September 18, 2009

Rioja Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting
Monday, Sept. 21st
5:30-7:00 PM
Nacho Hererra
Rioja's Bodegas Bretón

Hilton Garden Inn
5 Park Street
Freeport, ME 04032
(207) 865-1433

Please e-mail ( or call (207) 869-4048 to reserve a space(s).

The Wines


Mont-Marcal Cava Brut Rosado 2005 (Penedès, Spain) $19.99 - This has great bubbles! The texture and fineness of them is AWESOME! It's a light ruby color. This has definite notes of strawberries, raspberries, minerals and oranges. 100% Trepat, a Catalan black varietal that makes spectacular rosés! This kicks the butt of many expensive Champagnes at a fraction of the cost! Stephen Tanzer, IWC, 91 points


Can Feixes Bianco Selecció (Penedès, Spain) $16.99 - Fresh and refreshing white made from Cava grapes. Light yellow color. Aromas and flavors of apples, pears and melons with a lot of minerals and lemon zest. This is stony and aromatic - reminiscent of Chablis or wines from Rheingau. Made from the same grapes as Cavas - Macabeo (35%), Parellada, (37%), Chardonnay (18%) and also a touch of Malvasía de Sitges (10%). Parallada grows best in high altitude, gravelly mountain soils and is known locally as "Montonec," grape of the mountain. This wine definitely shows that its grapes are grown in gravelly soils! Stainless steel fermentation. This estate is the northernmost in the Penedès D.O., near the Montserrat pinnacle, which forms Penedès northern border.

Loriñón Rioja Blanco 2006 (Spain) $18.99 - Bodegas Bretón was a pioneer in the production of barrel-fermented, dry whites from 100% Viura. This has a rich texture and it and is quite aromatic! Aromas of flowers, pear, anise and peach. Creamy and lush! Not oaky at all. 100% Viura. Half the wine aged on lees. The barrels were left outside in cold winter temperatures to naturally fine and stabilize the wine. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, "Best Buy Spanish White Wines $20 and Under"


Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero is in northwestern Spain near the Portugal border. The Duero River is the same river that is home to Port in Portugal. It is one of Spain's most esteemed winemaking area.

Dehesa La Granja 2003 (Spain) $26.99 - This is merely a GREAT wine! This has aromas that just WOW you! WOW! Surprisingly "fresh" wine from such a hot vintage ('03 was the heatwave year in Europe). Deep, complex, rich, ever-evolving. Black cherries, blackberries, mocha and chocolate are just the start! I sat around & smelled this for a couple of hours - it just kept coming & coming! Long & rich flavors! Decadent! Supple, integrated tannins. Medium-to-full bodied. Awesome! 100% Tempranillo grapes from the Pesquera clones. Aged 2 years in new American oak barrels & 2 years in the bottle before release. Unfiltered. This has sediment. Food pairing - Meats, a tapas meal, rich mushroom dishes, etc. Drinks well on its own. Stephen Tanzer, IWC, 91 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

Alejandro Fernández and his wife Esperanza Rivera, having created Tinto Pesquera and Condado de Haza in their native Ribera del Duero, looked farther afield in the Spring of 1998. Offered the opportunity to acquire one of Spain's grandest agricultural estates, they purchased the rundown estate bordering the Guareña River in the province of Zamora, in the heart of one of Spain's earliest recognized wine regions. Known during the entire 20th-century as "La GranjaValdeguareña de los Moleros" the 1800-acre ranch had been devoted to the breeding of highly regarded fighting bulls, still in operation at the time of purchase. From the 18th through 19th centuries the estate had been a regionally-dominant producer of wine, evidenced by 40,000 square feet of cellars hand-carved by 125 laborers over 17 years. During that time the local wine producing area was known throughout Spain and Europe as Tierra del Vino (Land of Wine). This is the first vintage of this highly acclaimed wine produced entirely from estate-grown fruit!


Jumilla is near the Mediterranean coast well south of Barcelona, between the coastal plain and La Mancha. It's hotter than Hades here and the soil is mostly sand. This is key - the phylloxera pest won't live in sandy soil. So this area is home to incredibly old vines! This is Spain's most arid wine region (less than 8 inches of rain per year).

