Saturday, 20 April 2013

Losada 2008

Losada 2008
Grape varieties: 100% Mencía
Geographical Origin: D.O. Bierzo
Producer: Losada Vinos de Finca

Mencía is a fragrant grape variety with fruit that can offer gorgeous freshness, yet these qualities are too often blitzed by new oak. Losada 2008 is a lovely example of what can be achieved in Bierzo so long as that use of oak is controlled.

It offers us fresh cherries on the nose with just a hint of toast from the oak and a definite menthol lift that’s so characteristic of good-quality Mencía. In the glass it shows a deep, dark core with a youthful, purple rim.

On that palate those cherries provide a definite crunch that looks towards the Atlantic rather than the warm, jammy fruit of other more Mediterranean-oriented Mencías. The mouth-feel is very compact, with a rustic hint to the tannins.

Losada 2008 might be slightly two-dimensional in its effort to preserve fruit and a full body, but it does highlight varietal typicity and dodges that afore-mentioned oaky bullet. This is excellent midweek drinking. Be warned: it does throw a fair old amount of sediment.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Viña Real Gran Reserva 1991

Viña Real Gran Reserva 1991

Grape varieties: Graciano, Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Garnacha

Geographical Origin: D.O. Rioja

Producer: Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CUNE)

On opening this Viña Real, the first impression is that it needs a good decant. Cedar wood and cigar box dominate on an initial sniff – a typical indicator of classical Rioja. Fruit is itching to get out from behind; time and air will facilitate the process.

A Gran Reserva that might be over twenty years old, it still shows a dark core with only slight bricking at the edge. In other words, it’s here for the long haul. Following the afore-mentioned decant, an elegant, dagger-like thrust of ethereal fruit emerges. Never a mouth-filling fruit bomb, its tart purity dances over the tongue.

This is high-class stuff, layer upon layer of complexity building on the palate. There are hints of orange peel and savoury, meaty notes of beef stock, all combined with grippy tannins that just beg for a steak alongside. As for the length, well I can still taste it a couple of days later!

The 1991 vintage is obviously slap-bang in the middle of its drinking window, although that window’s going to be open for a fair time yet, say 30 years! If you can’t wait so long, it’s terrific right now.