Creative Juices Wine Blog

Creative Juices Wine Show: Episode 4 (w/Video)!

Posted in Bierzo, Mencía, Spain, Video, wine, Wine Reviews, Wine Tasting by CreativeJuicesWine on February 23, 2010

In Episode 4, Zak & Olena taste a 2001 Bierzo. Enjoy!

Bierzo is in the Northwest Corner of this Map. Cheers!

Creative Juices Wine Show: Episode 4!

Posted in Announcements, Bierzo, Mencía, Spain, wine, Wine Reviews, Wine Tasting by CreativeJuicesWine on February 23, 2010

Hey everyone! We just wanted to let you know that we finished taping Episode 4 of Creative Juices Wine Show moments ago, and it will be up for viewing shortly. This was a fun episode. We’re really excited, so when it posts, please check it out, and let us know what you think! Cheers!

Zak & Olena

Marques de Riscal Tempranillo-2006

Posted in Castilla y Leon, Spain, Tempranillo, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on November 16, 2009

For many of you, this name should sound familiar. The Bodegas de Riscal labels have shielded some quality wine in the past 10 years. Northwest of Rioja from the region of Castilla y Leon comes the 2006 vintage from Riscal. This is the third vintage that we have tasted from Riscal having had the 2003 and 2004 Reserva which come with a slightly higher price tag.

First of all, it’s a screwtop! It’s not everyday that one gets to drink an Old World wine with a screwtop. It is rather reassuring that whatever they put in this bottle is probably the same as the day they put it on the boat to the New World.  Ahh, screwtops… Either way, we decided to find out if this vintage lives up to previous vintages.

From the start we noticed the ruby coloration that transitioned outward towards the wine’s watery rim. Once we reached the watery rim, we knew exactly what we were in store for. Castilla y Leon is a wine growing region that only harvests its fruit from mature vines. In this wine’s case, we are looking at 30-40 year old vines.

On the nose there is a hint of minerality that is indicative of Old World soil profiles. Beyond the initial pleasantries that this Tempranillo offers, it displays notes of pepper, subtle red fruits (crushed cherry primarily) and a touch of toast, most likely from the 6 months of American Oak this wine saw prior to its bottling.

When consumed, this wine boasts flavors of dark berries (blackberries, blueberries, and black cherries) that lead into a mild clenching of the throat from that oak we talked about. The finish is reasonably long, giving hints of walnut skins. This drinks like a more expensive bottle would. We recommend this bottle to be drunk on its own, or with a Greek style sausage and cheese pizza. We award this bottle of Riscal 2006 Tempranillo a solid 88 points. Go buy a bottle today, and tell us what you think.  Cheers!

Cuatro Pasos 2007 Mencía, Bierzo, Spain

Posted in Bierzo, Spain, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on October 21, 2009

Last night, we opened a bottle of Cuatro Pasos. It is made from 100% Mencía, and comes from the Bierzo region in Northwestern Spain.  If you haven’t heard much about this grape, don’t feel bad.  It’s one of those grapes that there isn’t really a lot of hype over, but there will be.  The same goes for the region from which it is indigenous to.

The people of the Bierzo region have been growing grapes, and making wine for longer than this country has been in existence.  Then again, who hasn’t been?  Mencía, as a grape, is a very exotic fruit that produces some very interesting, World Class wines.  Bierzo is in our opinion, the next Mendoza in terms of wine growing areas.  The transition has already begun, and you will start to hear a lot more about the amazing wines coming out of these Spanish vineyards.

Cuatro Pasos (Four Steps) is made from grapes that are harvested from 80-90 year old vines.  This is a pleasant change from the everyday wines that we’ve grown accustomed to drinking.  Finding a rare varietal such as this, with a low price tag is always a good time.  The question, as always, is it any good?

Our Tasting Notes:

Date   10.20.09
Wine Name Cuatro Pasos
Maker Bodegas Martín Códax
Region Bierzo, Spain
Varietal Mencía
Vintage 2007
Alcohol 14%
Price $13

We tasted this bottle on October 20, 2009.  It came well-equipped with a 90 point score from Jay Miller at Wine Advocate, so it was safe to make an assumption that this was a good value wine.

Cuatro Pasos displays a dark ruby, opaque purple, midnight black coloration .  Luckily for those of us with night vision, it is still clear enough to see through.  You never know what kind of creatures you might meet on a black night.    Its light ruby rim showcases its playful youth, and leads one to believe, as we did as children, that there is a world of possibility in store for us.  That being said, the nose boasts little more than black peppery notes.  (We expected more from the nose, but found its offering sufficient.)  Once on the palette, it is rather dry.  Not unpleasantly so, but dry.  The tannins are short-lived, yet pronounced and well-developed, providing the wine with a solid backbone.  Flavors of strawberry rush in on the attack, but quickly retreat, succumbing to delightful flavors of cherry, blueberry, and black raspberry.  The mixture of red and black fruit comes off as bitter, yet remains balanced.  As the wine finishes, its acidity becomes present, which brings everything together the same way a nice area rug might in your living room.  The only downside is that after 10-15 seconds the flavor fizzes out, providing the same disappointment you might feel if you spilled this wine on that nice area rug that we mentioned before.  We award Cuatro Pasos with 88 points.

Overall, we enjoyed this wine thoroughly.  We were a little surprised that despite being aged in both French and American oak for 4 months, it went undetected.  Don’t let the 88 points we awarded it fool you into thinking this wine wasn’t a tasty treat.  That score is by no means a slap in the face.  Not only will we recommend this wine to friends (and we are recommending it to you now) we will also be drinking this wine again in the near future.

In terms of aging this wine, one will be able to lay this bottle down for the next 4-5 years, but we recommend going ahead and enjoying it now.  To answer our own question, yes, it was good.

Keep checking for future updates as we will certainly be providing them.

Zak & Olena

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Wine Class: Spain & Italy

Posted in Classes, Italy, Spain by CreativeJuicesWine on October 20, 2009

As a follow up to our California 101 class on October 10th, we will be hosting our second class this Saturday October 24th on the wines of Italy and Spain.  Our first class was a huge success, largely due in part to the amazing pairings provided to everyone by the amazing chef Rulis.  The idea behind the class, in case you missed the first one, is to educate a group of our peers in a relaxed atmosphere about the joy of pairing food and wine.  We taste, and discuss 8 different wines, and pair them with cuisine according to which region we are focused on during that particular class.
We sincerely hope that you can join us this Saturday for our continuation of wine education.  The location will be Rulis’ International Kitchen, 318 N. Mesa (In the historic, Hotel Cortez) El Paso, TX  79901.  For more information, please contact Raul Gonzalez at 915.541.9990.
Zak & Olena

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