Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sotiris Bafitis Tastes " New " Spanish Wines Of Grapes Of Spain ( NESSA, CAMPELLARES, LOMA GORDA, Wed., Feb. 18th, 2009 At Cleveland Park Wines

Sotiris came in with a sample of the LOMA GORDA 2005 " Old Vines " 65% Garnacha / 35% Syrah ( Almansa ) Spanish red , $10.99 that we already have on the shelf. It's got medium body and some really good acid and spice. It will be a great food wine and complement many a flavorful, well-seasoned dish. It will make you quite hungry after just the first glass. be kind to yourselves and your guests : have some finger-foods out while you sip on it before your meal. I liked how the CAMPELLARES Rioja red is a perfect foil for the LOMA GORDA : they could not be more different. The CAMPELLARES is so much softer, fuller on the palate, smoother with less bite. Mike Martin that I work with found it the least interesting of all the wines we tasted. I found it would make an excellent sipping wine for before the meal and that many of our customers will love it. We will buy equal quantities of each and do a taste-test at some point between the two.

I think Sotiris will come and taste them soon here at Cleveland Park. It has been a really long time since his last in-store wine-tasting. It will be fun to have him back.

The NESSA Albarino white was really bright and fresh, lively and shiny and a wonderful filter for the Spanish sun that shined down on the grapes as they ripened. People will love it's freshness. We've already sold it quite-well in the past.

Sotiris also brought a " new " white Puente Elvira ( ? name?, I'll correct this soon I promise ) Verdejo that reminded me with the extra mineral and thick citrus cream overtones of a wine from Alsace like a Sylvaner or something like that. It was amazingly fresh and bold, assertive, flavorful and best probably when paired with food. It will hold it's own to many a Mediterranean meal.

With Sotiris we tasted both the Los800 2004 red Priorat ( with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and some of the Rhone grapes), $23.99 as well as the El Molinet 2006, $14.49 from LA FONT DE LA FIGUERA ( RSL. 30 01683 /V R.E. 5369/V, Spain. I liked both quite a lot. I especially liked the polish, finesse and overall balance in these wines where all the elements were allowed breathing room to express themselves in the well-defined structures of the other ones. They were evidence of group and team effort both between the components of the wines as well as those crafting them to their magical moments. Bravo.

I liked, too that they were not heavy-handed, alcoholic or lean. These were some of the best I have tasted in a long time from Aurelio's portfolio where across the line from the reds to the whites I mostly only had praise and positive words to utter and share. This is nice, and I was pleased. As a result we have twenty to twenty-five cases assorted of them coming to our store in March.

Here are the pictures that I took today here in the store with Sotiris.

I taste these wines in the open of the store at out tasting table while customers come and pass by and need help. Sometimes the phone rings and I need to answer it or a wine-order has to be checked-in from one of our local distributors. It all makes for a lively environment and sometimes I must take and make fleeting taste-impressions as my attention is spread thin. I don't mind but it is a challenge and so I freely admit that my observations might easily change to include new insights. Also, since a lot of suppliers do not arrive with lists of what they are tasting ( leaving a copy with us ) I cannot always remember everything technical.

That's where taking these pictures of the bottles really saves me later as I try and recollect what I can to write and include here. I advise that everyone enlarge the picture of the bottles on the round tasting-table to better see what Sotiris tasted Mike Martin and me on at this Spanish tasting. I will write more later about it all, too.

I do want to stress again that these blogs are more casual and informal and meant to capture the tenor, spirit and excitement of the moment. I am not interested in writing long and detailed reviews of each of the wines I taste. I am more interested in getting everyone excited to try some of them on their own to see how they enjoy them. It's all so subjective : to me the most important thing is to get people to actually start trying some of the vast " wealth " of wines out there and at their finger tips if they just reach out a wee bit more each and every time.

In the meantime I will go ahead and post this now for everyone and leave you again with my strong impression/liking overall of the whole group of them that Sotoris tasted us on. I believe it is one of the strongest offerings from the Grapes of Spain and Aurelio Cabestrero's portfolio that I have sampled in quite some time.

I like that the wines seem to be less jammy, less powerful and raw and in your face. These wines show really nice balance and focus and more subtle nuances in tastes and flavors. They are also well-priced and that helps a whole lot, too. People are really searching for values today. We want to do everything at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits to help them find them, too.

Thanks Sotiris for stopping by and showing us once again the wines of the Grapes Of Spain portfolio. It has been quite some time since Aurelio himself has done this and we miss and tell him so. It's time he himself came back to do another in-store wine-tasting or bring some of his wonderful wine makers and owners to our store : something which he used to do all the time.

It's important to grow your national market to sell all over the country one's portfolio ; there's no doubting that. However, it's also important not to forget those that supported one from the first to get their start. Harsh words, harsh reality, harsh times. We love you and your wines anyway Aurelio.

I remember when you started years ago with Ingram Imports and Rory bringing us the excellent wines of MONJARDIN that I have just recently blogged about. You also brought us some excellent Jumilla red wines, some excellent Albarino whites, etcetera. We sure have enjoyed some great times together.

Cheers and enjoy, TONY

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