Exploring Trepat – 2014 Succés “La Cuca De Llum” Conca De Barbera

Trepat is a grape that is probably unfamiliar to most people as it seems to just be finding its way into wine shops and onto wine lists across the US.  Trepat is native to the Catalonia region of Spain and was predominantly used as a blending grape in Cava until a few wineries began making 100% Trepat around a decade ago.  I recently had the chance to taste a few different Trepats and was very impressed with 2014 Succés “La Cuca De Llum” Conca De Barbera. The wine comes from 35 year old vines and is fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel.

Succes La Cuca De Llum Conca De Barbera
Succés “La Cuca De Llum” Conca De Barbera

Succés “La Cuca De Llum” delivers an incredible value for the price.  Tastes of slate, green olives, herbs, and white pepper are interwoven with bright red fruit.  Light-bodied with a Beaujolais-like character, this wine really won me over.  Grab a bottle, drink slightly chilled, and enjoy! ($17, 12.5% alcohol)

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Bodegas Olivares 2011 “Altos de la Hoya” Jumilla

Even though I drink a lot of Mourvedre from France and California, I rarely pick up a bottle from Spain.  In Spain, Mourvedre is known as Monastrell and is often grown in the heat prone region of Jumilla.  While sometimes the wines produced in Jumilla are hot and overpowering, Bodegas Olivares 2011 “Altos de la Hoya” Jumilla is balanced and enjoyable.  It is well-made and priced low enough to be a great, everyday value.

Bodegas Olivares "Altos de la Hoya" Jumilla
Bodegas Olivares “Altos de la Hoya” Jumilla

Technical Stuff

A blend of 90% Monastrell and 10% Garnacha from Jumilla. Native fermentation. 14% alcohol. Retail price of around $12/bottle.

Tasting notes

Bodegas Olivares “Altos de la Hoya” Jumilla features aromas of cassis, blackberry, and dried flowers. The palate is bold and fruit-forward with tastes of black fruit, spice, minerals, and earth.  With soft tannins and a long finish, this wine definitely over delivers for its price point!  Pair with grilled meats.

For more info, visit Bodegas Oliveras

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Verasol 2011 Tempranillo-Garnacha

I was exploring a few wines from the Navarra region of Spain and stumbled across a unique blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha from Verasol.  After a slew of generic wines, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this bottle given its approachable price of $12.

Verasol 2011 Tempranillo Garnacha
Verasol 2011 Tempranillo Garnacha

Technical Stuff

A blend of 60% Tempranillo and 40% Garnacha from 20 to 30 year-old organically farmed vines.  Fermented in concrete and bottled unfiltered.  13.5% alcohol.

Tasting Notes

Enticing aromas of dark fruit with hints of herbs and minerals.  Full-bodied with ripe, dark fruit and balanced acidity.  Not complex, but an honest, flavorful wine. Paired really well with BBQ wings.

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Viña Ijalba Livor 2012 Tempranillo

I stopped by Domaine LA a few weeks ago and a bottle of Viña Ijalba Livor Tempranillo caught my eye.  To be honest, I have spent so much time drinking wines from France, Italy, and California lately that I have been skipping over Spain almost entirely.  This bottle turned out to be a great, everyday find and I am glad I strayed away from my normal routine!

Technical Stuff

100% Tempranillo from the Rioja region of Spain.  Organically farmed.  13% alcohol and a retail price of around $10.

Viña Ijalba 2012 Livor Tempranillo
Viña Ijalba 2012 Livor Tempranillo

Tasting Notes

Aromas of bright cherries and spice are followed with straightforward tastes of juicy, red fruit and hints of herbs.  The finish is spicy and the acidity is balanced.  A terrific mid-week wine that pairs really well with lamb or pork!

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Bielsa 2011 Campo de Borja Garnacha

I was very intrigued last week when I came across a naturally made wine from the Campo de Borja region of Spain.  I had only tried conventionally made wines from the region in the past and was not aware of any producers straying from the norm. Bielsa is doing things a bit differently and their 2011 Garnacha is organically grown from 45+ year-old vines.  It is unfiltered, unoaked, and has 13.5% alcohol.

Bielsa 2011 Campo de Borja Garnacha
Bielsa 2011 Campo de Borja Garnacha

Tasting Notes

Very seductive nose with intense, smokey aromas.  The smokiness continues on the palate along with rich tastes of strawberry, licorice, plum, and spice.  As you continue to sip, hints of minerals also begin to show.  A delicious wine that drinks way beyond its price point! ($12)

My Wine Rating – B+

Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with pulled pork sandwiches, smoked ribs, or mushroom quesadillas.

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Mini-Review – Beronia Tempranillo 2009

After taking a sip of the nicely priced Tempranillo, I knew I wanted to share it with you guys.  Beronia Tempranillo comes from the Rioja region of Spain and, in my opinion, is a really terrific find from the region. 

The nose has aromas of dark berries and cedar.  Flavors of black cherries, plums, and a hint of anise compose the wine’s silky palate.  Supple tannins and a long finish make this an incredible sipper for under $15!  Pair with lamb chops or seafood paella.  (B+)

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Mini-Review – 2010 Espelt Garnacha “Old Vines”

I picked up this wine from importer Eric Solomon because I really enjoyed one of his French wines a few weeks ago.  The wine, 100 % Garnacha, is biodynamically farmed from 91-year-old vines in Spain.

This tasty wine offers aromas of earth, raspberries, and currants.  The palate is rich and full of flavor.  There are tastes of raspberries, black cherries, rosemary, and anise with healthy acidity.  Intense and multidimensional, this is a great wine to pair with manchego cheese or lamb. (B+, $12)

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Mini-Review – 2010 Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Cariñena

As I was perusing the wine aisles of Whole Foods for a few bottles of wine, I reached for a bottle of 2010 Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Cariñena.  I was intrigued by the low price point and wanted to see if the bottle delivered a nice value because good, inexpensive wines are sometimes hard to find at Whole Foods.

2010 Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Cariñena has aromas of tobacco, plum, and cherries.  The palate is smooth with flavors of berries, cherries, and a hint of spice.  Simple, clean flavors that are easy to sip with casual fare (think pizza or sirloin).  A decent wine for a very fair price! (B, $8, 12.5%)

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Mini-Review – Herencia Altés 2011 Garnacha Blanca

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my tasty experience with Herencia Altés 2011 Garnacha Negra.  I enjoyed the wine so much I decided to pick up a bottle of Herencia Altés 2011 Garnacha Blanca.  To my delight, this bottle delivered just as much value and flavor.

The nose has abundant aromas of tropical fruit and wildflowers and the palate is refreshing and bright.  Flavors of lychee, oranges, and sweet peaches tingle in your mouth.  The vibrant flavors fade slowly in the lengthy finish.  I definitely recommend giving this juicy, balanced wine a try!  Pair with crab cakes, seafood paella, or veggie tacos.  or  (B+, $12, 12.95%)

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Mini-Review – Herencia Altés 2011 Garnacha Negra

Want a rich, delicious wine that will satisfy your palate and your wallet?  If so, you may want to read on!  Herencia Altés 2011 Garnacha Negra is 100% Garnacha from the Terra Alta region of Spain.  Although it is young, it is totally approachable and ready to be sipped. 

This dark garnet, mouth-staining wine has aromas of red cherries, cocoa, and minerals.  The palate is juicy and rich.  There are indulgent, sweet tastes of red berries, cherries, anise, and pepper with silky tannins.  A terrific value and a very tasty wine!  Pair with grilled meats or dark chocolate. (B+, $12, 14%)

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