TN: Unposted Notes, Part 3: Italy & Spain & Others

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Ryan M
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TN: Unposted Notes, Part 3: Italy & Spain & Others

#1 Post by Ryan M » July 7th, 2019, 2:18 pm

Presented in chronological order by country. The real treasures in this batch are the two Pedro Ximenez sherries. Also noteworthy is my first taste of a Moroccan wine.


Vinchio-Vaglio Serra, Le Nocche, Grignolino d’Asti 2014
Light garnet. Nice dark fruit, blackberry, cherry, currant, and lots of anise. Medium-light bodied, but with nice density; savory and bit succulent in texture; juicy and acid driven, with good presence. A bit a light a light bodied Cab Sauv, and has similarities with Dolcetto as well; quite unique. Drink now. 2 Stars [12/26/18]

Poliziano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2014
Medium-dark ruby / garnet. Excellent, somewhat heady nose of pungent cherry and dark berries, tobacco / herbs, and wood / leather, all with rich, fragrant black soil, and a touch of dark chocolate; nice depth. On the palate, lots of black cherry, raspberry, dried cranberry, and a bit of plum, with a hint of green tobacco leaf, cedar, a touch of citrus, and toward the finish, a hint of chocolate, a faint hint of something like leather, spice, and lots of nice, fine, mineral-laden tannin, all underlaid by loamy earth. Medium-full bodied, juicy, savory, and somewhat tart in texture, and excellent length on the finish; very good depth; excellent quality. A traditional, charming Tuscan red. Between the breathing time needed and acid and tannin structure, this probably has a solid 5 - 10 years ahead of it, and should be quite lovely when fully mature. 3.5 Stars [12/30/18]

Villa Jolanda, Brut, Italy NV
No formal notes taken, but a very nice off-dry sparkler, with citrus, pear, stone fruits, and good mineral depth. Somewhat like an Asti spumante, but with better balance and depth. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is made from Pinot Grigio or something similar. 2 Stars [1/27/19]

Badia di Morrona, Vin Santo del Chianti 2011
Exceptional color, medium bronze / deep orange, gold at the rim, with red reflections. Outstanding nose of cognac and luscious honey, underlaid by deep notes of raspberry and rich, fleshy, fresh apricot, all with a substantial note of toasted coconut; mature fruitcake notes emerge with lots of air. On the palate, dominated by luscious honey, with toasted orange peel and a strong note of coconut, underlaid by dried, meaty raspberry, rich, slightly candied apricot, fig, and salty notes, and toward the finish, barrel-aged cognac notes, and fig; strong citrus notes, honey, and mineral linger on the long finish. Full bodied, very sweet and viscous, incredibly luscious, deep, complex, sweet but also slightly savory. Extraordinary stuff, the best Vin Santo I’ve had. Easily has 10 years ahead, and I would not be surprised to find it alive and well in 20. 4 Stars [3/12/19]

Francesco, Rosso, Toscana 2015
Nice color, medium-dark ruby. Outstanding Montalcino-like nose of deep earth (with a touch of graphite), herbs, cigar box, and orange rind, with cassis, blackberry jam, and raspberry; fragrant and juicy, with lovely warmth and depth. On the palate, macerated blackberry/raspberry/blueberry/cassis, plum, followed by orange rind with a touch of plum tomato, cigar tobacco, and lots of mineral/graphite laden earth. Full bodied, fleshy and juicy in texture; a bit off-dry (very strange for Tuscany), but with exceptional balancing acidity, and the off-dry style gives it an undeniably attractive boost of lushness. This style will not be to everyone’s liking, but the underlying quality, character, and depth are exceptional. Remarkable, I have never encountered an off-dry red that worked anywhere near this well (I tend not to like them). Drink now or in the next few years. 4 Stars for the nose, 3 Stars overall. [3/16/19]

