oak, fruit, more oak—then you won’t be disappointed. $22 (worth $14-17). 11/05


Note: Never buy more than one of a Rioja, unless you’ve tasted it  yourself.




95 Siurana Miserere Priorat
Fairly concentrated with plenty of tannins, although not as “chewy” as a big Nebbiolo. The wine seems to have structure, balance and plenty of fruit. After 4 hrs of drinking it, I too began to have structure, balance and plenty of fruit. Enjoyable flavor, but relatively short finish. Not riveting. I see the wine improving for at least 5 years-hard to say beyond that. Still, this beats the hell out of cheap Rioja. And besides, Wine Spectator says Priorato is “up and coming.” $38 10/98

(2) Harsh, very tannic, difficult to enjoy up to 3 hrs. After 3 days of sustained air strikes, it finally became more pleasant. I think the main problem with this wine is that I shouldn’t have opened it for another 5 years. However, only experience (unfortunately, someone else’s) will tell if time alone can bring this wine up to it’s price-tag. 10/98


94 Priorat Clos de l’Obac
Full bodied. Good nose. Flavor is good but not showing anything delicious. Probably best to hold until 2010-2015 just to see if anything happens. $40 3/03

(2) Definitely showing signs of life. Still seems awfully closed and backward though. Will reserve judgment. Plenty of oak/tannin/dark fruit lurking deep below somewhere in there. Will try again in a few. $40 9/05



Spain Other



99 Villa Santa Crianza (Extremadura)

Totally worth $20. Spicy, good flavor. A touch dry. Not bad. Might be better in a few years if mellows out well. 8/02

01 Castell del Remei (Costers Del Segre) Gotim Bru (Catalonia)
Fruity, medium bodied, ready and easy to drink up right now. Cost $11 (worth $15). 6/05


02 Castano Solanera Viñas Viejas (monastrell/cabernet 65/35)

Synthetic? Very full fruit, powerful but just uncultured—but really, I don’t know that ever had this much fruits for $12 (besides Australians). The fruit it is good, rewarding, tasty. Just an imbalanced, cherubic little wine.  Perhaps it could improve over 5-10 years.  Cost $12 (worth $16). (RP ?89) 7/05


03 Viña Honda Tinto
Hey, this is actually pretty decent for $11. Light, drinkable, fruity. 3/05





NV Ximenez Asuncion

I really do not like this flavor. Maybe it’s me? I will have to have more sherries and figure this out. All I can say is I can’t drink any more of this. $15/500cc 12/05



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