TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

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Tran Bronstein
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TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#1 Post by Tran Bronstein » October 18th, 2018, 6:36 pm

Yesterday, I got together with a side group of a dozen other winos including board members Dylan and Sean Provencher and Peter Papay for a non-TWEC (TM) related Spanish-themed wine and dinner get-together. Amazing food, wine and company in Peter and his wife Nasrin's beautiful custom home in Mississauga. Homemade Spanish food and wines were the centerpiece of the evening. There were plenty of generous contributions and amazing wines to go through with an emphasis on Rioja. Let's wade through them.
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GRAMONA 2006 III LUSTROS GRAN RESERVA CAVA -- This sparkler was truly one with the Force that is known as lees, as its blend of 75% Xarello and 25% Macabeo is aged for 72 months on lees. Very high quality Cava but I have mixed feelings about it as it had a complex aroma and taste of brioche, walnuts, fennel, black pepper, and some strong phenolic bitterness that all combined to make it very complex. What I wasn't getting, however, was any crispness or any fruit. That didn't seem like a good tradeoff to me, especially with the phenolic bitterness distracting me. I much more enjoyed...
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Gramona 2006 III Lustros
FAUSTINO ROSADO NV CAVA -- Light bodied, pale pink in color, light strawberry fruit flavors with a touch of salinity. Very clean on the palate. This was delicious and overdelivered for an inexpensive less than $20 CDN Cava.
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Faustino Rosado Cava
REMELLURI 2015 RIOJA BLANCO -- This spectacular white wine was loaded with fresh cream, starfruit and saline flavors in perfect balance. A touch of heat on the palate, indicating it is still very young. This was superb. This is the second time I've been privileged with a Remelluri Blanco and honestly they matcj the best Chateauneuf du Pape Blancs and put the mediocre ones to shame.
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Remelluri 2014 Rioja Blanco
EL LAGAR DE ISILLA 2017 ALBILLO -- My first ever Albillo wine. This had a very floral and fruity nose reminscent of Muscat or Malvasia. On the palate, however, it was much more neutral with refined and subtle lemon and kiwi flavors. Maybe a little too refined. I was hoping the palate matched some of the nose. Good intermezze wine but nowhere near the greatness of the wine before it.
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El Lagar de Isilla 2017 Albillo
MUGA 2009 PRADO ENEA RIOJA GRAN RESERVA -- Still very young, this Rioja was marked by a ton of salinity. Good fruit and grippy from the tannins. I found the structure to be like that of an equally young Bordeaux wine.
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Muga 2009 Prada Enea
THE FAUSTINO I RIOJA GRAN RESERVA VERTICAL -- Through generous contributions from different attendees, we managed to put together a mini-vertical of Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva from 1987, 1994, 2004 and 2005. I will touch on each briefly:
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Faustino I mini-vertical
1987: My favorite of the four, this was the most popular to sample and the bottle went quickly. It drew quite a mixed reaction, however. It has shockingly strong heat on the nose given the age but also a light body. This is all tertiary umami flavors with soy sauce, mushroom and a little funk. Fruit is pretty much gone. Super smooth body and texture, just glides down my esophagus. This was absolutely spectacular with the food which is why it won me over. While I'm sure experienced Berserkers with old Bordeaux in their collection would love this, the group was evenly split in loving and hating it as I could tell some people were thrown off by the complete lack of fruit. To be honest, I would never drink this alone but with meat it was unbelievably good.

1994: This seemed to be the favorite of the group as it had just the beginnings of the umami flavors above but still had plenty of plum fruit, smoke and grippy tannins with a touch of saline. I actually thought it was maybe a bit too young but everyone else really enjoyed it.

2004: Much smoother and fruitier than the 94, which makes sense given the age.

2005: Richer fruit and tannin than the 04, this tastes like a young Bordeaux.

This was a privilege to try and I see why people who prefer old school Rioja over the more modern sweeter American oak influenced Rioja prefer it. It's basically Bordeaux wine made with Tempranillo.
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Bricking check of the 87 Faustino I
CONDE DE VALDEMAR 2004 RIOJA GRAN RESERVA -- I actually enjoyed this much, much more than the 04 Faustino I as I felt it had more fruit and structure and was a touch sweeter indicating to me that it was a modern style Rioja. Interesting that I like this style more in the younger wines but I went gaga for the 87 Faustino I which had gone all tertiary.
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Conde de Valdemar 2004 Rioja
CASTANO YECLA 2012 CASA CISCLA MONASTRELL -- A break from Rioja and Tempranillo as I tried the only Monastrell of the night. Strong plum jam flavors, the rich fruit is matched by equally rich tannins which were a bit too oaky for me and seemed to come more from the barrels than the fruit. Really strong stuff that needs lots of time to mellow out. I feel we opened it too young.
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Casa Cisca 2012 Monastrell
ALEJANDRO FERNANDEZ VERTICAL -- These two bottles were brought directly from the winery itself in Spain as the contributors had returned from a trip to Spain with them.
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ALEJANDRO FERNANDEZ TINTO PESQUERA 1985 CRIANZA -- Label does not indicate any vintage year whatsoever. Research shows however that this is a young addition to his line and is akin to an entry level Rioja. This had rich fruit, tannin, and an intriguing touch of lanolin.

ALEJANDRO FERNANDEZ TINTO PERQUERA 1996 RIBERA DEL DUERO -- This tasted much younger with stronger fruit and much more vibrant tannins. Very much equal if not better than the 94 Faustino I.

