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Vintage Chart.

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Madrid, Spain

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*Viña Ardanza Reserva 1989 DOC Rioja (Rioja Alta, SA)

One of Spain's top red "reservas". Smooth, but with plenty of body. A good partner for roasts, steaks and stews - but goes nicely with pasta as well.

Deep cherry red color. The aroma's deep and powerful with a spicy complexity. The taste is silky smooth, complex with lots of body and a lengthy finish. A truly fine Rioja. *[$H]
{16 August 1996}

*Alion '92 Crianza DO Ribera del Duero (Bodegas y Viñedos Alion)

An excellent, top quality red which is rated among Spain's best. A beautiful wine, elegant and with body. A perfect partner for beef, lamb, or a fine gourmet cheese.

Made from 100% Tinto Fino. The color is deep, dark cherry red. The aroma's powerful and complex with spice, dark berry fruit, chocolate and more. Extremely fine and smooth taste and a long, long finish. *[$H]
{2 August 1996}

Alquézar 1995 DO Somantano (Bodega Pirineos)

Made from the local Moristel grape and Tempranillo, this is a delightful young wine from the Somantano region. The color is deep cherry red with violet highlights. The aroma is potent and full of blackberry and raspberry fruit and a hint of spice. The taste is pleasant, smooth and fruity.

This is one of the nicest young wines I've tried of late. Serve at 18° C. Goes well with chicken, turkey, tuna and roasts, and should work with pasta as well. *[$L]
{24 July 1996}

Viña Cumbrero, Crianza 91 DOC Rioja (Bodegas Montecillo)

95% Tempranillo plus a bit of Mazuela and Graciano. 12 months in oak and 12 months of bottle ageing before release. Deep, dark cherry red color. The nose is ample, full of red berry fruit and aromatic spicy overtones. The taste is pleasant, tannic and fruity with a good finish. *[$M]
{1 July 1996}

Palacio de Canedo, Crianza 92 DO Bierzo (Prado a Tope)

Made from 100% Mencia, with 8 months in oak and nearly 2 years of bottle ageing. The Mencia grape is a Cabernet Franc clone, typical of the Bierzo and Valdeorras regions. The color is deep cherry red. Aroma is powerful and full of raspberry fruit with herbal overtones. The taste is of red raspberrys, smooth, fun. An enjoyable, pleasant and somewhat different wine that makes for a nice change. *[$M]
{17 June 1996}

Barón de Ley, 1987 Reserva DOC Rioja (Barón de Ley)

Situated in the province of Navarra and inside the Rioja region, Barón de Ley is a chateau style bodega with its own vineyards that surround the winery itself. The wine is a bright cherry-red color of medium depth, and no signs of ageing. The aroma is potent, red fruit with leathery oak overtones. The taste is smooth, pleasant, elegant with a lasting finish. *[$M]
{11 June 1996}

Viña Alberdi, 1991 Crianza DOC Rioja (La Rioja Alta, SA)

Bright cherry-red color. Potent nose with lots of red fruit and quality wood. Good body, pleasant bright taste with red-berry fruit, spice and oak. Long finish. This recent release for La Rioja Alta is good today, and can only improve with a year or so of bottle ageing. *[$M]
{6 June 1996}

Dominio de Ugarte 1993 Crianza DOC Rioja (Herad Ugarte)

Despite two years of ageing - 18 months in american oak plus 6 months of bottle ageing, this is a remarkably young wine. The color is a medium deep cherry red. The aroma is fruity and penetrating. The taste is that of a much younger wine - lots of fruit and only a gentle hint of oak. A wine to enjoy now, but should improve over the next few years. *[$M]
{23 May 1996}

Sangre de Toro 1993 DO Penedés (Miguel Torres)

Made from Garnacha and Cariñena grapes with 6 months in oak. This is a classic Penedés, and available in most parts the world. The color is deep dark-ruby red. The aroma is light, but taste is smooth and powerful, with plenty of body. A good wine to accompany roasts, steaks, stews, etc. *[$M]
{1 May 1996}

