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Wine Reviews

Pepe Mendoza Casa Agricola Alicante 2018

From Alicante in the south of Spain, this is a full bodied, spicey and edgeless blend. The grape varieties are monastrell (mouvèrdre), syrah, alicante bouschét (a red variety that also unusually has red flesh) and giró (a red variety found in Spain and Sardinia). This pleasant wine is ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Website: NA. Reviewed: August 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Valminor Albariño Rias Baixas 2017

From Rias Baixas in Spain, this proves quite a typical expression of white variety albariño. If you are less familiar with albariño (little is grown in Australia – please chime in if you’ve found a good one), the style of these wines is typically towards full bodied, with high acidity and a saline overlay. An adaptable wine that doesn’t need food, but likes fish. This wine has aromas of orange blossom, florals and salt. The palate is full bodied with piercing acidity that runs through it. Ready to drink now, this is a good example of albariño. Rating: Good. Website: NA. Reviewed: June 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Telmo Rodriguez Dehesa Gago 2018

From the Toro region in Spain, this is a more full throttle expression of tempranillo, more akin to a Ribera del Duero or Valencia than a Rioja in terms of style.  Its aroma reminds of plum syrup and cooked blueberries.  The palate is dry and full bodied, with sweet ripe fruit, soft tannins and, distinguishing it from a new world wine, a savoury plum finish.  Ready to drink now. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Website: http://www.telmorodriguez.com. Reviewed: July 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Mesta Verdejo 2018

This wine is a verdejo (not verdelho) from Uclés in Castilla La Mancha in central Spain. It has typical herbal and chamomile aromas. The palate is viscous and full bodied. Drink now. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5. Price: $15. Website: mesta.wine. Reviewed: April 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Conde Valdemar Rioja Rosé 2018

Rosé is just right for these hot summer days. Here’s another one, this time a blend of garnacha (aka grenache) (70%) and viura (a white wine grape commonly known as macabeo outside of Rioja) (30%). This rosé is an easy to appreciate with a full bodied and dry expression of strawberries, some refreshing acidity and no oak. An on trend salmon pink in colour. Ready to drink now. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $16. Website: https://valdemar.es/en. Reviewed: December 2019.

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Wine Reviews

Finca el Encinal Ribera del Duero Roble 2016

First post for the new year!  I’ve been tasting a battery of different styles in preparation for the Master of Wine exams, and will now up the posting.  This is a sound tempranillo from producer Bodegas Valparaiso and the Ribera del Duero appellation.  Deeply coloured in the glass, its aroma is restrained and savoury, reminding of cedar and spice.  The palate is full bodied with ripe fruit, tannins and chocolatey overtones and some heat through it.  Overall, this is a good value Ribera del Duero that is typical in its style.  Rating: Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $20+. Website: bodegasvalparaiso.com

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Wine Reviews

Viñedos Real Rubio Crianza Rioja 2010

There’s a lot of value to be had in red Rioja. This Rioja crianza is 8 years old and an 80/20 blend of tempranillo and graciano. It saw 18 months in barrel and is from an organic vineyard. In the glass, there are aromas of game, cedar, leather, spice and red fruits. The tannins are softening, the length is good, and this wine is entering its best drinking window. A lot for $30. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $30.50. Source: Sample. Read more: bordeauxandbeyond.com.

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Wine Reviews

Herederos del Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva 2013

A second Spanish wine review, also from the same producer. I wasn’t initially entirely taken by this wine – a Rioja Reserva. That said, drinking it now a couple of days after opening, I am enjoying it. For this reason, I would suggest a long decant. It has a caramel and cedar driven nose, with a mid range intensity of colour. On day 2, it is more spicy. The palate is between medium and full bodied with sour cherries and a dark chocolate overtone. Pleasant drinking. Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $30.

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Wine Reviews

Herederos del Marqués de Riscal Rueda 2016

This wine is from Rueda in Spain, and the grape variety is verdejo. Not verdelho, which for the English speaker, is close enough to be confusing. In the glass, this is a lovely wine, with saline aromatics that remind of florals and stones. The palate is fuller bodied with soft but still fresh acidity, and that mineral, saline note carrying through. Enjoyable current drinking at only $15. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $15.

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Wine Reviews

Pazo Barrantes Rias Baixas Albariño 2016

This is an enjoyable albariño from Pazo Barrantes in Rias Baixas. Neither the name of this appellation (Rias Baixas) nor even the grape variety are particularly accessible to the English speaker, but the wine style is fresh, saline and worth seeking out. Yellow gold in the glass, the 2016 vintage has aromas of minerals, stones sea salt and some florals. It sits between medium and full bodied on the palate, with high acid, mid range length on the finish and no discernible oak. Refreshing drinking. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: <$20.