Carlos Serres ‘Old Vines’ Tempranillo Rioja 2015

Estate: A pioneer in Rioja, Carlos [Charles] Serres left Bordeaux and founded one of the first wineries in the Haro area of Rioja in 1896. Fleeing phylloxera, Serres, an already famous French wine consultant, “found in Haro the perfect terroir to make Bordeaux style wines, with a climate and terrain which reminded him of the best terroirs in Bordeaux”. Merging French winemaking techniques with the Rioja terroir, Serres’ visionary approach focused on international export and was a phenomenal success. Forever changing the way wine was understood in the area, he remains “one of the key personalities in Rioja’s winemaking history”. Family owned and operated, with 150 acres of vineyards with an average vine age of over 30 years, it stands out as one of the few estates in the Rioja region that has been producing wine for over 100 years.

Winemaking: Hand harvested grapes are sourced from old vines that are 50+ years in age. Aged for 5 months in oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of red berries, pencil lead and a trace of earthy funk. Pomegranate, cherry, red currant, blackberry and plum are complimented by silky tannins and fresh acidity. Peppery spice, tobacco and fruit span the dry, lengthy finish. Easy drinking and easy to pair with a wide variety of dishes.

Paring Suggestions from the Winery: A great match for grilled vegetables, creamy rice dishes, pastas, white meats and soft or lightly aged cheeses.

100% Tempranillo
Rioja DOC
Spain
Bottled at the Property by Bodegas Carlos Serres S.L.
13% Alcohol
$10 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2019

Rated 92 points by James Suckling

 

Sample submitted for editorial consideration.

Herència Altés Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta DO 2016

 

Winery: Altés Herència was established in 2013 as a collaboration between renowned importer Eric Solomon and Nuria Altes, owner of the Herencia Altés estate. Located in the Terra Alta region of northern Spain, the estate consists of some of the oldest vineyards in the area. Beginning with 4 wines in 2013, today the estate has expanded to a collection of 9 wines, along with the purchase of additional vineyards, for a total of 60 hectares of old vines.

Philosophy: The family protects and cares for the old vine vineyards, devoted to crafting wines of depth and character that express the “distinct terroir, a particular place with its unique soil, aspect and climatic condition”.

Winemaking: Vineyards are farmed sustainably and organically, and are in the process of conversion to certified organic. Grapes came from vineyards at 400-530 m above sea level with clay and high calcareous soil. A blend of young and old vines [40–100 years old] are mixed “to create an affordable, lively, and elegant version of Garnatxa showcasing the delicate Pinot-side of the variety”. Grapes were lightly pressed “pressing to achieve the best juice and sweet tannins”. Fermented in concrete, and aged 5 months in concrete tanks.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of wild berries, sweet herbs and a hint of baking spice. Bursting with fruit; cranberry, blackberry and Morello cherry are accented by a shake of black pepper and brambly vegetal notes. Velvety tannins, fruit and spice carry thru to the plush finish. A fantastic value.

100% Garnatxa Negra [Garnacha, Grenache]
Terra Alta
Spain
Bottled for Herència Altés by R.E. -3890-T
14.5% Alcohol
$10
Enjoy now

Le Paradou Grenache Vin de France 2016

Brand: Le Paradou is a project created in 2005 by winemaking brothers Alexandre and Frédéric Chaudière. The Chaudière family has been making wine in the Southern Rhône AOC of Côtes du Ventoux for many generations at Château Pesquié. The word ‘Paradou’ refers to the ancient windmills that once dotted the landscape of the Languedoc.

Philosophy: One of the goals the brothers have with the Le Paradou range is to infuse the wines with the values of living in the south of France; “These pleasures are pure and simple, they are those of sharing and of enjoying the small pleasures in life”.

Winemaking: The Chaudières practice sustainable, integrated farming methods with an emphasis on respect for the environment, and they do not use any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Grapes were sourced from two of the family’s vineyards on slopes [200/250 meters (650 to 800 ft)] in altitude with clay and limestone soils, with an average vine age of 60 years. Aged for 7 months in concrete tanks to preserve the “naked expression” of the grape.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with cheerful aromas of cherry, black cherry, white pepper and a shake of cinnamon. Silky cherry, pomegranate and red currant frame a spicy core, baking spices linger between each silky sip. Easy drinking, a fantastic companion with a wide variety of dishes and an excellent value.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemaker: Easy to pair with many simple dishes: charcuterie, red snapper with Serrano ham, grilled white or red meats, pizzas… It can also be paired with more structured dishes (daube d’Avignon, venison). Serve at around 17°C [62°F]

100% Grenache
Vin de France
France
Bottled by Famille Chaudiere
14% Alcohol
$10
Enjoy now

Rated 90 points by Wine Advocate

 

Carlos Serres Blanco Rioja 2016

Estate: A pioneer in Rioja, Carlos [Charles] Serres left Bordeaux and founded one of the first wineries in the Haro area of Rioja in 1896. Fleeing phylloxera, Serres, an already famous French wine consultant, “found in Haro the perfect terroir to make Bordeaux style wines, with a climate and terrain which reminded him of the best terroirs in Bordeaux”. Merging French winemaking techniques with the Rioja terroir, Serres’ visionary approach focused on international export and was a phenomenal success. Forever changing the way wine was understood in the area, he remains “one of the key personalities in Rioja’s winemaking history”. Family owned and operated, with 150 acres of vineyards with an average vine age of over 30 years, it stands out as one of the few estates in the Rioja region that has been producing wine for over 100 years.

Winemaking: Hand-harvested grapes are from a select group of growers around Haro who have long-term, exclusive contracts with the estate. The vines average 10-20 years in age. The winery jointly manages the viticulture in these vineyards throughout the year to ensure maximum quality of fruit for these wines.

Tasting Notes: Light gold in colour with aromas of apple, lemon and traces of white blossoms. Crisp and airy with light flavours of apple and lemon complimented by fresh acidity. The dry, mineral driven finish adds to the overall sunny, breezy character.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Fish, shellfish, smoked meats and many types of fresh and lightly aged cheeses.

85% Viura and 15% Tempranillo Blanco
Rioja
Spain
Bottled at the Property by Carlos Serres S.L.
12.5% Alcohol
$10 [average price]
Enjoy now

 

Sample submitted for editorial consideration.

 

Filón Garnacha Calatayud 2015

Winery: The Filón winery is in Villarroya de la Sierra, one of the highest areas of the Calatayud DO, in Aragón, northeastern Spain. Filón is one of the family wineries in the Avivo Vino portfolio. Aviva Vino is a “passionate and dynamic marketing, sales and distribution organization”. Their portfolio of wines features family owned Spanish wineries, with a focus on “typicity, terroir and character”.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from old vine vineyards, 30-40 years in age. The vines are on steep hillsides [3,000 ft above sea level]. The soil is predominately quartzite and slate. Fermented in stainless steel, aged 3 months in used French oak barriques.

Tasting Notes: Red violet in colour with aromas of mixed berry jam, spice and a trace of slate minerality. Blackberry, black cherry and a hint of black currant frame a core of earth and spice. A bit of bitter chocolate and vanilla highlight the dry, spiced finish. Straightforward and a versatile companion at the table, this is a great value.

100% Garnacha
Calatayud
Spain
Bottled for Aviva Vino by R.E. 50/40864
14.5% Alcohol
$8
Enjoy now