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Allozo Crianza 1994
DO La Mancha (Bodegas Centro Españolas)

In recent years the use of quality grapes, modern technology and good barrel ageing has produced some exceptional wines from the traditionally volume production area of La Mancha. "Allozo" took a gold medal at Vinexpo in 1995, and with a bit of ageing shows itself to be a quality red. A medium bodied wine which will go well with roasts and cheese.

Made from Tempranillo grapes with 1 year of barrel ageing and a minimum of 6 months "resting" in the bottle. Deep cherry red color, good depth and bright with just a touch of brick around the edges. Good, penetrating aromas new wood and blackberry fruit. Crisp and fresh on the palate with noticable acidity, good body and balance with ripe berry fruit and spicy overtones. *[$M]
{2 Dec 1997}

Luis Cañas Crianza 1994
DOC Rioja (Luis Cañas)

The Luis Cañas Riojas have done well in recent international wine competitions - especially the '94 crianza. This is a good example of a genuine Rioja Alavesa red. A good value as well - great by itself and just right to go with meats and cheeses.

Deep cherry-garnet color. Good, potent aromas of ripe berry fruit and quality oak. Full bodied (for a Rioja), chewy and tasty, well constructed with superb fruit-tannin balance. A really worthwhile Rioja. *[$M]
{18 Nov 1997}

Mundo de Yuntero 1996
DO La Mancha (Coop. Jesús del Perdón)

Part of a recently introduced line of organically grown wines, the Mundo de Yunteros have been a pleasant surprise, both in Spain and around Europe. A fresh young wine, this will go nicely with pasta, rice and casseroles.

Good dark cherry red color. Aromatic and fruity nose of ripe blackberry fruit. Dry and tasty on the palate, good meaty body and rich tannins. Not just another "organic" wine, but a good one and an excellent value as well. *[$L]
{6 Nov 1997}

Torremorón Crianza 1994
DO Ribera del Duero (Ntra Sra del Rosario)

Over the past years, the amazing popularity of Ribera del Duero wines has pushed prices higher and higher. With '94 considered one of the region's best years ever, it's nice to find a Ribera del Duero "crianza" in the $10 range. A good full-bodied red, just right for roasts and steaks, or a good aged cheese.

Good cherry red color, medium depth still showing signs of relative youth. Potent fruity aromas with gentle overtones of wood and spice. Pleasant palate, smooth, average acidity, not as potent as the aromas might indicate. A good value, ready to drink and should hold up well for 2-3 years. *[$M]
{20 Oct 1997}

Enate Cabernet-Merlot '95
DO Somontano (Viñedos y Crianzas)

The Somontano region has been producing some very interesting wines of late and this attractively priced Cabernet-Merlot is an excellent example of the region's produce. A medium bodied wine, full of taste. Good on its own or to accompany roasts and stews, casseroles, pasta and so on.

Made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes with 6 months of barrel ageing. Medium cherry red color. Delightfully complex, potent aromas of wild berry fruit (goosberry and blackberry) with floral and spice overtones. Smooth, rounded and tasty with good acidity and gentle tannins, it should hold up well for 4-5 years. *[$L]
{2 Oct 1997}

Teófilo Reyes Crianza '94 [Red]
DO Ribera del Duero (Bodegas Reyes)

1994 was an excellent year in many regions of Spain, and many consider it to be one of the best vintages in recent years for both Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Bodegas Reyes is a new winery, but the Teófilo Reyes Crianza '94 is a truly excellent wine - just the thing to enjoy with a roast or steak, and also very nice all by itself. Despite its relative youth, this a wine that needs decanting.

Deep, dark cherry red color. Powerful aromas of red and black berry fruit, nicely balance with the vanilla tones of quality oak. On the palate it's full-bodied, almost chewy with plenty of fruit and gentle woody tones. Not overly acidic, good length and tannic enough to hold up well for several more years. *[$M]
{14 Sept 1997}

Ramón Bilbao Crianza '94
DOC Rioja (Ramón Bilbao)

For Rioja growers, 1994 was a superb year and a good percentage of this harvest will be saved for the top-of-the-line Gran Reserva wines. The available Crianzas like this Ramón Bilbao have been well received. This a typical medium-bodied Rioja, good to go with most meat dishes, cheese, etc.