*Cosme Palacios y Hermanos, 1992 Crianza DOC Rioja (Bodegas Palacio)

Made from Tempranillo grapes, this is a superb red from Laguardia in the Rioja Alavesa region. The color is a deep, dark cherry red. The aroma powerful and full of ripe berry fruit with an elegant touch of oak. The taste is packed with ripe fruit, spicy vanilla hints and gentle overtones of fine clean quality oak. It's great to drink now, but will continue to improve for a few more years. *[$M]
{24 Apr 1996}

Artadi, 1995 DOC Rioja (Cosecheros Alaveses)

Made from 85% Tempranillo and 15% Viura, this young un-aged wine is made by the "maceración carbónica" method where the grapes are not crushed, and the wine ferments inside the skins. The color is deep purple. The aroma is powerful and full of fruit. The taste is potent, agressive but smooth and clean. There's no oak, as this wine is not oak-aged, so it's a wine to drink now, not to keep for more than 6 months or so. *[$L]
{17 Apr 1996}

Guelbenzu 1993 DO Navarra (Bodegas Guelbenzu)

Made from 50% Tempranillo, 35% Cabernet-Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, this is a good example of the "new" Navarra wines, from small family-style producers. The color is deep, dark-cherry red. The aroma is potent, complex, fruity with earthy tones. The taste is smooth, with earthy-mushroom notes, and potent tanins. A good wine which will get even better with more time in bottle. *[$M]
{3 Apr 1996}

* Augustus Cabernet Sauvignon, 1991 DO Penedés (Cellers Puig & Roca)

Made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot with 6 months in oak (American & French). The color is deep dark-cherry red with a powerful berry-fruit aroma - very much a Cab. The taste is smooth, with plenty of fruit, just a touch of oak and good balance. This is a terrific wine, that probably should be decanted before serving. *[$M]
{10 Mar 1996}

Jean León Reserva 1985 (Jean León)

85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc. Deep dark red color. Aroma is earthy with mushroom accents, dried fruit, elegant. Meaty, velvety smooth taste, well balanced tanins, fruit and oak. Highly recommended, a wine to be enjoyed. *[$M]
{13 Feb 1996}

Protos 1994 D.O. Ribera del Duero (Protos)

This is a "sin-crianza" or young wine with little barrel ageing. Color deep, dark cherry red. Potent aroma with plenty of ripe, red fruit. There's a meaty, almost chewy texture, slightly rough around the edges - not unusual for such a young wine. *[$L]
{6 Feb 1996}

*Remelluri, 1991 Reserva, D.O.C. Rioja (Granja Nrta Sra de Remelluri)

Deep, dark cherry-red color. Powerful ripe fruit aroma, dried prunes and spice. Plenty of body, potent, good tanins and a hint of spice in the finish. This is a splendid wine which drinks well, and will last for a good number of years. *[$M]
{30 Jan 1996}

*Barón de Oña 1989 Reserva, D.O.C. Rioja (Torre de Oña)

Made mainly from Tempranillo with a touch of Mazuelo. The color is deep cherry red, of medium intensity. The aroma shows spice, vanilla and good fruit. This is a big, meaty wine with a good finish. Riojas don't normally require decanting, but it may be a good idea with Barón de Oña, which throws off a bit of sediment. *[$M]
{16 Jan 1996}

Glorioso 1991 Crianza, D.O.C. Rioja (Bodegas Palacio)

Cherry red color, bright with no signs of ageing. Fruity aroma with oak overtones. Good body, pleasant and lots of taste. 100% Tempranillo. *[$M]
{2 Jan 1996}


Blanco 95
DO Bierzo (Prada a Tope)

Here's a young, light, refreshing white wine which does well all by itself. A good summer cocktail, or to combine with snacks or perhaps a salad or light fish meal.

Made from grapes native to the area: 75% Godello & 25% Doña Blanca. THe color's pale golden straw. The aroma is lacking in strength, but it's fresh, fruity with crisp apple tones. The taste is light and crisp with grape and apple flavors predominating. *[$L]
{10 August 1996}

Raimat Chardonnay 1995 DO Costers del Segre (Raimat)

Made from 100% Chardonnay, this is one of many quality varietals produced by the Raimat winery near Lerida.

