Friday, April 06, 2007

Rare Wine Co.

Today, Blake Murdoch from the Rare Wine Co. came for one of his semi-annual visits. The Rare Wine Co. is one of the US's most interesting importer of fine wines; completely dedicated to mostly elite, cutting-edge estates with unique personalities. The selection of wines from this company is just about unequaled. They have a stable of some of the most sought-after wineries from Italy, Spain and elsewhere.

Take a look at their web-site (see my links section) and get on their mailing list - it is worth the read even if you cannot afford the wines!

This is what we tasted...

Quinta do Feital "Aurautus" Alvarinho/Trajadura, 2005

  • This is an estate that was created with the intention of making the finest Albarino, but the finest vineyards are actually located across the boarder in Portugal - and that is where winery owner, Marcial Dorado, located his winery. With vineyards over 70 years of age, mostly ungrafted, he has some of the most intense Alvarinho around. He was denied the Vinho Verde appellation name because his wines were too good!
  • Goldish in color - this wine spends an extra year in barrel being stirred. Wild yeast all the way.
  • Produced organically on hillside vineyards that are primarilly schist.
  • Much different style than the Rias Baixas - it is not all up-front and high in acid - this wine is laid back and quite intense all the way through to the finish.
  • He harvests very healthy fruit and allows for some skin contact
  • Overall the wine has great minerality and freshness - very good

Tommaso Bussola Valpolicella Classico, 2005

  • One of the super-stars of the zone
  • This is the "BG" Valpolicella, but BG is no longer being used
  • Deep ruby color with a black core
  • Smoke and Spices; ultra ripe raspberry fruit
  • Luscious style with a light feeling on the palate - bright almost candied fruit on the palate
  • Fades a touch on the mid-palate and through the finish
  • A good wine, but I'm a bit confused here about whether I like it or not??

Puech Chaud (by Rene Rostaing) Coteaux Languedoc, 2004

  • Ultra deep/vibrant purple color
  • Big crushed berries on the nose - super deep flavors
  • Smooth palate quality with almost a velvety feel
  • Smoked, deep, super-ripe blackberries on the finish
  • Elegant finish with some tannins
  • Grapes are partially destemmed, and there is an extended maceration time, which accounts for the color and fruit explosion
  • Quite good!

Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell Jumilla, 2005

  • From a very high elevation vineyard, comprised of sand and ungrafted vines (30-60 years old)
  • 30 day maceration and Burgundy barrels
  • Deep red/black core of color
  • Slightly muted nose, but black licorice and crushed berries comes through
  • Burst of black pepper on the palate
  • Smooth, juicy with great length
  • Ripe tannins - medium-long finish
  • Great Value!

Atalaya de Golban Ribera del Duero, 2004

  • this winery is located at the far eastern edge of the zone at an elevation of 500m
  • harvest tends to be 3 weeks later than most of the rest of the zone
  • made from 100% Tempranillo - 60-100 year old ungrafted vines
  • was 2004 Winery of the Year in Spain
  • buy all their barrels from Cht. Haut-Brion
  • this wine is BLACK! with just a hint of cherry-red at the edges
  • roasted berry flavors with very deep flavors and aromas
  • rich and elegant, very plush on the palate
  • very elegant finish - this wine is a winner

Palacios Remondo Rioja "La Montessa", 2003

  • only prominent estate in Rioja Baja - wine is estate bottled
  • organic production since 2001
  • deep red/brick color
  • produced from a single vineyard planted inthe 60's - hillside composed primarily of chalk and in one of the driest places in Spain
  • 40% Tempranillo, 40% Garnacha, 10+10% each of Mazuello and Graciano
  • sweet rich and ripe fruits on the nose
  • ultra smooth and complex flavors across the palate
  • longish, elegant finish with great balance - drinking very well right now

Descendientes de Jose Palacios Bierzo "Petalos", 2005

  • deep, black core of color with purple on the edges
  • made from purchased and rented vineyards
  • far western edge of the zone - all from hillside vineyards composed of schist
  • Bio-dynamic farming since the winery's beginning
  • big nose with some earthy sweet manure scents and loads of smoky ripe black berries
  • smooth across the palate with dark cherry dominating
  • chalky tanins - good fruit through the finish
  • less than one-ton-per-acre yields from the vineyards

Alvaro Palacios Priorat "Les Terrasses", 2004

  • all north facing vineyards - this maintains some freshness in the wines from this extreme region
  • Bio-dynamic since 2001 - 50 acres planted
  • deep black core of color with neon purple edges
  • really smooth and ripe - big profile on the palate
  • big sort of wine with really deep fruit flavors and some ripe tannins
  • great length
  • 30% Garnacha, 60% Carinena, 10% "others" including some Cabernet Sauvignon

Elio Perrone Moscato d'Asti "Sourgal", 2005

  • la-di-da is this wine good!
  • 10,000 case production
  • 5% alcohol and a slight frizzante
  • north facing vineyards - they tend to be less expensive with lots of older vines that are not thought worthy of replanting
  • averages over 30 years on the age of the vines
  • nose is filled with delicious scents of Spring peaches, allspice, peanut butter & jelly and honey (it really does!)
  • good acidity - quite delicate on the palate - not overly sweet - balanced
  • finish is quite elegant
  • Quite delicious

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