Spanish Red Wine
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Spanish Red Wine

The Fifty Best Spanish Red Wine Tasting of 2018

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 15 recent release Spanish red wines with 12 members of our wine judging panel. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the wines were poured into fresh wine glasses from new sealed bottles and served at room temperature. Only ice water and white peasant bread were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded based on a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no bronze medals awarded for this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The appelations are identified for each brand. Prices indicated do not include tax.



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Marqués de Vargas
Vargas Crianza 2014

(Tempranillo / Rioja) $12

Grapes for this 100% Tempranillo wine hailed from vineyards almost 40 years old. Following fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged for 12 months in American and French barrels for 12 months and for an additional 12 months in bottles before being released for sale.

Aroma: Cherry, red plum, soft red raspberry, mild rich strawberry, bell pepper, vanilla, herbs, herbal, coffee grinds, cured meats, very mineral, earthy, heavy oak.
Palate: Cherry, sweet plum, raspberry, stewed berries, vanilla, black tea, lightly-peated, smoky, classic Bordeaux kind of structure, great balance, depth, complex.
Finish: Plum, soft cherry, raspberry, under-ripened peaches, black tea, earthy, port-like, velvety, smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Marqués de Vargas Crianza



Bodegas Portia
Triennia de Portia 2011

(Tempranillo / Ribera del Duero)

Following harvest, grapes for this wine (100% Tempranillo) were fermented and aged in French oak barrels for 10 months and an additional 3 months in American oak barrels before bottling.

Aroma: Bing cherries, red raspberry, blackberry, currant, lime, light crisp juicy red fruit, vanilla, violets, clove, allspice, earthy, smoke, attractive smoky, light wood.
Palate: Bing cherry, black cherry, sweet cherry, blackberry, fresh plum, juicy grape, mint, sage, black pepper, meaty, earthy, oak, tight tannins, very low acidity, well balanced, layered, really improves on palate, rich, expressive.
Finish: Black cherry, cantaloupe, stewed tobacco, oak, very chewy, just right tannins for 10 years of development, big, soft, elegant, love.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Bodegas Portia Triennia de Portia



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Bodegas Luis Alegre
Finca La Reñana Reserva Selección Especial 2012

(Tempranillo / Rioja) $17

For this wine, hand-harvested grapes from 35-40 year old vineyards known for chalky clay soil were fermented, following which the wine was aged in a combination of American and French oak for 17 months prior to bottling.

Aroma: Concentrated cherries, light black cherry, raspberry, burnt plums, licorice, wet stone, complex mineral.
Palate: Black plum, Bing cherries, strawberry taffy, black plum skins, chocolate, chalk, bell pepper, mint, sage, nutmeg, woody, oak, high tannin, medium acidity, balanced, nicely wrapped.
Finish: Raspberry, plum, dried cherries, blueberry, minerals, complex tobacco, tannic.

Gold Medal
Gold medal




Bodegas Luis Alegre Finca La Reñana Reserva Selección Especial



Finca La Estacada
Crianza 2015

(Tempranillo / Cuenca) $7

Grapes for this wine (100% Tempranillo) were harvested from an area around the small pre-Roman town of Ucles. Following fermentation, the wine was aged in oak barrels for 12 months before bottling.

Aroma: Cherries, black cherry, plums, raspberries, blackberry, blackcurrant, currants, apricots, grapes, lively young fruit, cherry Twizzlers, spicy plum, dried figs, light tobacco, pencil lead, tannins, rich.
Palate: Black cherry, cherry, plum, sweet berries, stewed berry, strawberry shortcake, watermelon, herbal, bell pepper, mocha, woody, oak, wet stone, low acidity, textured, lovely all through, dances on the palate.
Finish: Black cherry, ripe strawberry, plum, raspberry, complex lemon, citrus, subtle vanilla, light tobacco, chewy, flavorful, delicious, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Finca La Estacada Crianza



Bodegas Luis Alegre
Parcela N.5 2014

(Tempranillo / Rioja) $35

This wine was made from hand-harvested Tempranillo grapes grown in a 45-year-old vineyard with a climate influenced by nearby salt-water lakes. Following fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak for 14 months and received another 6-8 months of bottle aging prior to release.

