Friday, July 18, 2008

Twitter Tasting Success

Last evening, local Bin Ends held their first Twitter Tasting. You can check out my prior post on the specifics of this innovative tasting.

The special guest was Eric Solomon from European Cellars. European Cellars has been importing hand-crafted wines from France, Spain and Portugal since 1989. They're Spanish portfolio has been at the forefront of the influx of extremely high quality Spanish wines that having been making they're way to market over the past 10 years. I have tasted numerous wines from their portfolio and believe they have some very delicious and exciting wines.

For this Twitter Tasting, Eric showcased six of his top Spanish selections, including:

2006 Pazo de Monterrey Monterrei
2007 Pazo de Senorans Albarino
2006 Rafael Palacios Louro do Bolo Godello
2005 Burgans Bierzo "Cuatros Pasos"
2005 Bodegas Mustiguillo "Mestizajes"
2005 Castano Yecla "Solanera"

Eric was joined by my friends and fellow bloggers, Ryan and Gabriella of Catavino. A number of other wine bloggers also joined in for the tasting. Eric basically spent ten minutes talking about each wine and fielding questions. I think we could have used a little more time with each wine, even if only five more minutes. The whole event ran very smoothly, especially considering this was the first event. Twitter also cooperated by not crashing as it is known to do far too frequently. Everyone participating seemed to have a very good time and the wines were excellent, especially for the price.

Here are some more specific notes on all of the wines. Note that the prices provided are for Bin Ends, and are less expensive than the usual price for these wines. That means they are even more of a bargain.

2006 Pazo de Monterrey Monterrei ($14): This wine is from a D.O. in the Galicia region, the northwest corner of Spain. It is a small D.O. and this is the first wine I have ever had from that region. The wine is a blend of Godello and Treixadura. Eric stated: "ES: To me, this wine as I taste it reminds me of a hypothetical marriage of Sancerre, Hermitage blanc, and Chablis. Godello has good aging potential." I found this wine to have a pale yellow color with a citrus nose, especially some peach. It has a strong citrus taste with almost some grapefruit. It has a long finish and certainly would pair well with seafood.

2006 Rafael Palacios Louro do Bolo Godello ($16): From the Valdeorras D.O., this wine is 100% Godello without any oak. Eric had much to say about this wine. "Here is an example of how a white wine from a single variety can be so complex, like Riesling, like white Burgundy." "In a portfolio of over 500 wines, it's tough to have favorites, however, may be the greatest white wine for the money in my book!" "My personal belief is that Godello will emerge as Spain's most serious white wine variety, achieving cult status." I found this wine to have a golden yellow color and to be very aromatic. You could simply sniff this wine and revel in its melange of enticing aromas. On the palate, there too is a melange of tastes, lots of citrus with bits of spice and even honey. It definitely is a complex and appealing wine.

2007 Pazo de Senorans Albarino ($23): From the Rias Baixas D.O., this wine is made form 100% Albarino. The wines comes from the oldest, lowest producing vines in the region. I have had this wine before, though not this particular vintage, and I have been a big fan. I even chose this wine for a Spanish Tapas wine dinner held at a local restaurant. This is an excellent wine with an enticing nose and a nice crisp taste of green apple and peach with a bit of minerality. Out of the three whites, this was my favorite, though I very much enjoyed the other two as well.

005 Burgans Bierzo “Cuatros Pasos” ($12), From the Bierzo D.O., this wine is made from 100% Mencia. This is the first vintage of this wine, made from 8o year old vines and aged for 3 months in French and American oak. Eric stated: "Think of this as Barbera meets Cab Franc." I enjoy wines made from the Mencia grape but initially I did not care for this wine as I felt it was a bit tannic and rough. But, after the wine sat for a time, it mellowed out and I began to enjoy it. The wine is very dark red in color, almost purple. It has an alluring nose of ripe plum and blackberries that also comes out on the palate. The tannins smoothed out and it became more like the Mencia I like. Just make sure to let it breathe a bit after opening a bottle.

2005 Bodegas Mustiguillo “Mestizajes” ($15): This wine is from the Utiel-Requena D.O., another less common region. It is composed of 70% Bobal and equal parts Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes come from vines planted on chalk and limestone at high altitude. Malolactic fermentation occurred in used French oak where the wine remained for 6 more months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. This wine really impressed me! It is dark purple in color with a subdued nose but a bold taste of ripe plum, blueberry and black cherry. It is full-bodied and chewy and there is plenty of complexity, especially at this price point. A vey satisfying finish and I made sure to drink more of this after the tasting. This was my favorite of the reds!

2005 Castano Tecla “Solanero” ($14): From the Yecla D.O., this wine is made of 65% very old Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Tintorera. It was aged in French oak. Another dark red, almost purple colored wine with an intriguing nose of spice and dark red fruit. On the palate, there is lush fruit flavors with some clove/cinnamon notes. Those spices are not usual to Monastrell but derive from the Tintorera. A smooth, easy drinking wine that would make an excellent BBQ wine.

Overall, these wines and excellent values, especially at their discounted prices form Bin Ends. And the Twitter Tasting itself was lots of fun. It was interesting to get live tasting reviews from people all over the world. I look forward to their next Twitter Tasting and hope even more people join in.

The next Twitter Tasting is scheduled for August 21st. Etienne Hugel, from Hugel et Fils in Alsace will be joining Twitter live from Alsace!

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