ALKO : Terrers Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2008 by Recaredo (Espagne, Catalogne, Cava)

Enfin, un nouveau billet, sur un MAGNIFIQUE Cava de chez Recaredo. Vous pourrez lire tout ça, ici, en Français.

A new article about Recaredo Terrers 2008, a new Cava available at Alko. Here in English

Recaredo, Terrers 2008 Brut Nature Gran Reserva

Recaredo, Terrers 2008 Brut Nature Gran Reserva

ALKO : Cristalino Brut by Jaume Serra (Spain, Catalonia Cava)

Producer: Jaume Serra

Wine: Cristalino Cava Brut

Vintage: NV

Origin: Spain, Cataluña

Price range: 8-10€ (Finland, Alko)

Available at Alko: Yes (09/13), 552097

Here is one of the cheapest sparkling wine from Alko’s list. Nothing to expect from a Cava at this price range. It is far less risky to take a Prosecco for instance. Still.  Let’s taste it.

Nose is characteristic of basic sparkling, yeasty, a bit oxidized. It is not unpleasant, though not interesting. The mouth is well balanced but with the same bland to unpleasant taste. The first glass is pretty ok. The second start to be boring, leaving a bitterness in the finish.

The bubbles makes this very plain wine not completely impossible to enjoy. So it is a possibility for a workday evening treat, a good substitute to beer. However the Prosecco Divici for instance is a much more enjoyable wine. On the bottle there was a sticker stating that it is the « value brand of the year » and it is true that it is surprisingly drinkable for the price but, still, no miracle.

Wineops’ rating: 57/100 ; 0 0


ALKO: Muga Reserva 2007 by Bodegas Muga (Spain, Rioja)

Bodegas Muga is a Spanish wine producer located in the Rioja Alta. La Rioja is actually divided in three parts: la Rioja Alta, la Rioja Alavesa and la Rioja Baja. The later is the easiest to cultivate, the soils are rich and the climate is warmer… therefore the wines are in general less refined. The two first subregions however are the real deal. Like many regions in Spain, Rioja is mostly planted of the local variety of Tempranillo but they have started to replant other local grapes that have long been underestimated or underused: these are Graciano, Mazuelo (Carignan) and the most known Garnacha (Grenache). Bodegas Muga is a 200 ha estate and buys grape from an extra 150ha. Therefore it is an medium sized to average wine producer of the region (the estates in Rioja are rather big, Marques de Riscal sources from over 1 500 ha).

This Muga Reserva is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Grenache and a mix of Graciano and Mazuelo to finish. The ageing is 24 month in a mix of barrels from France, USA… then, according to the Rioja rules, it is aged for a minimum of 12 more months in bottle (this, contrary to the compulsory oak ageing is a very good rule).

When opened, the wine displays a very unpleasant charred nose. It is a mix of burned gum and charred oak, probably the smell of the slightly too long oak ageing. This imposes decanting. Half an hour does the trick. Then, this bad note disappears. The wine has a beautiful nose of black cherry, pepper and tobacco. There is also a hint of old wooden furniture… extremely soft and pleasant. The mouth displays the same harmony and somehow peacefulness. We find back the black cherry alongside a hint of strawberry and raspberry (especially in the finish). Spices are stronger and the black pepper brings a good balance. The wine is well integrated, not dominated buy the oak, with a very nice freshness. The finish is long, fruity. This is not a huge and fantastic wine but it is pretty delicious. I recommend it.

Wineops’ Rating: 78/100 ; 5 +

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Muga Reserva 2007 by Bodegas Muga

Muga Reserva 2007 by Bodegas Muga

ALKO: Reina Ma Christina 2008 by Codorniu (Spain, Cataluña)

Reina Maria Christina 2008 by Cordoniu is what we call a « blanc de noir ». This is quite specific to Champagne and Cava, sparkling wines in general (though you can find it very rarely on still wine bottles). It means that the wine is made out of black grape (typically Pinot Noir) event if it is a white wine. This is achieved through a very gentle pressing and no maceration (no color extraction). It usually results in a more powerful taste and a wine with more body. That kind of sparking is usually recommended  to be tasted with meals, not as aperitif.

I must say that aside from the very nice bottle, this wine was a disappointment. The dosage is very strong, so the wine bears a clear soft finish, which makes it quite boring to taste. The aromas are not developed and do not seem to be able to develop a lot. In other word, this is a wine I would not recommend, especially at this price point.

