The 2011 Bodegas Zerran Tinto, which comes from the heretofore obscure region of Montsant, is the latest discovery of Jorge Ordonez, who has been ferreting out great, undiscovered values from Spain’s incredible diversity of regions for well over a decade. Located in the northeast corner of Spain, Monstant borders the well-known Priorat region, and benefits from same combination of proximity to the Mediterranean s ea, along with an excellent, well-drained soils. A blend of Grenache, Mazuelo and Syrah, Zerran come from gnarly old vine vineyards planted between 1934 and 1942, at an elevation of 1,500-1,800 feet. An excellent value, this wine received an impressive 92 point score from Robert Parker.
Although Tempranillo is the workhorse grape of Rioja, it has proved quite successful in other regions of Spain, including nearby La Mancha, perhaps better known as the home turf of the wayward knight, Don Quixote. Although Tempranillo typically produces a lighter style of wine in Rioja, in the warmer La Mancha region it takes on added intensity and ripeness. Made in a friendly, fruit-forward style, without any wood notes to mask the fruit, this bouncy Spanish red offers lots of spicy Tempranillo fruit, supported by light, crisp tannins on the finish. Great with BBQ, or serve lightly chilled as an aperitif.
From the portfolio of the peripatetic Eric Solomon, who has a gift for finding super-values from all over the globe, the 2011 Hazaña Rioja Tradicion offers a subtly updated and freshened take on the classic Rioja formula. Pair this well-balanced Rioja with tapas, salmon, grilled meats, and poultry.
Discovered by former CW wine consultant (and living legend) Howard Friedman, the 2011 Bodegas y Viñedos Tamaral Roble is made by a quality conscious, family-owned winery located just outside the well-known Spanish village of Pesquera, in Spain's famed Ribera del Duero region. Most of the vineyards are situated above 1,000 feet, including a precious 15 hectare parcel of 100 year old vines. Crafted by renowned Italian enologist Nicola Tucci and Spanish enologist Francisco Gallego, Tamaral Roble offers a fresh take on the classic Ribera del Duero formula pioneered by Spain's greatest wine, Vega Sicilia. While still classic, the style of Tamaral evinces a modern emphasis on fruit and approachable tannins. Sporting a deep red cherry color with a violet edge, this wine offers intense, yet delicate notes of red and black fruit, finishing with a generous dollop of spice and vanilla from four months aging in a combination of American and French oak barrels. Delectable and ready now. --Ben Giliberti, CW Director of Wine Education