Aroma: Cherry, raspberry, red currant, peach, stewed berries, raisins, toffee, orange peel, dried herbs, mineral, leather, roasting meat, tobacco, cigar box, smoke, ripeness.
Palate: Black cherry, raspberry, blackberries, blueberry, ripe plum, complex stone fruit, pear, vanilla, chocolate, dill, minerals, slightly peppery, smoky, low acidity, soft tannins, oak, balanced, lively.
Finish: Black cherry, raspberry jam, herbal, minerality, light oak, tobacco smoke, smoke, chewy, balanced tannins, nice structure, soft, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Bodegas Luis Alegre Parcela N.5



Finca La Estacada
Secua 2013

(Cabernet Sauvigon & Syrah Blend / Cuenca) $25

This wine was made from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah grapes grown in a Mediterranean climate, and following harvest were macerated for 7 days then fermented over 10 days and aged for 24 months in oak barrels prior to bottling.

Aroma: Dark cherries, strawberry jam, vanilla, honey, celery, bell pepper, black truffle, chalk, gravel, earthy, charcoal, spicy, port-like.
Palate: Dark cherries, sweet plums, lemon, juicy, honey, fermented honey, chocolate, cooked bell pepper, bell pepper, eucalyptus, potting soil, minerals, leather, woody, oak, smooth.
Finish: Dark chocolate, bell pepper, chamomile, complex meadow, balanced tannins with chalky minerality, smooth, nice finish.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Finca La Estacada Secua



Bodegas y Viñedos Lleiroso
Sergio Hernandez Edición Especial Reserva 2011

(Tempranillo / Ribera del Duero) $64

This wine was fashioned from hand-harvested Tempranillo grapes from vineyards 25-50 years old. After temperature-controlled fermentation, the wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, followed by 24 months of bottle-aging prior to release.

Aroma: Cherry, plums, cassis, sweet herbal, tobacco, leather, minerality, sexy.
Palate: Juicy ripe plums, cherries, strawberries, currants, cassis, cooked plums, juicy jam, prunes, bell pepper, honeycomb, wet tobacco, red meat, sweet woody, oaky, loamy.
Finish: Blackberry, dried cherries, dried raisins, orange peel, tobacco, smoky, earthy, tannic, heavy oak, complex, rich, flavorful.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Bodegas y Viñedos Lleiroso Sergio Hernandez Edición Especial Reserva



Martin Códax
ERGO Rojo Red Blend

(Tempranillo / Galicia) $12

Following harvest, grapes for this wine (88% Tempranillo, 12% Garnacha) were destemmed, lightly crushed and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, after which half of the wine was aged for a year in American oak barrels before bottling.

Aroma: Black cherry, Bing cherry, cherry, black plum, fresh raspberry, strawberry, melon, apricot, dried fig, chocolate, walnuts, fennel seed, slight earthy, mineral, charcoal, leather, mild oak, aged cognac.
Palate: Cherry, dark cherry, clean black plum, plum, dark fruits, stewed plum, strawberry, currants, young raspberry, blueberry, melon, toasted fennel seed, pepper, leather, big wood, oak, smoky, tannins, decent structure, smooth.
Finish: Cherry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry jam, persistent black fruit, raisins, green apple, bay leaf, silky clean finish, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Martin Códax ERGO Rojo Red Blend



Campo Viejo
Reserva 2012

(Tempranillo / Rioja) $14

This wine was made from a blend of Tempranillo (85%), Graciano (10%) and Mazuelo (5%) grapes that were fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. Following fermentation, the wine was aged in a combination of American oak (50%) and French oak (50%) for 18 months, and once bottled allowed to rest for 18 months before release.

Aroma: Plums, black plum, big berries (like triple berry pie), ripasso style dried cherries, pomegranate, jam, smoked honey, smoked maple, white flowers, mint, slightly earthy, aromatic.
Palate: Juicy soft plums, fresh strawberry, sweet blackberry, cherry, leather, textured, rich, lively.
Finish: Strawberry, raspberry, very sweet cherry, juicy, dry, big, satisfying.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Campo Viejo Reserva



Bodegas Portia
Roble 2016

(Tempranillo / Ribera del Duero) $7

After harvest and fermentation, this 100% Tempranillo wine was aged for 4 months in French oak barrels before bottling.

