Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tasting: Dominio de Valdepusa Wines

At the winery, we got to taste the whole range of wines, all from 2003. These are some of Spain top-rated wines…for more information on the winery, see the article below.

These are really impressive wines! With careful and high tech viticulture this winery is able to produce balanced wines in an extremely hot area of Spain. The problem in hot weather is that by the time the tannins are ripe the fruit is over-ripe and the acid levels are quite low. These wine all retained a freshness, despite being big intense wines. An outstanding series of wines!

The winery has three main grape varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petit Verdot. They are starting to introduce Graciano, a grape native to Rioja, which they feel has the potential to make world class varietal wines.

1. El Rincon 2003: This actually a Vino de Madrid, from a different estate near Madrid. The vineyards there are higher in altitude, giving a cooler climate. The wine is 90% Syrah, 10% Garnacha. 10 months in French oak. 14.5% alcohol. 55,000 bottles produced. 19 euros.
Tasting note: Chocolate, mint and mineral, liqueur cherry fruit in the nose. The nose and mouth are very intense. Very potent mouth, mineral with fruit, fresh acidity. Intense tannins could use a little more time in bottle. Very nice Vino de Madrid!

2. Summa Varietalis 2003: This is the considered the everyday drinking wine of Dominio de Valdepusa. It is by far the biggest production at 120,000 bottles. It has the most accessible price at 19 euros. The coupage can change every year but this vintage it was 60% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot. 12 months in French oak. 14% alcohol.
Tasting note: Spicy oak notes in the nose. Complex with cherry jam fruit and vanilla. Herbal with hints of rosemary. The mouth showed similar notes…very ripe wine…shows it's hot origins, yet retains an easy elegance. Very smooth and easy to drink. Tannins less intense than in the El Rincon. Very nice...a lot easier to drink than the Summa 2002, which had been a little more structured.

3. Cabernet Sauvignon 2003: This is the first of the varietal line..there are plans to add Graciano to the line of Cabernet, Syrah and Petit Verdot. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon…12-14 months in French oak. 14.5% alcohol. 25 euros. Tasting note: Blueberry, cassis and black pepper nose…very complex. Perfectly ripe Cabernet nose….not a hint of the bell pepper! In the mouth it is firmly structured but fleshed out with this intense, super ripe cassis fruit and good acidity. Long, long finish with both fruit and tannic components. Very silky mouthfeel. Intense, yet elegant and fresh. My favorite of the day!!!

4. Syrah 2003: 100% Syrah, 12-14 months in French oak, 14.5% alcohol, 25 euros.
Tasting note: Really attractive nose with blackberry and violet but a little simpler than the Cab. Very smooth and fleshy mouth, very pleasant, but alcohol shows more here. Really drinkable, but not my favorite vintage of the Syrah.

5. Petit Verdot 2003: 100% Petit Verdot (one of the few!), 12-14 months in French oak, 14.5%, 25 euros.
Tasting note: Sweet Cranberry, cedar notes with a candy like character and a slight nail polish remover note. Intense, complex nose. In the mouth…very intense! Sweeter fruit, blueberry burst in the mouth then elegant structure. Huge tannins…the most concentrated of the wines. Good balance and fresh acidity. Huge wine! No for the faint hearted. Loved it!

6. Emeritus 2003: This is the top of the line, for now! The winery plans to come out with a new top cuvée in Fall 2007. The coupage varies but is always based on Cabernet Sauvignon, with some Petit Verdot and Syrah. This vintage the CS is 55%. 24 months in new French oak, 12 months separated by variety, and 12 months after the coupage is made. 55 euros.
Tasting note: Fine, elegant oak notes, spice and coffee, with complex red fruit. Very elegant and complex…more restrained nose than the varietal series of wines. Perfect balance in mouth with fresh, elegant fruit support by great structure and oak. Excellent length with super fine tannins. A keeper! Definitely the most impressive wine, but not the one I would usually choose to drink….it's the varietal Cabernet for me!


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barry said...

I think despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France.
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