Icon tasting, at last

Here’s a list of the wines at the Icon Wine Tasting hosted by Pancho Campo and the Wine Academy of Spain at the Warwick Hotel on October 23.

1. Gramona Cellar Batlle 1998 Cava. This producer in the Penedes was obviously a favorite of Pancho’s. Gramona is a doctor who in addition to making cava, does intense scientific studies on wine, especially with creating the perfect mousse, or foam on the wine. This wine, with a production of 1,500 bottles, is mostly xerel-lo and spent seven years on the lees. The green apple on the finish is typical of the grape, said Pancho; it was soft and creamy but still fresh with medium plus acid, for its age.  It was pretty delicious, not too yeasty, but a heft of breadiness with the crisp acid.

2. Ossian 2007 Rueda. Another Pancho favorite is winemaker Javier Zaccagnini of Ossian, who makes 100 percent verdejo Rueda using organic viticulture, prephylloxera vines and new French barrels. Pancho set off a bit of a hub bub when he pronounced this creamy Burgundian white Spain’s number one wine. Gerry Dawes, who writes on Spanish food and wine, defended godellos and trexiduras, but Pancho, former competitor that he is, stood firm and praised this producer for doing something different that would help bring more attention and progress to Spanish wine. The wine spent eight months in French oak made by four different coopers. It did smell like white burgundy and tasted pretty good. How’s that for a comprehensive tasting note?

3. Lopez de Heredia Bosconia Gran Reserva 1981. From the famous Lopez in Rioja, where the firm produces the best of the last of old style Rioja, using American oak and an oxidized style. This wine spent six years in barrel and six years in bottle before release. It’s 80 percent tempranillo, 15 percent grenache; the remainder is a mix of mazuelo (carignan) and graciano. To me it just smells oxidized. OK, it’s a style, and OK you’re supposed to love Lopez if you know anything about wine, but you know what? I wouldn’t choose to drink it. Now I take that back. Of course, I’d drink it. There has to be a time and place for it and I’m willing to put myself there.

4. Eguren Vinedos de Paganos La Nieta 2004. (Clumsy website, with music.) Google this one and find “98 RP ONLY 600 BOTTLES IMPORTED!” Pancho talked of the control freak winemaker Marcos Eguren. the 100 percent old vines tempranillo. The 18 months in French oak. How it is Burgundian in style, a lighter wine, fruity, slightly flowery. I thought it was too oaky, but maybe I don’t have enough experience to know how big, fat Riojas age.

There were 12 wines. The rest in future posts. I have to go watch the election returns.


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