Carchelo Monastrell 2008 (Jumilla, Spain) $15.99 - Monastrell is known in France as Mourvèdre and is the dominant grape in Bandol wines (which are produced near the Mediterranean in Provence). This is organically grown Monastrell with a little Syrah. Aromas of black cherries, herbs, smoke, curing tobacco. It's dark, deep and rich with a lot of dark fruit and a spicy finish. Drink now through 2012.


Winemaking in Rioja dates to at least 1063. The King of Navarra and Aragon gave the area official recognition in 1102. Rioja is located south of the Cantabrian Mountains along the Ebro River. The mountains help protect the vineyards from the fierce winds that are typical of northern Spain. Rioja is on a plateau, a little more than 1500 feet above sea level. The area is subdivided into three regions - Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. La Rioja Alavesa and la Rioja Alta, located closer to the mountains, are at slightly higher elevations and have a cooler climate. La Rioja Baja to the southeast is drier and warmer.

This winery is in Rioja Alta.

Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. What do these words mean?

Crianza - wine aged for at least two years, at least one of which was in oak.

Reserva is aged for at least three years, of which at least one year is in oak.

Gran Reserva - wines have been aged at least two years in oak and three years in bottle.

Bodegas Bretón

Bodegas Bretón was founded in 1983. Although of relatively recent origin, Bretón takes a decidedly traditional approach. The Bretón partnership includes a 100-acre estate called Viña Loriñón on the outskirts of Logroño along the south bank of the Ebro River. Also included is the fabulous Dominio de Conté, a textbook 55-acre vineyard on a protected bend of the Ebro near Briones, in the very heart of Rioja Alta. Average vineyard age approaches 40 years - the highest of any major Rioja producer. Crowning Bretón's arrival among Rioja's elite group of estate producers was the first release of Dominio de Conté, from the 1989 vintage, receiving a Gold Medal at Vinexpo 1995.

Loriñón Rioja Crianza 2005 (Spain) $18.99 - Deep, dark red. Aromas of cherries, plums and tobacco (this is a GOOD smell!). Flavors of cherries and plums, plum jam. Juicy texture. Finishes clean with good length. 2005 is an exceptional vintage that has been called, "unprecedented." A classic Rioja Alta blend: 85% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano and 5% Garnacha; aged 14 months in American oak.

Loriñón Rioja Reserva 2003 (Spain) $23.99 - This has that silkiness that comes with bottle age! Aromas of ripe red berries, toast, dark chocolate, and balsamic. Medium-bodied. Soft tannins. Almost juicy! Light and surprisingly crisp for the 2003 vintage (heatwave year in Europe). Aged 19 months in oak.

Loriñón Rioja Gran Reserva Rioja Gran Reserva 2001 (Spain) $39.99 - aromas of spicy cherries, smoke, baking spices, vanilla and balsamic. This is both soft and firm in terms of texture and has a long, long finish. Flavors of ripe berry and cherry fruit, spices, truffles and black pepper. Good acidity. Fine-grained tannins. 85% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo and 5% Garnacha. 225 cases made. Aged 28 months in 225 liter American oak casks and 40 months in the bottle before release. 2001 was an outstanding vintage in Rioja. This will drink well through 2015. Stephen Tanzer, IWC, 90 points

Dominio de Conté Reserva 2004 (Spain) $39.99 - Aromas of plums, cedar, vanilla and balsamic. The fruit is soft with notes of tea. Soft, dusty tannins and a long finish! From a single vineyard on a unique spot near Briones on a bend of the Ebro - this area is a perfect microclimate for ripening Tempranillo. 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano. Aged 18 months in new American oak barriques. This will age well for another 10-15 years. Stephen Tanzer, IWC, 90 points


Alec Cryton said...

Dehesa La Granja 2003 is first vintage made entirely from estate vines, 100% Tempranillo from Pesquera clones. Purity of fruit accompanies generous texture and weight, with excellent balance and expression enhanced by two years in bottle prior to release.I like this wine only with some great Cuban Cigars.

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