Badia di Morrona, Caligiano, Chianti 2017
Lovely color, pure, medium dark, translucent ruby. Wonderful nose, loads of dark, lush, rich, deep, savory, dark berries, with herbs/tobacco, leather, dusty earth, and lots of stone/mineral. On the palate, pungent black cherry, fresh-picked blackberry, meaty currant, and black raspberry, all deep and rich, juicy but meaty, and very savory, with a generous touch of citrus, tobacco leaf, leather, dusty earth, mineral, and peppery spice. Full bodied, juicy, savory, dense and rather intense, but sits lightly and elegantly due to the generous acidity. Despite its generous fruit, very youthful in structure, with astringent tannin; exceptional structure. Will be better in 3 - 5 years, and last for 8 - 10 years. This is the most impressive basic Chianti I have ever had. 3.5 Stars [3/31/19]

Grande Alberone, Italy NV
Teroldego from Trentino, Cabernet from Venezie, Primitivo from Puglia, and Merlot from Sicily. Excellent color, medium-dark ruby. Exceptional, lovely nose; rich but vibrant red fruit, with a bit of tobacco, lots of spice, tarry black fruit, and a pleasant raisin / balsamic note, with a lovely not of dried roses / perfume; Margaux-like sweetness and fragrance to the red fruits. On the palate, sweet but high toned raspberry, blackberry jam, black currant, a touch of tobacco leaf, and lots of spice, all with notes of tar, mineral, and raisin. Full bodied, rich, and concentrated, but with excellent acid tone, with a warm, succulent texture. It would be interesting to see how this evolves over the next 5 years (it has the structure, though the fruit is already more mature due to barrel aging). Phenomenal value. 3.5 Stars [4/26/19]

Tenuta Pierazzuoli, Riserva, Chianti Montalbano 2015
Very good color, dark ruby. Exceptional but subtle nose, with excellent depth, dark fruit, herbs/tobacco, and earth/stone; aromatic, warm, and rich. On the palate, loads of pungent black cherry, blackberry, and plum, with succulent, minty tobacco leaf, spice, tar, stone, a hint of citrus, and loads of fine tannin. Very full bodied, with prominent acidity, savory/succulent texture, and nice medium-long finish; excellent depth, and a palate filling presence. It’s 14.5% alcohol is a bit exposed, but it has the substance to balance it. This is a serious, substantial Chianti, with 5 - 10 years ahead. 3.5 Stars [5/24/19]

Murgo, Etna Rosso 2016
Nerello Mascalese. Light garnet. On the nose, juicy red cherry and blueberry, with generous smokey/volcanic mineral, meat/leather/cured tobacco, and cloves, all with a hint of citrus. On the palate, tart, juicy black cherry, dried blackberry/currant, blueberry, all with a touch of lemon, and with loads of peppery spice, and smokey mineral, and gritty tannin. Medium-light bodied but with good density, juicy and acid driven, and very savory/sanguine. Needs some time in the glass to round out, but extended breathing seems to decrease its charm. Very much like a light Burgundy (specifically Beaune or Chalonnaise), but also hinting at Barolo/Nebbiolo, and its acid-driven personality is very Italian. Definitely wants food, and will go with all of the classic Italian red-sauced pasta dishes. My first experience with Etna Rosso, and this certainly makes me want to try more. Drink now. 3 Stars [6/22/19]


Bodegas Toro Albala Don Pedro Ximenez, Gran Reserve, Montilla Moriles 1982
Phenomenal color, impenetrable mahogany, honey colored at the rim; leaves the whole glass . Ridiculous nose, raisin and prun and fig and orange zest and honey and molasses, with raspberry and dried apricot; dear lord! On the palate, big molasses, raisin, and prun notes, with equally big orange acidity, raspberry, honey drench apricot, root beer, chocolate, and big salty mineral hidden under all of the over the top substance. Off the charts intensity and substance, off the charts richness and sweetness, but with equally big and aggressive orange acidity balancing it. Singular, definitive, there is simply no experience like this. Indestructible, immortal. 50 to 75 effortless years ahead, will be alive in 100; time will mean very little for this wine. One the greatest wines I have tasted. 5+ Stars [12/23/18]

