Saturday, November 26, 2016

Serious Bargains from Spain & Portugal

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

It's no secret that Spain and Portugal are home to seriously delicious wines at very reasonable prices. If your annual wine budget is getting maxed out, some of these wines might be a great way to make it through the holiday season.

This week we're focusing on a few wines apiece from three producers. Senda/Verde is a group of Spanish wines from Bierzo and the northern coastal region of Galicia, while Bodegas Carlos Serres is a purveyor of solid, inexpensive Rioja. Lastly, Faisão producers good, cheap wines from Vinho Verde and Dão in Portugal.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2015 Senda Verde Albariño Rías Baixas - Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas
SRP: $13
Ripe yellow color. Nose of juicy white peaches, guava and pineapple, along with sea breeze and white flowers. Plump texture on the palate but bright, crisp acidity. Flavors of white peach and lime drizzled on papayas, backed up by minerals, seashells, honeysuckle. A clean, refreshing wine with a lot to offer. More people should be checking out Rias Baixas Albarinos like this one. Considering the price tag, there's nothing to lose. (86 points) 

2015 Senda Verde Treixadura Ribeiro - Spain, Galicia, Ribeiro
SRP: $13
Medium yellow color. Fresh sliced green apples and pears on the nose along with citrus peel, flower shop and sugar cane. Light- to medium-bodied with a slight creaminess to the mouthfeel and zesty acidity. Peach nectar, mango, a shot of lime, the fruit is blended with notes of cut flowers, honeysuckle and hints of chalk. Juicy, fun, fresh stuff. A cheap and good excuse to explore this interesting grape variety, which is grown on the banks of the Mino River. (86 points)

2015 Senda Verde Godello Bierzo - Spain, Castilla y León, Bierzo
SRP: $13
Lemon peel colored. Bright aromas of honeysuckle, nettle, white pepper, on top of green pears and apples and papaya. Crisp acidity but a creamy mouthfeel combined with juicy but tart fruit (green apples, pears, limes drizzled on papaya). A bright sense of minerality, white flowers, chalk and salty breeze. Godello is such a cool variety, such freshness and vibrancy but packed with delicious flavors, and this is a great intro. (87 points)

2015 Bodegas Carlos Serres Rioja Blanco - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $10
Lighty yellow color. Aromas of lime, green apples, sea salt, oregano and cut flower stems. Tart acidity, bright and crisp, with white flowers, perfume and nettle on top of green apples and kiwi. Not complex but offers a perfect, tangy, inexpensive, delicious white Rioja. At $10 a pop, this is a perfect bistro white wine for salads, cheese, oysters and hot days. 85% Viura, 15% Tempranillo Blanco. (87 points)

2015 Bodegas Carlos Serres Tempranillo Old Vines - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $10
Light ruby color. Smoky, earthy, tobacco-laden red fruit on the nose (red apple, strawberry). Medium-bodied with light, simple tannins and vibrant, lip-smacking acidity. Red apple and raspberry mix with black cherry, roasted coffee, scorched earth and tobacco. Juicy, fresh, earthy, pleasant wine for early consumption. All Tempranillo from 20+ year-old vines. (85 points)

2012 Bodegas Carlos Serres Rioja Crianza - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $12
Medium ruby color. Smells of tart raspberries and strawberries with notes of smoke, tar, tobacco and hay. Fresh and tangy on the palate with light tannins and bright acid. Tart and juicy raspberries accented with campfire, tobacco, pipe resin and fallen leaves. Fresh and flavorful and good value. Tempranillo with 15% Garnacha, aged 14 months in French and American oak and six months in bottle. (86 points)

2010 Bodegas Carlos Serres Rioja Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $15
Deep ruby color. Aromas of red and black cherries, spice coffee, fallen leaves and pipe tobacco. Silky tannins, vibrant acid, this wine shows a fresh and juicy core of black cherry and pomegranate. I get hints of smoky earth, herbal spice, incense and violets. Silky, fresh but complex and showing very well right now. Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, aged 24 months in American and French oak and 12 months in bottle. (88 points)

2015 Faisão Vinho Verde - Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
Not great, but great for 8 bucks.
SRP: $8
Pale lemon color with a slight spritz. Aromas of white peaches, juicy pineapple, lots of white and yellow flowers. Bright and light-bodied on the palate with some slight sweetness but crisp acidity. White peaches galore, guava, lime, this is a fun, fruity, floral and pleasantly easy-drinking Vinho Verde. A blend of 40% Arinto, 30% Trajadura, 30% Loureiro. (84 points) 

2015 Faisão Vinho Verde Rosé - Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $8
Pale salmon color. Smells salty and tart with white cherries, strawberry greens and rose hips. Bright and tart on the palate, light-bodied, with flavors of watermelon, white cherries, strawberry rhubarb. Notes of sugar cane and floral perfume make this a fun rosé for salads, apps and picnics. A blend of Espadeiro, Borracal and Padeiro. (84 points)

2014 Faisão Dão - Portugal, Beiras, Dão
SRP: $8
Medium ruby colored. Smells of smoky cherries, raspberries, white pepper and tomato greens. Medium-bodied with a fleshy texture, soft tannins and bright acidity. Juicy raspberries and strawberries with pepper, smoke, light roast coffee. Fresh and fruit, simple but pleasant, a nice bistro or barbecue red. A blend of Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro and Touriga Nacional. (85 points)

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