Rioja and Ribera del Duero, excellent vintages in 2010

VintagesThis week Appellations of Origin Rioja and Ribera del Duero have made public the status of the vintage 2010. In both cases it was considered that 2010 should be considered “excellent.”

The rating of the vintage is done after putting controls on young wines of each appellation, by the respective Control Board. These young wines that already are on sale, can at the same time predict the average quality of the Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva wines which will come out in the next years.

In Rioja, the Denomination of Origin covers an area of 100 km. long by 40km. maximum wide, that is, a lot of land. Each of the 3 Subareas (Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa) has a very different type of soil, and climates (going though the Mediterranean to continental), so the conditions have not been the same for all, neither can wine come out equal. Another thing is the case of very large production wineries that buy grapes throughout the whole D.O., so they are able to maintain a standardized flavor year after year.

We return to the classic debate about the validity of the myth of vintages, especially in countries like Spain with DO’s so extensive, and having in mind that the rating agency depends on those wineries …
On the other hand, if malicious, we could think on the commercial advantage of a good vintage in times of crisis.

In the case of Ribera del Duero, that feeling is accentuated because this is the second vintage in a row with a rating of “excellent” after 2009. In fact, after the official presentation of the score, has been ensured that “although it seemed impossible, the vintage 2010 will be even better than 2009.”

José Trillo, Chairman of the Denomination of Origin, said: “This is the miracle of the Ribera. So a year like 2010, where late frosts in May, rain and wind in full bloom in June , did not auger anything positive ,it also brought us and early summer and fall with an optimal temperature and that has left us with a historical and abundant harvest. “

Anyway, now is your turn. Taste wines and decide whether it is true that this vintage is better than the previous one or not, so we’ll recommend 3 young wines of 2010 vintage for you to compare:

  • Milflores 2010: An excellent spring wine, tasty, fruity, lively on the palate. A Rioja wine from Bodegas Palacio for everyone’s taste and wit a good price.
  • Murmurón 2010: A young wine from the Bodega Sierra Cantabria, fresh and elegant in equal measure. Good wine.
  • Quintanal 2010: We go to the Ribera del Duero. Although its best known wines are crianzas, there is a range of young wines that are worth to consider. This Quintanal Roble 2010 is a good mix of fruit and wood scent, making it perfect for any meal.

Donald Trump, new Moët&Chandon owner

Donald TrumpAmerican billionaire Donald Trump has acquired, in a lightning operation, 99% of the shares of the House of Moët & Chandon Champagne cellar.

Apparently, the new owner´s purpose is to transplant the vines, from Champagne to Napa Valley, so the famous champagne cellar would be the first winery to “physically” change his nationality.

This is not such a new idea, before that Mr. Trump had bought a French château to move it, stone by stone, to Las Vegas. Now that seems a more delicate operation, because they are living plants that require time to adapt to a different climate and weather conditions.

To arrange the transfer, Donald Trump has purchased a fleet of sailing boats, because, according to the winemakers, “the vibration of the engines of a conventional ship or plane could affect plants. “

The 2011 vintage, then, could be the first producin’ a Moet Chandon Rose Magnum produced in Napa Valley, United States, instead of Champagne, France.

Spring in the Vineyard

SpringThey say spring is the season of love, passion, summer, autumn and winter melancholy solitude. However this doesn’t work the same way in the vineyard. 
In the vineyards seems that spring is the season of melancholy, because it produces one of the most curious phenomena: “vine’s tears”.

The vine goes back into activity as temperature increases. The water recirculates through the plant’s root system, and when it gets to where it has been pruned, it pours outside.

This phenomenon occurs only about two weeks a year, around this time, because now, of those cuts, new buds will quickly restore the plant’s integrity, and thus the circuit is closed again, no leaks to the outside.