CASA DE LA ERMITA 200 JUMILLA -- This beautiful red is silky smooth with receded tannins, rich fruit and a touch of cedar.
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Casa de Ermita 2000 Jumilla
MYSTERY WINE -- There was a fun blind wine contribution which had a stunningly floral nose for a red that was even more powerful than the Albillo's, like a Brachetto D'Acqui's. The fruit is sour cherry, the body is light, and there is a bit of tannin. This was more akin to Burgundy as Rioja is akin to Bordeaux. I was fascinated and it's confirmed as definitely being from Spain. I'd love to tell you what it is but... we were all having such a good time that we never actually got around to the reveal! [swearing.gif] I'll let everyone know what it is as soon as I find out.
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Sherry table; we didn't get to all of them
FLORIO MARSALA RISERVA ACI 1840 SUPERIORE -- This incredibly generous contribution from our hosts has a fun history in that it was acquired by a family in London in 1989 and kept cellared all this time. It wound its way to Canada when the owner's son inherited it, but he wasn't a wine drinker so Peter acquired it in a private sale. From what we can tell, it's a Solera style reserve level Marsala and there's next to no information on it around the web other than it being acknowledged as a very old and pricey special wine which now commands top dollar.

Unbelievably complex, it has complex aromas and flavors of baked raisins, burnt sugar, caramel, cedar, and honey. Although sweet, there is a strong salinity that had me swearing it was actually a Madeira. It underwent an unusual reaction in our open glasses as the wine literally started to go cloudy in them. Literally changes every sip, with one aspect of the wine standing out on one sip only for another to do so on the next sip. Fascinating and complex wine. Unbelievable and a great wine experience.
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FLorio 1840 Marsala
TORO ALBALA DON PX 1986 GRAN RESERVA -- Lucious well-aged PX sherry with sweet baked raisin, rancio, coffee, walnuts and vanilla cream flavors. A touch of grit to the very smooth body and good acidity balance out this very complex wine. Could age forever.
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1987 Don PX Gran Reserva
Last edited by Tran Bronstein on October 20th, 2018, 9:33 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#2 Post by Tran Bronstein » October 18th, 2018, 6:43 pm

Our first appetizer donated by Rick was a pair of Spanish Tortillas. In this particular dish, the "tortilla" is actually an omelette as there is no flour in the recipe. The first was traditional egg, chicken and potato chips. The second was his duck egg and duck breast upgrade. Both were superb and Rick had a voting tally. The duck led the votes by a country mile, but I interestingly found the traditional version more appealing and was in the minority on this.
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Spanish Tortillas
At this point, we flunked Geography 101 as we were confusing Latin America with Spain but this was easy to forgive thanks to the amazing food. Walter made a delicious chicken quesadilla.
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Chicken Quesadilla
Peter and Nasrin made an incredible traditional Spanish Paella.
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Spanish Paella
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Paella serving
Sean and Dylan made a delicious freshly grilled Carne Asada which they had marinated beforehand and then finished on the grill outside on Peter and Nasrin's deck.
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Carne Asada
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Carne Asada closeup
For dessert, I made a classic Spanish Flan. It's like a french Creme Caramel but is flavored with cinnamon and orange and lemon oils in addition to the traditional vanilla. Just slightly more exotic. I topped it with a touch of salt for balance and contrast.
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Spanish Flan
What a delicious evening. The WOTNs for me were most definitely the Remelluri, the Marsala and the Don PX. It was great to try so many different Spanish reds but this seals it, I'm a high-end white Rioja fanatic. Thanks to everyone for their generous food and wine contributions and to Peter and Nasrin for hosting. Can't wait to get together again.
Last edited by Tran Bronstein on October 20th, 2018, 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#3 Post by IlkkaL » October 18th, 2018, 10:17 pm

Thanks for the write-up! That Remelluri Blanco is something really special. I don't drink that much Spanish whites (well, any Spanish wines actually) but I would love to find others similar to that one. Alas, I have understood that it's pretty much in a league of its own.
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Re: TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#4 Post by Peter Papay » October 19th, 2018, 4:56 am

Beautiful night - thanks for everyone!!

Great notes Tran. The ALEJANDRO RODRIGUEZ TINTO PESQUERA CRIANZA was a 1985 and had for me a bit too much tannins for me. Interesting how they keep up over such a long period of time and struggle to integrate.

Just a little typo correction: CASA DE LA HERMITA 2000 JUMILLA -- I enjoyed this quiet a bit. It had a remarkable balance.

I played around for over 1 hour with the 1840 Marsala and every time I went back to it it would show itself in a different way. It was almost like tasting 5 different wines rather then one. You could almost feel the wine stretching his arms and legs after it was awoken from his +150 year long sleep.

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Re: TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#5 Post by Jorge Henriquez » October 19th, 2018, 6:30 am

Great notes and pictures Tran. Looked and sounded like an awesome evening.
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Re TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#6 Post by C. Mc Cart » October 19th, 2018, 7:53 am

Had the pleasure of briefly meeting him years ago, Alejandro's surname is Fernandez, not Rodriguez.
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Re: TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#7 Post by GregT » October 19th, 2018, 8:15 am

Yep. It's Alejandro Fernández.
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Re: TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#8 Post by Ramon C » October 19th, 2018, 11:00 am

Ribera del Duero’s version of A-Rod!
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Re: TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#9 Post by Tran Bronstein » October 20th, 2018, 9:34 pm

Thanks for the updates, notes corrected above.
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Re: TNs -- Una Noche en España, Toronto: Spanish Night in TO

#10 Post by Mike Grammer » November 15th, 2018, 8:40 am

Sorry to have missed this dinner, I'm glad it went so well. I love Remelluri whites! Neat to have the vertical of the I Faustino...and those were some old Peskies you tried. Very cool, thanks for the notes and photos as always, Tran.

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