Wineops’ rating: 63/100 ; 0 0

Link to Alko : HERE

ALKO: Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 by Gramona (Spain, Catalonia)

Gramona is one of the famous, high quality cava producer of Catalonia. The estate is based in San Sadurni d’Anoia (the same as Freixenet). The range is quite complex. At the top, you will find Argent, a vintage cava which is produced from Chardonnay. Follows Celler Battle (available in Finland), a superb wine ; IIILustros and then Imperial. The last three are based on a blend of Xarel-lo and Maccabeo, which are the traditional grapes of spanish cava. Their main difference is the ageing time in bottle on lees (7, 5 and 3-4) and the selection of the grapes. All of them are vintage wines. Then you will find 5 more standard wines, without vintage indications.

One of the characteristics of Gramona is the style, a distinct oxidative style : it means that you will find nuts, honey and some stone fruits, these wines will be better suited to accompany a dinner.

Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 is a very nice wine. The aromatics is complex and expressive. The palate is balanced with a long finnish. But this is really oxidative. Biscuits, nuts, honey (indeed) and some sweetness brought by the liqueur (a little bit too much), makes it a powerful wine which will require a proper wine pairing. This is not to be drank alone as aperitive. Aim rather at poultry or a nice cream-based meat dish. I would have expected more from this bottle, which is decent but not over the top. It will probably benefit from ageing a couple of years.

Wineops’s rating: 75/100 ; 0 +

This wine is only available in specific Alko shops like the one of Arkadia in Helsinki.

Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 by Gramona (Spain, Catalonia)

VIKING LINE: Musica en el Camino 2009 by Martin Codax (Spain, Rioja)

Today I offer to my Finnish readers a treat from the baltic see. As I have been visiting both Viking Line and Tallink-Silja Line, I was enticed to speak about their wine offer. But first, I will comment on one specific bottle available on the red ships.

Musica en el Camino 2009 by Martin Codax (Spain, Rioja)

Bodegas Martin Codax is kind of a « newcomer ». The company started in the 1980’s in Rias Baixas. Since then, it has spread in north-west Spain and offer now wines from Bierzo, Ribera del Duero or even Rioja. Their range, being modern in the concept (fruit driven, easy drinking, reasonable use of oak), is very consistent. Musica en el Camino 2009 is their simplest Rioja and by simple, I still mean really good!

This wine is a classic Tempranillo from Rioja Alta (one of the best part of the Rioja). Wines from this region tend to be lighter and more elegant. It is cleverly aged in a mix of american and french barrels: american oak brings more spiciness and more extra aromas, like coco or toffee (very useful for basic wines) but can easily cover the wine and turn it into a very heavy, awkward beverage. Color is a nice red. Nose is subtle, there is dark fruit, there is a hint of coco, vanilla. This is very smooth, nothing that spikes. Mouth is delicate and yet intensely perfumed, quite long. This is a very solid wine that you will find at a very attractive price on VL. It is not design to age but you can keep it safely for a couple of years.

Wineops’ rating: 77/100 ; 0 0

NB: I tasted both 2008 and 2009, the wine is very consistent over the year, as you can expect for this type of wine.

Alko: Finca Moncloa 2006 by Gonzales Byass (Spain, Vino de la Tierra de Cadiz)

Here is an unexpected red blend from the region of Jerez! Jerez being the spanish name for Sherry.

First, a bit of context. Cadiz is right in the middle of the region producing Jerez, it is truely its capital. Jerez is a very old and very famous type of wine, the most typical being the Fino. These wine have the originality of being made through a slow and very long oxidation process in barrel under the « flor » which is a veil of yeast. The same process is used to make Vin Jaune in Jura (France). These are the only wine in the world made this way. The result are very powerful and typical wines, they smell nuts, smoke and they offer often a strong minerality.

You can imagine that these wines are not really the one wanted by the consumer and therefore a deep crisis is surrounding Jerez. If you want to taste this type of wine, you can access a couple of them at Alko (here and there but pay attention to pick only Fino or Manzanilla, maybe Amontillado but not Olorosso or Cream…etc… which are not original Sherryt).

Facing this deep and long-lasting crisis, producers started to produce dry wines. This wine is an example of a dry red, blended from Cabernet-Sauvignon and Syrah (Merlot and Tintilla de rota in small proportion).

Finca Moncloa 2006 is made by Gonzales Byass, a important producer of Jerez. As I said, it is a blend of mainly international grapes. The result is much better than expected and shows a clear originality. You don’t get the usual cassis and spice expected from the association. The nose is composed of fruit blended in very nice oaky fragrances. Nothing too strong, nothing too fake. The mouth is fresh, pleasant, rather on the fruit side with blueberry and raspberry. You don’t feel any overripeness. This is well made only a bit short in the mouth. Not to age nor to be decanted.

Wineops’ rating: 79/100 ; 0 0

A filling, powerful and yet fresh wine that I advise strongly to taste. It will fit gazpacho and meat dish (if possible slightly spicy).

Alko’s page: HERE

Finca Moncloa 2006 (Cabernet-Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Tintilla de rota) by Gonzales Byass