But these are not just a few drops. A young vine can “cry” up to 5 liters of water, drop by drop. And the fields, with the vines mourning, reminds us that life goes by, and it is time to start producing a new crop …
But also to start enjoying the recent past, which is in all its glory, on the shelves of shops and, of course, in Uvinum. We recommend 3 of the most important wines of this year:

A mi manera 2010: Benjamin Romeo is one of the great winemakers that Spain brings to the world stage. But instead of working exclusively expensive wines, those who give fame, he has put his effort and work to create “My Way”, an excellent wine for all budgets.
Quintaluna 2010: Is a White and one of the youngest of Ossian Winery, which already produces a white wine aged in barrels (Ossian). This Quintaluna 2010, also made from Verdejo grapes, presents a formidable price (4 times cheaper than its older brother), and being just launched, shows its entire splendor.
Reymos: A sparkling wine that can’t be missed. Made from Muscat, with flavors of caramel and raisins, is exceptional for dessert even though purists may not be happy. Very interesting

Wine Gift

Wine giftGift wine is a great idea. I say this because … Today is my birthday! Yes, I know that this is not my personal blog, but in recent days there has been people to the one I have made the same comment: I know you like wine, I’d give present you a bottle, but I’m afraid you might not like it. In other words, that is the typical fear of not succeeding.

For all who are in that situation and don’t know what wine to choose, here are some suggestions with some of the best wines to give as a present. Also, if you are concerned about the budget, you can select them by price:

  • Gift came to 10 €: Having a budget is no reason for not being able to make a glamorous gift. Marques de Riscal offers the Marqués de Riscal Villa Montico 2008, Verdejo with 90 points in the Penin Guide. The, “Habla del silencio 2008” is the best seller in red wines. There must be a good reason, right?

 

  • Wine Gift 10 to 20 €: From 10 to 20 € we find most of the best quality white wines, so they are the best if your “gift” goes to a true wine lover. The Coma Alta is one of them, such a different white wine from anything else made in Spain, and they will love it. Among red wines, you can choose between most of the best “Crianzas” of Spain, as Corimbo or the Resalte Crianza 2005, the best Spanish wine from 2010 for Wine & Spirits.

 

 

  • Giving wine of more than 50 €: The easy thing would be to go up to infinity, but the truth is that without spending more than 50 € you can have one of the best wines of Spain. Here I recommend the Contino Graciano 2004. Graciano grape is one of our most difficult, but brighter when it’s developed alone. This rarity of just over € 50 but it is exceptional.

 

And, if you have no limit, I propose what only the most demanding of palates can afford: spend more than 300 Euros in a Spanish white wine, the Enate Uno Chardonnay 2003. Of course; those lucky enough say the outlay is worthwhile.

Italian wines

Italian winesItaly is a country with one of the most important cultures of wine, making it one of the leading producers in the world of wine. The Italian wines enjoy of a well deserved reputation as well as the Italian wineries, and have a large and extensive wine territory. Wine in Italy date back to the time when Mycenaean Greek stepped on the land of Romulus and Remus, it was them who introduced viticulture in 800 BC But it was not until 200 BC, when the wine started to gain leverage in the Roman Empire. Even the emperor Domitian destroyed some vineyards to replace it with food crops back on 90 BC.

Italian wine history 

At that time wine was forbidden outside the Roman Empire, in what they called “Roman law.” This led to a significant raise of the wine trade. Over the years and while the Roman Empire and its laws weakened, viticulture began to expand in Europe, especially in Gaul (France). 

In modern Italy, its vineyards flourished as never before, becoming the largest producer of wine, but the reign was soon taken by France, shifted in the recent years. Today Italy is the second largest producer, its wines are world-famous, as well as wineries and all the culture that exists around the wine. 

Italian wines, appellations, grape varieties and strain

Italy is divided administratively into 20 regions, and they all produce wines. Its territories include the Alps, extensive coastal areas (as a peninsula), high mountains and hills, different climates and soils, make the perfect setting for wine in all its forms. 

