Let us concentrate on a winery that concentrates on red wine, and red wine only. Yes, we will need some concentration from you also! In the Mittelburgenland region of Austria you will find the village of Horitschon and within this village you will find Rotweingut Iby (Red winery Iby). Yes, this wine house grows and produces only red wines of the highest quality possible. There is no outside sourcing of fruit and the vineyard and cellar practices are extremely rigorous. At Iby the goal is a simple one: to produce wines that rich, full and harmonious. Since the beginning of the 20th century Iby has been naturally cultivating vines on there 20 hectares of vineyards. They make multiple passes during the growing season in order to thin and concentrate the yields that will eventually be harvested completely by hand. Depending on the varietal, some will be aged in oak some will not. The following two are un-oaked wines that are great examples. 2000 Iby Blaufränkisch Hochäcker ($14.99) A clean, full bodied wine with ripe tannin and a soft, juicy acidity. The dark ruby color will lead you into a world of fully ripened cherries and dark berries and then linger on your palate teasing you palate into wanting more. I'm sure Jim Barr would be willing to give this nine doggies!!! 2003 Iby Zweigelt Classic ($11.99) If you are wanting something that has a bit more weight and concentration, this could be right up your alley. Some even say this could be the Austrian equivalent to a spicy Cotes du Rhone. A perfect springtime BBQ wine, I think Jim would give this one eight kitty faces!!! —Eric Story
The Spanish dish that I most closely associate with wine is paella. When we recently tried the 2004 Bodegas Mustiguillo Mestizaje ($13.99), I immediately imagined myself in the countryside enjoying this wine while waiting for and then eating paella. Fifty percent of this wine is bobal, a grape that Bodega Mustiguillo seems to single-handedly put into the category of fine wine grapes (The remaining proportion is cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and grenache). Dark cherries, and a lot of them, on the nose and the palate. Spiced and accentuated with oak, flowers and minerals. Medium bodied, supple and elegant, it has soft tannins and a fresh long finish. Also try it alongside roast chicken, pork, veal or simply jamon y quesa. The next two wines’ structure and size makes them cry out for meat! Roasted, broiled, braised and grilled. The 2001 Cillar de Silos, Ribera del Duero Crianza ($24.99) has a delicious Graves-like note of minerality to it. This is not a shy wine, with plenty of ripe, dark fruits and toasty oak on the nose. On the palate it is big, with concentrated red and dark fruits, chewy tannins, spicy oak and a considerable finish. Drink tonight with about an hour of decanting or cellar for a few more years. The 2001 Bodegas Balbas, Ribera del Duero Crianza ($21.99) has more of a Crus Bourgeois Exceptionnels character, think Poujeaux with American oak. Dark cherries, berries, earth and sweet oak dominate the nose. On the palate this has more dark fruits that are accented with a pleasant tobacco earthy spice. Medium to full-bodied with good structure, there is a seamless quality to this wine that makes it a pleasure to drink. —Kirk Walker
As I put this column together, I am preparing for a buying trip to Spain! Look for an update in the May newsletter! 2004 Las Rocas de San Alejandro, Garnacha, Calatayud ($7.99) 89 points Stephen Tanzer: “...Perfumed aromas of liqueur-like dark berries and black cherry, licorice and spicy oak. Smooth, ripe, fat and full, with an enticing dark cherry flavor. This is wonderfully lush and pliant for a red wine under $10. Finishes with big, mouthdusting tannins and lingering sweetness. Exceptional value.” 2004 Bodegas Y Vinedos Maurodos Prima, Toro ($14.99) Wow! An awesome wine for an awesome price! Made by famous Spanish winemaker, Mariano Garcia, this tempranillo packs a punch with loads of ripe cherry/blackberry fruit, a lush mid-palate, and a long spicy finish. The plush mouth feel is balanced with bright acidity and a little kick of tannin. Enjoy this red with grilled leg of lamb! 2003 Celler de Capcanes Mas Donis Barrica ($10.99) 92 points Robert Parker: “...aged ten months in both American and French oak. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by sumptuous aromas of blueberries, black currants, cold steel, and minerals. Evocative of a baby Priorat, it possesses an amazing fragrance, considerable nobility as well as complexity, medium to full body, and a long, concentrated, heady finish. Enjoy it over the next 5-7 years.” 2003 Bodegas Castano Solanera, Yecla ($11.99) 91 points Robert Parker: “...a beautiful blend of 75% Mourvedre and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. A dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by a smoky, scorched earth-scented nose displaying notions of black cherry jam, licorice, and truffles. Ripe and medium to full-bodied, with wonderful sweetness, it possesses purity, suppleness, and balance…another example of why Spain is beating virtually every other viticultural area in the world when it comes to high quality wines that sell for a song.” Saludos! —Anne Pickett, email@example.com
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