Specialty Club – December 2011

2004 Bodegas López Cristobal, Ribera del Duero, Reserva
Most of our customers know the delicious wines of ex-bullfighter Santiago López from Small Vineyards Spanish tastings and classes. His young wine (called ”Roble” because it is aged in oak) and his elegant Crianza have always been very popular. Now we have been able to obtain a small amount of his flagship wine, the 2004 Reserva. Santiago started making wine in 1994 by planting 50 hectares of vineyards in nine different parcels in the village of Roa de Duero. As with almost all of the Ribera region, the soils are a clay-limestone composite, very favorable for Tempranillo and the small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown there. The grapes for this wine are hand-picked from his best lot, Finca Valera, and then they spend about 16 months in even amounts of French and American oak. The result is a deeply colored wine, redolent of ripe black fruits, spicy, concentrated, full-bodied and complex. While very tasty now, this Reserva should reach its peak in another five years or so. As with the great wines of the region, its fine tannins and savoriness make it a perfect match for all lamb dishes. Santiago made only 1,250 cases, a tiny amount for Ribera del Duero, but we were able to get a few additional bottles of the handful of cases that made it to Seattle. It’s $60.

2005 Cave de Tain, Hermitage Blanc, Au Coeur des Siécles
This wine was a giant hit at our northern Rhone tasting back in February of 2009, costing at that time $64. Imagine our shock when we were able to put it in the club for only $39.75! It is 100% Marsanne, from old vine parcels of Le Méal and La Croix on the hill of Hermitage, tended lovingly by members of the cooperative in the village at the base of that hill, Tain l’Hermitage. It is still a beautiful wine, although it probably should be consumed in the next couple of years. The label lists wonderful food pairings, particularly poultry dishes and fine old cheeses. We have brought in a substantial supply, since it is the holiday season. Enjoy!