In Italy there are 4 types of designations of origin, 2 called VCPRD (quality wines produced in a specific region or regions), which are the Denomination of Controlled Origin (DOC) and Denomination of Origin Controlled and Garantita (DOCG). Y 2 called table wines: Vino da Tavola e Indicazione Geographic Tipica (IGT) 

According to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MIRAF), in Italy there are 350 varieties of grapes, but actually they assure that there probably are about 500. This large number makes the range of wines be extraordinary. However, some of them were highlighted by fame and quality. Among them we can distinguish the better strains of Italy:

Sangiovese (red) found in larger quantities in the Tuscan countryside.
Verdicchio (white) found mostly in Marches. 
Nebbiolo (red) found mostly in Barolo and Barbaresco. 
Trebbiano (white) found mostly in Lazio and Abruzzo. 
Montepulciano (red) found mostly in Abruzzo. 
Dolcetto (red) found mostly in Piedmont. 
Moscato (white) found mostly in Piedmont. 
I will recommend 2 very special wines from Italy, so you’ll have the complete picture and see what you think … 

Gaja Barbaresco 2006: Barbaresco is one of the most interesting and a recognized type of wine in Italy, and Gaja winery is probably the best to makes it. This Gaja 2006 is spectacular, and shows the best of the Nebbiolo grape. 

Canti Pinot Grigio Rosé Brut: Sparkling wine made from the distinctive ‘pink Pinot Grigio. Amazing and so very different from anything you’ve ever tryed. And the price, is unbeatable. Cheer up!

 

Zinfandel, the mysterious grape

ZinfandelZinfandel strain is mostly situated in California, a place that was considered the cradle of Zinfandel for a long time, but modern studies revealed that this grape has Croatian and Italian ancestors, a fact which increased the mystery of its origin discussed from the eighteenth century as well as the provenance of the strains name (Zinfandel), for which there isn’t a reliable version.

After the great depression suffered in the United States, as well as the famous restriction, many vineyards on the West Coast bet on this particular strain, with California as their main home until today. Almost 80% of wines is produced from this strain at the valleys of California. Italy is the second largest producer of Zinfandel, but we must say that these harvests are relatively young compared to the Americans. Also found in Croatia and Crljenak Kaštelanski where they presume to be the mother of Zinfandel. 

Knowing a Zinfandel 

The Zinfandel is a vigorous strain and warm climates are the best home, an extremely hot climate tends to fade the grape quickly. Zinfandel clusters are large and tight, a fact which accelerates ripening. Another point to note is the high sugar content, which is why it is widely used in developing the so-called “dessert wines” .

Zinfandel wines are often criticized of its high alcohol content, a fact that makes a “hot” wine, but today with new winemaking techniques makes possible to lower the grades. For example if a Zinfandel has tannins, comes to be 15 degrees of alcohol. Another detail that makes changing the flavors of Zinfandel wine is the aging which affects mainly the flavor.

Zinfandel wine in the nose can show hints of apple and tobacco, if the wine is ripe enough, you can taste aromas of strawberries, blackberries and cherries. 

The perfect pairing 

Zinfandel wine has the capacity to combine with spice and seasoning dishes, from stews of meat, caviar, seafood to strong cheeses and a special mention for the food that contains plenty of pepper (paprika or chili). It can also be combined with dry fish, cooked fish in lemon, sushi etc… 

To enjoy all the qualities of this wine is important to know the optimum temperature and this wine is enjoyed at a temperature of 14 degrees, although if they are accompanying heavy foods we suggest one more degree.

Want to try the Zinfandel? From here we recommend 2 easy wines to find, both of Ravenswood Winery: 

Ravenswood Vintners Blend 2007 Zinfandel, a wine with the warm of the Zinfandel is colored by the other grapes from which it is assembled. Ideal for a start. 

Ravenswood Zinfandel 2007: Once you’ve tried the Blend, it’s time to discover the Zinfandel alone, and that’s what this 100% Zinfandel wine is, you’ll love it…

Spanish Superstars 2011: Grandes Pagos from Spain

WineRepresentatives of the Grandes Pagos wineries of Spain (Grand Spanish Domains), from various regions, traveled to the restaurant Per Se in New York for the 1st seminar of wine tasting made by the association in the United States. With expansive views of Columbus Circle and Central Park as a background, the restaurant Per Se owned by Chef Thomas Keller hosted the event, aimed at introducing the group and show the excellence of the Spanish Pago wineries. 

