Wine region / Country
Alto Moncayo Veraton 2010 (2 bottles)
Viña Tondonia Reserva 2001 (2 bottles)
Edetària Blanc 2011 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £114.65
Club Discount Price: £97.64
You save: £17.02 (14.84%)
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Red Crianza. Bodegas Alto Moncayo Campo de Borja, Spain Grenache
Bottle: £16.91 club members / £19.26 non-members
This Veratón, for example, from Alto Moncayo, a winery which boasts the famous Australian oenologist Chris Ringland, is a totally pure mountain Garnacha, made using grapes from old vineyards, very impressive; and so too are its name, its label and the choice of bottle. A lovely, lovely wine: dense, lively, rich and refined.
Once in the glass, Veratón exhibits thick tears and a vivacious, bright colour, so we are expecting a real beauty. Forget the idea that Garnacha has no colour! On the nose it is decidedly rich with restrained power; there is no doubting its potential and vigour, yet all the aromas come through in a perfectly balanced and smooth way, in harmony: creamy ageing notes showing good integration, juicy fruit aromas of red and black fruits, fresh and ripe fruit, with forest berry notes, spicy and balsamic hints too, and smoky touches… It is a complex and powerful wine, ready to delight us on the nose but ending up by enchanting us on the palate: fresh, sinewy, meaty, very intense and flavoursome, with suggestions of liqueur and earthy notes, on a mineral background. Its elegance is most apparent and the tannins come over as polished, auguring a long life ahead for this wine. The aftertaste continues the flavour of red and black fruit and a rich-sweet feel, not overly sweet but definitely rich, appealing, elegant and seductive. What about another one? Just remember when you finish the bottle: this tasty Garnacha contains 15.5% alcohol!
Oven-cooked meats / game dishes / lamb with fine herbs / beefburgers / pasta with bolognese sauce
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Red Reserva. Bodegas R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Grenache, Graciano, Mazuelo
Bottle: £16.56 club members / £18.86 non-members
But let us focus on the wine and without further ado open one of their Reservas, a Reserva from such an excellent vintage as 2001 (what a one to pick!). We can begin by asking ourselves: how many wines of this vintage can we still get hold of today, from Rioja or any other region? It is exceptional and demonstrates this house’s magnificence: only time and resting in the best conditions can ensure enjoyment of a great wine. That unhurried state, that slow evolution..., which makes us associate these ultra special wines with autumn and even winter; they inspire serenity, recollection, silence, as wines for reflection, with that touch of class. So let us indulge in a taste of luxury.
We finally open the bottle and its past is soon confirmed by the ruby red colour, evolved but still intense, now tinged with brick-red on the rim. A fine wine which, when brought close to the nose, utterly charms us with its refinement and subtlety. It releases gentle aromas, of ripe fruit, fresh and extremely pleasant aromas, with no harsh notes; everything is perfectly combined; once again, this is a fine wine. It caresses the palate on entry, yet not a wine to be termed complex, nor having a huge amount of body. However, what it does offer is a wonderful experience: it is an elegant and refined wine, sinewy and fresh, enveloping and balanced. A classic with personality, a classic brimming with life.
NOTE: Viña Tondonia was the house’s first brand name and intrinsically too the main vineyard - a beautiful vineyard covering more than 100 hectares, located on the right bank of the River Ebro, shaping the landscape with alluvial soils, limestone and black poplar trees, which the winery’s founder, Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, planted in 1913-1914 out of a desire for quality assured, starting at the vineyard, where work is carried out manually.
Roast lamb / roast suckling pig / oven-baked quails / foie gras
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Barrel Aged white. Edetària Terra Alta, Spain White Grenache, Macabeo
Bottle: £15.35 club members / £19.21 non-members
For producing this white wine, Joan Ángel Lliberia has three aces in his hand: excellent quality Garnacha Blanca grapes, from old vineyards which he has been able to acquire over time following the wise advice of his father, an acknowledged local expert; land with exceptional characteristics for growing the Garnacha variety, the Terra Alta, where the soils are extremely poor but with good drainage; and fine oak, basing his selection on experience (for fermentation and ageing he uses large 500-litre French oak barrels).
As soon as you pour out a glass, you will appreciate that this is no ordinary wine: although still young at the moment, its tonality of bright new gold and the density of its tears herald a creamy wine, and the first impact on the nose suggests an intensely mineral and particularly saline wine. Since all good wine needs a little time to breathe, we therefore recommend decanting and noticing how it evolves.
With some aeration or by swirling the glass, the aromas come alive, keeping nicely in harmony. Close your eyes and visualise a meadow of fresh grass full of flowers – that’s what you’ll find on the nose; take a slow sip and you will notice the saltiness on your lips, like taking a dip in the sea.
The ageing comes over in a very subtle and elegant way, with pleasant notes of dried wild mushrooms, fresh-baked white bread newly sliced, fresh almonds and chestnuts, and endows the wine with a creamy mouth-feel, and good volume which becomes more expansive and lengthy. In short, complexity and unity with no discordant notes, underpinned by an incredible, gentle acidity and great persistence. A balanced wine, with a long life ahead, that leaves a taste in the mouth mid-way between sweet and smoky, like candied fruits, so quite honestly, a Christmassy finish.
Seafood / lobster / red tuna / cuttlefish / grilled squid / rice with wild mushrooms / mild patés / cheese with dried fruit and nuts
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