Wine Tasting Session on Jan 13, 2005

Wine Tasting on 13/1/05

The 1st wine-tasting session for year 2005 was a success with 24 Members and friends attending.

The following is the introduction to Spanish wines prepared for the occasion by Dr. Anthony Cheng :

Spain has more land under vines but ranks only 3rd in terms of quantity in wine production. Prior to 1990s few wine lovers would turn to Spain for fine wines. It was the place for rustic, easy drinking and cheap Riojas. However when you talk about sherry, Spain is the country that comes first to the mind.

Wine-making has a long history in Spain. The quality was brought down by the archaic wine laws and stubborn traditional vinification methods. The wines were kept too long in wooden casks until the fruit was almost gone and the wine close to being oxidized. In the late 1980s there was a huge wave of revolution in wine making in anticipation of the advent of the European Common Market. Spanish vineyards represented cheap real estate for investors in making a new global style of Spanish wines. Old bodegas (vineyards) were torn down to make room for modern ones with state of the art infrastructure. Dirty wooden vats were thrown out to be replaced by stainless steel ones with digital temperature control. Young makers returned home from their internship in Bordeaux, Adelaide and Napa Valley to reorganize their family-owned bodegas and to revitalize their wine-making practice. The result is a surge of good to very fine red wines from Spain.

Spanish white wines taste rather neutral with few surprises. Red wines reign supreme. At present the most exciting areas in the wine-making world are — Spain, Southern France, Argentina and the Southern Italy.

Some great wines have been coming out recently from Spain. I am impressed by Dominico de Pingus, Hacienda Monasterio, Pesquera and Abadia Retuerta in Ribera del Duero. Artadi and Muga in Rioja, Clos Modador and Alvaro Palacios (esp. its L’Ermita) in Priorato and Numanthia in Toro. Of course there is always the king of Spanish red–Vega Sicilia.

Wines for the evening :
1. Artadi’s Vinas de Gain 1999 (Rioja)
2. Artazui 2001 (Navarra)
3. Capanes Mas Donis 2001 (Terragona)
4. Hacienda Monasterio 1995 (Ribera del Duero)
5. Castano Hecula 2001 (Yecla)

Dr. Anthony Cheng

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