Posts Tagged ‘Tempranillo’

Aging Finely: Fifty Years of Conde Valdemar Rioja

In Drinking, Tempranillo on September 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

“Aged like a fine red wine…”

That is a beautiful statement but one that rarely is practiced.

The reason is twofold.  First, troche almost all wine purchased in the US is consumed within three days.  Second, most wineries don’t make age-worthy wines anymore.

But some do — and Conde de Valdemar is one of them.

Based in Rioja, Conde de Valdemar helped pioneer the now traditional aging process of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva.  These titles are legal designations of how long the wines have been aged, in this case up to 43 years (see below).

Stop for a second.  Think of what is waiting for you: a living, delightful, wonderfully tasty piece of history secreted away in a glass bottle.  Another human being four decades ago labored to give you this gift (or, upon finishing your last bottle fifty years from now, re-read this little epistle).  In our current age of constant electronic contact it’s worth stopping, pondering, and drinking one of wine’s greatest pleasures: the ability to age finely.

In order to make wines that can last over four decades you need two things.  First, exceptional fruit that creates intensely alive and realized wine.  Second, continuous reinvestment in the winery.  In this day and age it would be considered business suicide to create a product that won’t return an investment for a single quarter of the fiscal year, let alone 10, 20, 30 or 40 years.  Yet this is what Martinez Bujanda family, owners of Conde de Valdemar, have done and continue to do.  For over a century they have farmed their own vineyards, continuously innovated in the winery, and aged their wines.

The results go beyond “great” wine.  They are legendary.

We start with the Crianza.  Some people, because this wine is “too cheap”, will pass right over this beauty.  And that’s fine — it just leaves more for the rest of us.

The 2009 opens with the boisterous expression of young and pure Rioja: sweet red cherries, hints of sweet tobacco and mocha, hints of vanilla, sous bois, and tertiary aromas around its soft and silky edges.  It has already been aged for 16 months in cask making it ripe with a powerful, meaty palate, fruit-driven finish, and smooth texture that is ready to drink now.

It’s powerful enough to enjoy as a cocktail, supple enough to pair with everything from fish to steak, and age-worthy enough to last your lifetime (see my comments below this offer).  Buy a case so you can consume it within three days, three months, three years, or up to thirty years from now.  You won’t regret it.

Please contact us regarding pricing and availability.


Simple Actions, Tasty Pleasures: Pontecilla Tempranillo

In Drinking, Tempranillo on February 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Watering vines, troche ordering a book on viticulture, ed calling a client in another country, medicine filling a tractor with gasoline, turning on the lights – all simple actions, simple yet vital to all wineries.

And all but impossible in Franco’s Spain.

Franco, dead near forty years, is now just a distant memory to most Spaniards.  But one glance at a Spanish vineyard provides a dramatic testament to his fascist regime.  The vineyard of San Gregorio in Calatayud, Spain, is evidence of his brutal past.

San Gregorio is sparse, desert like; its vines spread far apart from one another in order to maximize water absorption.  The vines are exiguous, throwing very little foliage, using most of their resources underground, searching out water and minerals with their roots.  They create a vast and desolate landscape that tells a story of bare survival in primitive conditions. 

Planted over half a century ago, during the height of Franco’s repressive policies, San Gregorio’s vines have never seen electricity or running water.  Modern training and trellising methods were never implemented here – the vines cannot be farmed mechanically.  No water and no electricity is a hardship but, worst of all for those who farm these vines, there was no access to customers. 

Now that is all changing.  Opening Spain to the European Union began the slow process of change through contact with the rest of Europe but especially, America.  Americans, probably from experiences with old vine Zinfandel, have great respect for long planted vineyards like San Gregorio.  Greeting Americans as heroes for their willingness to work with farmers in remote areas like Calatyud, we are the ultimate beneficiaries of their hard work in the form of dramatically tasty wine such as Pontecilla!

Pontecilla is pure old vine Tempranillo.  Offering a pronounced bouquet of wild black currants, clove, incense and Asian peppercorns on the nose the palate is bold, with saturated black cherry flavors intermingling with a piquant touch of tannins on the back of the palate.  Low yielding Tempranillo made in this modern style takes on a cream like, demitasse and crème de cassis finish.  It is an example of the unexplored beauty to be found in back country Spain.    

Fresh, vibrant and robustly powerful, Pontecilla exemplifies the new partnerships reinvigorating the beautiful old vine vineyards of Spain.  Cheers!

2008 Pontecilla Tempranillo

Suggested List Price:  $10.99

Special price via this email:  $6.99

Every good Spanish wine needs a Spanish Feast!  Here are some tasty menu ideas to stimulate your drinking!

Julia’s Nuts!

Sometimes Potatoes Get Angry

Underwater Cockroaches!

Red, Hot & Blue Burgers

We will be tasting this wine Friday and Saturday.

All orders must be secured with a name, credit card number, and phone number.  All orders will be available at the time of purchase.  Half case (5%) and full case discounts (10%) do apply to this special offer.

When the wine is ordered your credit card will be charged.  The wine will be held in climate controlled conditions until you are ready to pick it up, free of charge.  Offer is good while supplies last.