Rioja
Lyle Fass speaks about López de Heredia

Lyle Fass speaks about López de Heredia

I have attended a few tastings with Lyle Fass.  Out of all the people I have met with an opinion about wine, Lyle’s is about the biggest.  He pulls no punches.  Ever.  So to hear him waxing about López de Heredia, a winery that I hold as near and dear as any, (and then some),...
Viña Tondonia 1994 Gran Reserva

Viña Tondonia 1994 Gran Reserva

As soon as I saw that Chambers Street Wines had received their initial allocation of López de Heredia 1994 Gran Reserva I had to have at it immediately.  Besides the fact that they are among the first to receive the wine in the United States, I simply wanted to try it.  And I wanted to...
The Classic Rioja Bodegas of Haro

The Classic Rioja Bodegas of Haro

It had been a minute since I had organized a wine dinner or tasting.  The last one was over a year ago and then some, and it was focused on classic Rioja.  With that in mind I put together a tasting with friends of the classic Rioja Bodegas which are based around the old railway...
Ramirez de la Piscina 2001 Gran Reserva

Ramirez de la Piscina 2001 Gran Reserva

What’s better than a chocolate chip cookie?  A chocolate chip cookie with a sprinkle of sea salt on top!  I don’t know why but that came into my mind when I tried the 2001 Ramirez de la Piscina Gran Reserva.  I guess it’s to do with that thing in great traditional Rioja’s when they get...
La Granja Nuestra Señora de Remelluri

La Granja Nuestra Señora de Remelluri

La Granja Nuestra Señora de Remelluri.  Now that’s a mouthful.  By name alone I was psyched to try the 2007 Remelluri.  And I liked the wine, it is interesting and fairly complex, but it is not Rioja by traditional standards.  In fact, if I was trying this blind I would have pegged it as a...
Top 10 Wines of 2011.

Top 10 Wines of 2011.

Okay, well forget top ten, let’s make it a baker’s dozen while we’re at it.  No particular order, I will just list them youngest to oldest according to vintage.  There are some reds, some young, some old, a white, a rosé, and even a non vintage number.  Just wines that kept me thinking throughout the...
New French Oak is a Four Letter Word

New French Oak is a Four Letter Word

I am not trying to single out San Vicente here, but New French Oak is a four letter word!  Here is the thing, I don’t really dig it when a wine is completely masked by the heavy scent of new oak.  In this case, the San Vicente is made in 90% New French Oak barrels,...
Aged Traditional Rioja:  A Journey Into the Past & the Rioja Traditional/Modern Divide

Aged Traditional Rioja: A Journey Into the Past & the Rioja Traditional/Modern Divide

Traditional Rioja is one of the greatest categories of wine in the world.  But most people don’t know that.  And it’s fine with me.  It has kept prices reasonable in the face of areas like Bordeaux and Burgundy which are very expensive across the board for most top end, and even middle of the road,...
Classic Rioja Trinity

Classic Rioja Trinity

We made up a big paella with some friends and I decided to open the trinity of classic Rioja producers.  That is, a Crianza, a Reserva, and a Gran Reserva from what are, in my humble opinion, the three most traditional producers in Rioja.  The king of all classic Rioja producers is undoubtedly López de...
La Rioja Alta:  Viña Alberdi 2003/2005

La Rioja Alta: Viña Alberdi 2003/2005

La Rioja Alta is one of my favorite bodegas in all of Rioja.  They are one of the classic Rioja producers, located in the seat of classic Rioja in Haro, Spain.  Viña Alberdi is their entry level wine.  Sold in the U.S. as a Reserva and as a Crianza in Spain, it is their Crianza...
Ocean's 11, Debussy, & López de Heredia.

Ocean’s 11, Debussy, & López de Heredia.

Whenever I drink the wines of R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, I cannot help but think of the words used to describe them that were spoken by the person who perhaps knows them the best, María José López de Heredia:  “The best wine is the one you cannot describe.”  It reminds me of how...
Postcards from 1989.

Postcards from 1989.

1989, the number.  Some of us were there.  Chuck D was there.  And these little beauties from Barolo and Rioja were born.  And now there gone.  But, they were great.  I will remember them fondly because they were the wines we drank on my birthday this year.  I was lucky enough to share these with...