Emilio Lustau, Pedro Ximenez, San Emilio Solera Reserva, Jerez NV
Age unknown, but would have been purchased no later than 1995; based on the label and bottle shape, probably dates from the early to mid 1980s. Nearly opaque mahogany, about the color of molasses, tints the side of the glass brownish-gold when swirled. Outstanding nose, rather lovely in its way, huge notes of nice, pure, rich, heady raisin, with a hint of raspberry, lots of fig, a touch of orange, and tons of caramel / honey / molasses, and a nice green note, all with nice, prominent notes of spirit and oak. On the palate, extraordinarily rich, creamy, caramel drenched raisin, a hint of raspberry, fruit-cake like candied fruits, lots of fig, some bitter orange marmalade, loads of pure, rich, deeply flavored honey, an interesting green note, and barrel aged brandy / whiskey. Intense, syrupy, extremely rich and sweet, but balanced by good acidity and generous spirit. Definitely needs some time in the glass to open and mellow, and morphs back and forth between lusciously smooth to rather bitter and and aggressively spirity on the finish. Impressive, and fabulous in its best moments. Even now, another bottle like could easily last another 10 years. 4.5 Stars, partly for the wine, partly for the experience [1/2/19]

Vina de la Nieve, Garnacha, Vinas Viejas, Terra Alta 2016
Medium-dark ruby/purple. Nice nose of dark red berries, leather, earth, and spice. On the palate, rich, potent, tart blackberry, black currant, and raspberry, with a bit of succulent tobacco leaf, pepper, a touch of earth, and lots of chalky tannin and mineral. Big body, potent, richly textured but juicy, with good acid. Extremely impressive for $6, although its structure doesn’t hold up well with extended breathing. 2.5 Stars [4/13/19]

Evandria, Seleccion Garnacha, Vino de la Tierra de Extremadura 2015
Dark ruby, purple at the rim. Rich, heady nose of warm blackberry preserves, cassis, and dried berries, with spice, leather, tobacco leaf, and earth/gravel. On the palate, loads of juicy, rich blackberry, with meaty cassis, some tarry dried fruit (prunes, etc.), tobacco leaf, peppery spice, and good finish with lots of mineral-laden tannin and stone. Full bodied with some potent grip, succulent, ripe and rich but juicy and balanced. Good quality. Drink now or in the next 3 - 5 years. 3 Stars [5/26/19]


Rios de Chile, Chardonnay, Valle Central 2017
Pale yellow with a hint of green. Very nice nose of citrus and tropical fruits, with fine, clean touches of butter, vanilla, and oak, and with white flowers, lots of white pepper, herbal notes, and salty stone/mineral; good depth, and with some rather lovely aromatics. On the palate, sweet-tart citrus / grapefruit upfront, followed by pineapple, passionfruit, and guava, then fleshy nectarine, all with notes of flowers, herbs, white pepper, and mineral, and a finish of nectar. Full bodied, with somewhat potent spiciness; very nice texture, fleshy, somewhat fat, and rather opulent. Somewhat like a ripe Chablis, but with a fatter texture; well made. A very nice Chard, perfect for salads, cheeses, fish, and seafood. Drink now. 2.5 Stars [1/25/19]

Domaine Toulal, Cuvee Nouria, Guerrouane 2017
From Morocco. Medium-light ruby, with a touch of garnet/brick. Excellent nose of dark, meaty berries, cured tobacco / leather, lots of peppercorn, dusty earth, lingering cocoa powder, and raisin. On the palate, blackberry, blueberry, plum, black cherry, cured tobacco, leather, chalky earth, mineral, spice, a touch of raisin, and lingering, peppery tannin. Medium-full bodied, lush, rich, dense, very juicy and fresh, with citrusy acidity, and a savory texture. Very much like a Languedoc red; probably a Carignan/Cinsault/Grenache blend (no information available). A revelation. 5 solid years ahead, perhaps longer. 3 Stars [3/31/19]
R y a n M a d e r a k

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