Garnet color (a little thin) with no visible signs of age. Aromas are gentle, but pleasant: red berry fruit and oak. The palate's better and more intense than the nose with good depth of fruit plus the typical Rioja rustic wood overtones. Slightly "warm" (alcoholic). *[$M]
{14 Aug 1997}

Viña Extrísima, 1991
DO Penedès (Masía Bach)

It's frankly surprising to find an oak aged red wine of this quality in the $5 range. Although it's not printed on the label, Viña Extrísima is apparently a "reserva" grade wine. It certainly exhibits those characteristics, and will go well with most meat dishes, casseroles, and pasta with tomato sauce.

Good clean cherry red color with a touch of brick, medium depth. Aromas of quality oak, cinnamon spice and fine (but not overly potent) fruit. Elegant palate with noticeable oak overtones. Slightly out of balance on the oak side, but an excellent value just the same. The "oakiness" will likely mellow out with a bit more bottle time. *[$L]
{4 Aug 1997}

Raimat Abadía 1994
DO Costers del Segre (Raimat)

Nearly two years ago, we gave Raimat's Abadía 1990 a gold star. This week's selection from the 1994 vintage continues to maintain the same high standard. Smooth, full bodied and elegant and a good wine to go along with meats, stews and casseroles.

Made from estate grown Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 6 months in French oak barrels followed by 12 more in Virginia oak casks. Deep, dark cherry red color. Elegant aromas of ripe red/black berry fruit with quality oak overtones. Well balanced, smooth, full bodied and well rounded taste; showing ripe fruit and gentle woody spice notes. *[$M]
{7 Jun 1997}



Carrasviñas 1996
DO Rueda (Félix Lorenzo Cachazo)

In recent years, the young fruity whites from the Rueda region have made a name for themselves in Spain and around the globe. The Félix Lorenzo Cachazo winery is a modern, family winery making both "Rueda Superior" and "Rueda" grade white. A great "first course" wine to accompany shrimp or marinated salmon.

100% Verdejo grapes (Rueda Superior must be at least 85%) with a pale golden straw color and slightly greenish tints. Good varietal aromas with grassy, floral overtones. Dry, fresh and tasty with a thick, almost buttery palate. Good acidity and balance. *[$M]
{20 Dec 1997}

Muga "Fermentado en Barrica" 1995
DOC Rioja (Muga)

"Fermentado en barrica" means barrel fermented, and Muga's version is an excellent example of this new generation of Rioja whites. A good companion for egg dishes and lighter pastas, this will also do quite nicely as a before dinner aperitif.

Made from mainly Viura with a touch of Malvasia. Golden yellow color. Clean, elegant aromas of bright fruit and gentle oak. Rich, thick and tasty on the palate. Good acidity and fine balance. Highly recommendable. *[$M]
{22 Jun 1997}


Montesierra Rosado 1995
DO Somontano (Bodega Pirineos)

Here's a good bright, medium-dry rosé. A good choice for the appetizer course, this wine will also go nicely with seafood, casseroles or pasta.

Made from Tempranillo, Moristel, Macabeo and Garnacha grapes. The color's a bright, clean strawberry-pink. The aroma is substantial, showing lots of red fruit with flowery-spicy overtones. The taste is smooth, balanced and lasting. *[$M]
{23 Sept 1996}

Jerez (Sherry) & Fortified wines

*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)

Louis de Vernier Brut Nature, '92
DO Cava (Josep Masachs)

Rated "reserva" by the winery - meaning the base wine is barrel aged. A tart, tasty cava that's good as an apetizer and also goes well with meals - in this case the tasting group washed down large quantities of a beautiful seafood rice dish with excellent results.

Made of 60% Parellada and 40% Macabeo grapes. Clean golden color, well supplied with small-medium sized bubbles. Crisp aromas of fruit and yeast with a hint of oak and a pleasant citrus background tang. Dry and tasty on the palate - while the taste is not overpowering, it's clean, with a pleasant, slightly bitterish aftertaste. *[$M]
{6 Jul 1997}

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)

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