A special lunch was held in conjunction with a short term return to Santa Barbara by Monica Nogues of Think Global Wines. Monica lives in Spain and has an import business located here. Many of the wines she imports come from top producers in Rioja, especially R. Lopez de Herdia whom she has a direct connection with. She also imports fine Cavas from Mestres among other wines.
This is the 3rd event scheduled around Monica`s short visit. All have been exceptional. Each have been held in different restaurants, Opal, Santa Barbara Club and now Ca Dario for this one.
I emailed notes to my list of recipients and posted notes on the recent SB Club luncheon on Wine Beserkers under the thread entitled "22 Spanish wines for lunch w/ 89`/94` Unico and 94` LDH Tondonia GR as stars ".
With fine Italian cuisine, we enjoyed the following wines:
NV MOUTARD BRUT ROSE- as it is so often stated, you can never have enough champagne and in this case, a bottle to kick it off; one of my go to home roses, this fruity rich and lush bubbly has red cherry, red raspberry and strawberry with hints of spice and clove; on this warm summer day, it was not only tasty but refreshing and soothing.
1998 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA VINA TONDONIA BLANCO RESERVA RIOJA- 90% Viura [called Macabeo outside Rioja], 10% Malvasia; this spends 5 years in oak and 5 years in the bottle prior to release; starting with the aromas, it is mineral driven throughout with a fruit profile of peach, apricot and pear; there`s some honeysuckle and ginger that lingers in the background; everything got more expressed with time in the glass including the texture and weight which was light to medium bodied at first evolving to medium to full bodied with time, an interesting transition; impressive white wine.
2016 FRAGA do CORVO GODELLO MONTERREI- 100% Godello; from a very unique labeled bottle [see pic], this was such a treat; the nose reminded a bit of Sauvignon Blanc with some straw and grassy herbal character, but that`s where it ended with a touch of flint coming in, the taste was way different as well with spicy, slightly sweet lemon and honeysuckle; it was quite pleasant and with a good chill, served to also refresh the palate on this warmish day.
2015 CASAL de ARMAN BLANCO RIBEIRO del DUERO- 90% Treixadura, 5% Albarinbo, 5% Godello; again, I`m getting a hit of Sauvignon Blanc with some straw and grassy notes, but this goes beyond with a bit of mint, mild honeysuckle, pear and apple flavours that have a little sweetness; it`s tasty and refreshing, crisp and lightly acidic.
2010 ADEGA FAMILIAR ELADIO PINEIRO FRORE de CARME RIAS BAIXAS- from an intriguing shaped bottle, this was an equally intriguing wine; it was pretty acidic, light weight, tropical, floral and fruity with lemon, kiwi, honeydew melon and "unripe" pineapple; as with some of the previous wines and served with a decent chill, it was crisp and refreshing.
1973 BODEGAS FRANCO-ESPANOLAS BORDON RESERVA RIOJA- absolutely stunning wine; the colour was medium red with no bricking; the red and black fruity nose and taste was more primary than tertiary with accents of clove to add to the red cherry and black raspberry; it got better in the glass and refills proved it; it was elegant and sophisticated; it just reeked royalty, even the label seemed to suggest such; easily the WOTD.
Our last lunch included 22 wines and not one was a Vina Bosconia from Lopez de Herdia which is my fav from the winery. To be sure we had one, I bought the 04` and unaware to me, Monica bought the 05` so we had a perfect comparison of the last 2 vintages released.
2005 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA VINA BOSCONIA RESERVA RIOJA- 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacho, Mazuelo and Graciano; it spent 4 years in barrel and 5 years in the bottle before release; I felt this bottle was pretty tight, especially at first; however the nose had a serious, inviting fruitiness, but the taste had some uncharacteristic wild fruit notes; in time, it opened up and gave more pleasurable traits including a mild spicy, cedar black cherry; it definitely was very complex with a vibrant, youthful energy; it finished on the dry side; I recommend decanting this in advance of pouring at least for the next few years; when I re-read my notes, it appears I`m not embracing this wine enough and that needs to be clarified; this is a serious player in the line of Bosconia simply needing time.
2004 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA VINA BOSCONIA RESERVA RIOJA- Monica stated the Vine Tondonia gets more Tempranillo than this Bosconia which I assume is the same or very similar to the 05` and perhaps all others`; only a years vintage separate the 2 wines, but there is a world of difference IMHO; I love the 04`; it`s got much more fresh fruit with spicy black cherry most prevalent; there`s also some huckleberry, plum and cranberry along with some cedar accents fading in and out; this is a mellow wine with power; it`s in beautiful balance and finishes with bright black fruit delivered in a palate pleasing texture; I have 4 bottles in the cellar and will add more.
2001 CELLER MARC RIPOLL SANS "CLOSA BATLLET" PRIORAT- made from Carinena and Garnacha, [Carignan/ Grenache]; liquorice, talc and blueberries dominate the aromatics and taste profile in this lovely, elegant wine; it has all of the appealing factors with a fine nose, wonderful tasty black fruit, good velvety mouthfeel and a sustained finish; a pleasure to partake.
As always, when I`m in the presence of Monica, it`s a learning experience. She has such a great knowledge of all of Spain not only from a wine standpoint, but from a travel and explore standpoint. Future visits are in the plans and get embellished each time I converse with her.
Please excuse typos and unintended auto-corrects