Aroma: Black cherry, soft cherry, rich raspberry, ripe blackberries, rich plum, dark sweet fruit, currants, peach, black pepper, smoky.
Palate: Black cherry, bright cherry, blackberry, dark berries, plum, violets, mineral, smoky, good balance, pencil on mid-palate, softly tart (plum skins), sharp minerality, good acid, medium tannin, oak.
Finish: Cherry, plummy, blackberry, strawberries, lemon, juicy, inky, saline, soft, smooth, easy-to-drink.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Bodegas Portia Roble



Marqués de Vargas
Reserva 2010

(Tempranillo / Rioja) $24

For this wine, hand-picked grapes (75% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Granacha and 10% other varietals) were destemmed and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, followed by aging for over two years in a combination of French, American and Russian oak barrels. The wine was then bottled without fining or filtration.

Aroma: Boysenberry, cooked strawberries and rhubarb, sweet peach, dark juicy fruit, tight fruit structure, honey/mead, very light floral, slight damp soil.
Palate: Red plum, juicy black plum, sweet green apple, strawberry brandy, blueberry wine, peppermint leaf, cinnamon, cedar, well-balanced, smooth.
Finish: Cherry, blackberry, dried pineapple, toffee, peppery, wood tannins, complex, clean and fresh, great finish.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Marqués de Vargas Reserva



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Bodegas Faustino
Faustino VII 2014

(Tempranillo / Rioja) $9

Grapes for this 100% Tempranillo wine hailed from vineyards at an altitude of over 1500 feet above sea level that feature chalky soil and cool Atlantic breezes. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for 6 months in American oak barrels before bottling.

Aroma: Rustic cherry, ripe blackberry, dark plum, sweet port, floral, herbal, ginger root, tobacco, earth, tilled soil, crisp.
Palate: Ripe black cherry, cherry, red plum, raspberry, cooked berries, berry kombucha, sweet apple, vanilla, bell pepper, spicy, tangy, musty, minerality, decent balance, soft.
Finish: Tart cherry, freshly picked raspberry, lemon, ginger root, spicy, flavorful, zippy.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Bodegas Faustino VII



Bodegas Portia
Crianza 2013

(Tempranillo / Ribera del Duero) $12

Grapes for this wine (100% Tempranilo) were fermented at controlled temperatures, after which the wine was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels and another 3 months in American oak barrels before bottling.

Aroma: Black cherry, Bing cherries, blackcurrant, big rich stone fruit, dark chocolate, honey, nice stage between fruit and development, vegetal, licorice, tobacco, woody.
Palate: Cherry, black cherry, lots of berries, classic rich black fruit, fruit forward, dry cranberry, dry vanilla, honey-soaked mushrooms, dill, mocha, light tannins, low acidity, nice balance.
Finish: Fresh strawberry, lemon, chocolate dust, dill, mineral, smoky, slight oak, smooth, zippy.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Bodegas Portia Crianza



Campo Viejo
Tempranillo 2015

(Tempranillo / Rioja) $11

Made from 100% Tempranillo grapes, this wine was fermented under controlled temperature conditions and aged for 4 months in American oak casks before bottling.

Aroma: Bright cherry, red plums, red raspberry, deep currants, vanilla, attractive floral, mint, dill, tobacco, leather, woody, slightly port-like, very clean.
Palate: Plum, bright young plums, raspberry, raspberry juice, black plum skin, cherry, sour cherry, fruit punch, red apple skins, orange peel, mint, eucalyptus, spicy, mineral, great balance, soft, healthy young wine with lots of room to grow.
Finish: Red raspberry, plum wine, watermelon, earthy, woody, soft tannins, gentle, elegant.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Campo Viejo Tempranillo



Marqués de Vargas
Conde de San Cristóbal 2011

(Tinta Fina / Ribera del Duero) $19

Grapes for this wine (80% Tinto Fino, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot) were handpicked and immediately cold-macerated for 3-5 days, after which they were fermented at controlled temperatures for 12 days and aged for 14 months in a combination of American, French and Russian oak barrels.

Aroma: Cherry, stewed cherry, cooked plums, blackberries, lemon, violets, fermenting grain, mint, grassy, coffee grinds, tobacco, leather, pencil lead, loamy, earthy, damp soil, smoky, cigar box, touch of oak, mysterious, rich.
Palate: Raspberry, plum, unripe blackberry, bright grapefruit, sweet dried fig, dried fruit, vanilla, dill, earthy, light minerality, tannins, wood barrel, oak, nice mouthfeel.
Finish: Unripe berries, orange peel, grapey, brandy, woody, oak, tannic, very chewy, complex.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Marqués de Vargas Conde de San Cristóbal

 

 

 

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