The moderator Doug Frost, along with prestigious Spanish winemakers as Carlos Falco, winemaker of Pagos de Familia Marques de Griñón, Victor de la Serna of Finca Sandoval, and Javier Zaccagnini from Aalto, led to more than 50 prominent members of industry and trade press in New York at a seminar where 11 wines were tasted

Wines from Spain is pleased to present Grandes Pagos Association of Spain to highlight the collective effort of Spanish wineries to achieve the common goal of recognition,” said Katrin Naelapaa, director of Wines from Spain USA. “The extensive knowledge of Doug Frost and the other speakers were a great value to publicize the high quality of Spanish wines.” 

After the seminar, the guests went to the main hall of the restaurant to taste the wines of the twenty wineries belonging to this association. Attendees also enjoyed a variety of appetizers prepared by award-winning kitchen team of Per Se, who has received three Michelin stars since 2006. More than 85 leading members of the press and industry in New York like Tom Matthews, Wine Spectator executive editor, Michael Schachner, editor of the section of Spanish wines from Wine Enthusiast, Kristen Wolfe-Bieler, editor of Beverage Media, and Josh Greene, editor of Wine & Spirits Magazine attended the event. 

Participating wineries: Aalto, Abadia Retuerta, Alonso del Yerro, Bodega del Jardín, Calzadilla, Can Rafols dels Caus, Cérvoles, Dehesa del Carrizal, Enrique Mendoza, Fillaboa, Finca Sandoval, Finca Valpiedra, Gramona, Luna Beberide, Manuel Manzano, Mas Doix, Mauro, Maurodos, Mustiguillo, Pago de Vallegarcía, Pagos de Familia Marqués de Griñón, Recaredo and Secastilla.

Pinot Noir, an elegant grape

Pinot Noir grapesOriginal Pinot Noir wines come from the city of BurgundyFrance. It is one of the grapes with more importance in the preparedness of champagne and other sparkling wines, as well as a solo wine variety. Many of the most famous and expensive wines are made from the Pinot Noir.

This strain is as capricious as excellent in taste and elegance, as it is almost developed exclusively in cold climates, highlighting its production in countries like France, Spain, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and the region of California. The Pinot Noir has small berries, soft flesh and a purplish black. 

More about Pinot Noir: 

Pinot Noir wines are undoubtedly fine wines and tend to have a structure where the tannins highlight. It has a very subtle flavor in the mouth, fresh and fruity nuances, with an acidity that keeps it “alive”, without being aggressive on the palate: a good bouquet, in the end.

The nose – the Pinot Noir wine is one of the most aromatic of all the strains, a fact to add to its excellence. Immediately jumps to your nose the berry aromas such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, plums and cherries. We can also distinguish aromas of leather, licorice and violet, these last aromas are given when wines are aged in oak. And we can reduce primary flavors such as black currant and truffles.

Sight: Pinot Noir has a unique color, featuring a slightly opaque red brick, with a luminous glow unique among all wines. Like almost all the wines, the color changes with the ageing, if a young Pinot Noir is red ruby or purple; an 8 or 10 years old wine will show an ocher orange color.

The perfect pairing

Pinot Noir wines are perfect with poultry such as chicken, goose or duck, especially if they are prepared with spiced herbs and baked; it is also a fancy ally of semi-hard cheeses. Pinot Noir wine can be perfectly paired with fishes such as tuna and salmon, and some freshwater fish, always prepared with grace or steamed. Always remember that the wine should not overshadow the food and vice versa. 

Pinot Noir wine should be served at room temperature between 14 and 15 degrees. If the wine is over 8 years the ideal temperature is 15 degrees and sometimes depending on the marriage, at 16 degrees. 

