We’ve started a new series here at Vinos Y Más. Many of you have seen our various vintage Butcher’s Block tables in our two stores in SoHo. We have over 600 selections in our wine shop so we’re doing a weekly series where we highlight 5 bottles that are drinking great. Bottles from producers we love, and with a cool story to tell.
This week check out the following:
What Comando G can do with the grape Garnacha is basically limitless. They have certainly hit there mark here again with this delightful Gredos-creation. As per their model: old vines at a minimum of 50 years, from a few select parcels grown in the mountains and in this case harvested a touch early to avoid overly ripe and alcoholic grapes. The wine tastes like a purple parade down flavor town. Or more seriously, like a wine you would like to drink with Ultra Crispy Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder. Elegant, lithe, and unlike any Garnacha you’ve ever tried.
To those that know, Juan Antonio is THE Prince of Bobal (the grape) coming from Manchuela. We’ve loved his wines for years at this point and often carry his entire lineup. The “Pino” is 37 year old, organically-farmed Bobal fermented with natural yeasts and whole-clusters. This brings out a complex and multi-faceted note that is not found in younger Bobal-based wines (i.e.: not the simple fruity style but something more serious and delicious). Its deep, dark, with a hint at floral notes and some savory notes. You want this with charcuterie or with a spicy-sausage pasta.
It seems almost ridiculous to write about the wines from Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr. They are gifted, with expert winemaking genes coursing through their veins. It doesn’t hurt that their parents were also winemakers, thus passing down guidance and insight on the terroir of Priorat, Montsant, and Cataluña. ‘Venus’ is the project that came after “years of searching for beauty and looking for femininity from the earth.” Sounds like something you might like to drink, no? “Mystery, seduction, balance, and passion” describe this Garnatxa/Carignan/Syrah blend that is the perfect Mediterranean red, on the fuller-side.
From northern Tenerife in the Canary Islands, comes this fantasy tale of farmer-turned-winemaker, Dolores Cabrera. For years she cared for grapes organically, partially certified which is very costly, and sold them off to other wineries. The soil here is very special, all decomposed volcanic ash, which is rare and only found in a few other countries like Italy and Greece. In 2013 she began to vinify and bottle herself. And we’re so glad she did! Listan Negro is the king grape in these lands, which she de-stems and eventually lets it rest in old Burgundian barrels. Filled with all those lovely red-foresty fruits, with cracked peppercorns, and lingering minerality. Grill up some octopus, make a wood-fired pizza, or serve it with a slight chill on its own. Mmmmm!
Prieto Picudo is not (yet) a grape that rolls off the tongue. Hailing from Castilla Y León, and basically no where else in the world, this is a grape that is packed with dark, dusty earth, very strong tannins, and a far amount of acidity to boot. Sometimes we describe them similar to the grape Tennat (equally as obscure to most people). Basically, open this wine with plenty of time to breathe and order a half-pound of brisket from Mighty Quinn’s and you’re all set!
We are constantly on the hunt for special and rare bottles with some age. After all, that is one of the many things that makes Spain so unique in the wine world. Historically speaking, Bodegas would cellar their wines until they were ready to drink; never releasing wine too young.
Recently we found the holy grail straight from a private cellar, virtually untouched, outside of Madrid. There was a gentleman who owned a restaurant and was a bit of a bon vivant/gourmand. He excessively collected cases of Rioja upon release and slipped them quietly into his underground cellar for decades. Most people had no idea he was even amassing such a collection!
He passed away a year or so ago, leaving his goldmine in the hands of his sons. There is more wine than time to drink it, so they have been selling off small quantities of their father’s stock. Moved only once from the bodega to the cellar and then a second time to NYC, these bottles are in impeccable condition. If you’re a fan of aged wine – the great old Barolos, Burgundies, and Bordeaux then this is a virtual candy shop of treasures. The prices are also fantastic, for the amount of age and condition the bottles are in.
The wines we purchased are from the late 50s – 80s, a time when labeling and rules were a little different, especially in Rioja. You will not find the same designations as in modern times. Although bottles were commonly aged in barrel beyond the level of a Gran Reserva in the past, by labeling it a ‘Crianza’ meant you paid less in taxes to the government. Clever vignerons! This is the first email in a series that we will send, giving you first access to these rare bottles before we list them online.
Quantities are incredibly limited on these wines so let us know if you’re interested.
Berberana Carta de Oro 1966
Researching blends is difficult for wines of this era, though it appears likely that this Crianza has some Garnacha and Mazuelo in addition to being predominantly Tempranillo. As with aged wine, this is crimson-garnet with clarity at the rim. The nose is that perfect combination of sweet mature fruit, dried flowers (petals) and cigar box. Much like us as we age into maturity, we begin flesh out and become lean. The body on this bottle is a gentle medium. With a gorgeous nose like old Burgundy, this aged Rioja is rare treasure from the cellar.
This wine is very much alive, with lively acidity and delicate, silky red fruit. The tannins have softly matured. A sheer pleasure for those who enjoy older wines. We recommend using a Durand key to open this with care, as corks are delicate at this point in its life. We’ve tasted through several bottles of the gem and are very happy with the harmony showing here.
A special dinner of Filet Mignon in delicate béarnaise sauce sounds like something we’d like to be eating with this wine. But it would also be lovely to drink a bottle with a close friend and think about food later.
CVNE Cune Monopole, Rioja Blanco, 1981 (375ml)
This is a crazy bottle of Rioja Blanco, made of mostly Viura with a fantastic addition of Manzanilla from Jerez. Yes, you read that right. CVNE is one of the top Bodegas in Rioja Alta, and this style of wine, as classic as it was, is almost unheard of nowadays. Color is light pale golden with aromas of apple, pear, and ground almonds. Remarkably it has a serious amount of acidity, and drinks rather youthful and vibrant.
A true treat from the past – history in a small bottle – that would be great with seared scallops or omakase sushi because of the complexity and length on the finish. Serve chilled, but not too cold, to capture the nuances here in this special wine.