Color pale golden yellow, bright and sharp. The aroma is fresh with classic tones of fresh apples. The taste is smooth, fruity, thick with sweetish elements balanced by a slightly acidic finish. A first rate Chard. *[$M]
{12 July 1996}

Casta Diva Cosecha Miel, 1993 DO Alicante (Gutiérrez de la Vega)

Cosecha Miel means "honey harvest", and that's not a bad description for this white dessert wine made from Moscatel grapes grown along the Mediterranean coast near Alicante. Bright golden-yellow color. Powerful, complex aroma of Moscatel and herbs. Thick, raisiny and sweet - but not sticky-sweet - this is probably one of Spain's best dessert wines. *[$H]
{19 May 1996}

Txomin Etxaniz 1994 DO Getariako-Txacolina (Txomin Etxaniz)

Made from the local Ondarribi zuri & Ondarribi beltza varieties, this is a perfect example of the Basque country txacoli white wines. The color is pale yellow-gold, the aroma fruity. The taste is light and fruity, while the acidity and a mere hint of fizz balances the slightly sweet nuances. 11% alcohol. Goes well with fish, seafood or fowl. (It may seem unpronouncable, but the "tx" is pronounced like the "ch" in "Charles", so txacoli sounds like "chak-o-lee".) *[$L]
{26 Mar 1996}

Castillo de Liria Moscatel (Gandia Pla)

A white dessert wine from Valencia. Made from Moscatel (Muscat) grape. Bright yellow-gold color. Powerful grapey aroma of pure Moscatel and plums. The taste is clean and full of raisiny fruit, with a good balance between acidity and sweetness. An excellent choice and good value for dessert wine fanciers. *[$M]
{1 Mar 1996}

Blanc Pescador, D.O. Empordá (Cavas del Ampurdan)

Blanc Pescador is a non-vintage, slightly sparkling white from the Costa Brava region north of Barcelona. The color is pale yellow, and the taste dry and pleasant. These wines, known a "aguja" (needle) because of the light sparkle, are light, refreshing and dry enough to enjoy with fish or seafood. *[$L]
{18 Dec 1995}


Castillo de Liria DO Valencia (Gandia Pla)

Made from Valencia's own Bobal grape, this low-priced, non-vintage rosé is indeed a pleasant surprise. The color is pale pink, clean and bright. The aroma is pleasant and fruity. The taste is dry, fresh and quite tasty. *[$L]
{10 Apr 1996}

Jerez (Sherry)

*San Leon DO Jerez (Argüeso)

This is an excellent example of the Manzanilla type of dry sherry. Made by the same process as "fino", the Manzanilla-sherry is produced only in the Sanlúar de Barrameda area around the Guadalquivir estuary. The color is bright, straw-yellow. The aroma is crisp, fresh and slightly saline. It's very tasty, with the characteristic sherry "flor" taste with the typical saline overtones of Manzanilla. *[$M]
{8 May 1996}

Romántico Pedro Ximenez (Bobadilla)

This is a sweet, dark dessert wine made from Pedro Ximenez grapes in the Jerez region. The color is dark black-coffee color. The aroma shows ripe rasins and typical signs of "solera" ageing. The taste, though not particularly complex, is sweet, smooth and most enjoyable. *[$M]
{25 Feb 1996}

Cavas (bubbly)

Freixenet Cordon Negro, D.O. Cava, (Freixenet)

This popular cava in the black bottle is rather well known. There's a hint of ageing, and perhaps a touch of almonds in the aroma. The taste is dry and crisp. A good value from the Freixenet winery. *[$M]

{9 Jan 1996}

Prices: To minimize confusion, and country to country differences, I'll use a Spanish Relative Price (SRP) approach. That is the normal price of the wine here in Spain, expressed in $ USA.
*[$L] = Low (less than $5)
*[$M] = Medium ($5 to $10)
*[$H] = High (more than $10)