If you want to try the excellence of the Pinot Noir, we suggest 3 different wines who will help you learn all about this grape: 

  • Codorniu Pinot Noir Rosse: A pink champagne made exclusively from Pinot Noir, which combines the freshness of the cava and the mineral character of the Pinot Noir. It’s Excellent. 
  • Nicolas Potel Chambertin Grand Cru 2006: Premier Cru Burgundy, Pinot Noir to appreciate as their interpretation of the grape it in Burgundy. An essential one.
  • Enrique Mendoza Pinot Noir 2006: Aldo Pinot Noir grapes are used to cold weathers, in Alicante Enrique Mendoza has achieved this marvelous wine. Different. 

What do you say? What is the last interesting Pinot Noir that you have tryed?

5 Sparkling wines for Valentine

Love's dinnerValentine’s Day is the date for celebrating love. If you have a partner this is the day to say “I love you” in a special way. If not, it can be the perfect opportunity to “go” for that special person.
What it is clear is that if there is a type of wine especially associated with love, that would be sparkling wine. So, to all who will be celebrating Valentine’s Day, here we suggest 5 sparkling wines to help you on Valentine’s Day success: 

 

  • Sumarroca Brut ReservaSumarroca Brut Reserva: Sumarroca has gone from being a family business to develop many of the best sparkling wines. In addition, they strive to explore the possibilities of each grape, selling a wide range of varietal wines really excellent value for money.
  • Allegro Gramona Brut Reserva: One of the most important wineries in the world in 2010, its sparkling Allegro is a clear indication of wineries quality 
  • Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs 2000: Gloria Ferrer is one of the most worldwide recognized sparkling wineries of the United States. The Blanc de noirs is a white sparkling made with red grapes, smooth but with a very strong taste in the mouth. 
  • Nicolas Feuillatte Blue Label Brut 2000Moinetto Il Moscato 2000. It’s quite difficult to choose between a Prosecco and Moscato. Not only because the quality of the Muscat, but also its originality adds up a great valued here. A good Moscatto to toast for love. 
  • We have to go through France – we heve not forgotten. France is an essential reference on sparkling wines, but this is a special day and everything is permitted, even to forget the classic brands (GH Mumm, Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot), and opt for an “author’s sparkling” of a winery with a limited production scale and more personal: Nicolas Feuillatte Blue Label Brut 2000 is a Champagne for you to discover the meaning of privacy in the production of sparklings – hopefully not just that. 

In Uvinum, we bet on love, and we recommend these 5 sparkling wines. Which would you choose?

Valentine Gifts (last)

CorkscrewToday we finish our (bizarre) collection for Valentine’s Day gifts with a few “special” accessories that will turn your special day into a nightmare full experience. And we have some gifts that will test your love, take a look: 

We begin with this heart corkscrew, classic style, suitable only for experts (and lovers without much thirst). Opening corks whith this system is not the easiest way but it comes useful with  long corks – once experienced.

Foil CutterIn second place, we see a heart-shaped foil cutter. The attachment itself is not commonly used at home. Who has not cut the capsule with a knife or the tip of the corkscrew? But at a dinner as special as it often Valentine’s is, not anything goes, and we need  elegance and romance even in the smallest details. And that is what this foil cutter gives, a nice touch.

In any case, the foil cutter is steel made, although hardly practical, at least has  a certain style. Metal accessories have it.

And we’ve reached to our ultimate accessory for Valentine’s Day. And in this case the premise of making it in metal to enhance elegance was not exactly what they decided to do. Because our ultimate accessory is a wine bottle cover, yes, a bit customized for the date it is held:

Wine bottle coverThis is specially maded for Valentine, but it could also be smart for a devoted fan of Park Guell, isn’t it?

This is the determinant accessory, not so much because it allows the bottle to be  decorated in a romantic way, but because, looking at the bottle, you may manage to stop having a partner… definitely.

In any case, if you want to enjoy a full Valentine, we’ve left a few accessories to complete the day. You only need to buy the right wine for the occasion. And above all, from Uvinum, we encourage you to celebrate with enthusiasm, good company and a glass of wine.Cheers!