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Wines of Spain could be the tasting of the year

By Staff
Aug. 15, 2001
I feel as if I had been digging around in the back yard and discovered a vein of gold.
Next week's "Wines of Spain" tasting has me as excited as any tasting we've had this year and we've had some that could only be called outstanding.
I don't know as much about Spanish wines as I would like to know and a lot less than I will come next Thursday. Some of what little knowledge I have has been picked up in the past few days. As some of you know, I am privileged to review wines for the State of Mississippi ABC Board. Each month, we agree on wines to taste and in turn I provide reviews for their monthly catalog.
Something new
Recently they sent over three bottles of Spanish red, only one with which I was familiar. All I can tell you is they were stunning. One earned a 90 on the 100 point scale and another 92. I am not a pushover when it comes to evaluating what is in a bottle, so I assure you these were top quality in every way. Even the third and lesser rated was a wine of enormous potential. It just needed cellaring.
I now have reviews on some of the nine wines our guest, the famous wine expert Reid Rapport, who will conduct the tasting, suggested. Here are reviews and comments by America's foremost wine critic, Robert Parker, owner and editor of the Wine Advocate publication, and what he wrote in his news letter to subscribers last month.
Then he goes on with his reviews.
About the Castell Del Remei 1998 (only 4,000 cases made): "From an obscure viticultural area, this delicious, ripe, richly fruity 1998 possesses supple tannin, superb fruit intensity (cherries and blackberries galore), a sumptuous texture and a big, juicy, fruit dominated finish." Parker gave it a 90. Judging by the wholesale price, this wine will retail for under $20.
Next, the Capcanes Tarragona 1999 (only 5,000 cases made): "This amazing wine is composed of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Syrah, aged eight months in barrel and bottled unfiltered. It's dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by abundant quantities of crunchy, sweet, black cherry and berry fruit intermixed with minerals, tobacco and vanilla. Full bodied and fleshy, with supple tannis, low acidity and glorious levels of fruit and glycerin it will drink well for 3-4 years." Parker also gave this wine a 90. It should sell for $20-$22.
Again from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate about yet another wine we will taste, Artadi Crianza Vinas de Gain: "It is a beautiful, aromatic, elegant, savory, mouthfilling, well-nuanced and textured Rioja. The lead pencil and berry fruit (blackberries and cherries) medium body, gorgeous layers of supple fruit and lush heady finish are alluring as well as pure and satisfying. This wine is already delicious, complex and seamless, but it is capable of lasting for another decade." It is another 90 pointer.
More reviews
There are rave reviews about these various Spanish wines from other countries as well as the United States. I have never seen reviews like these for wines that will sell for from perhaps $12 up to the feature wine of the evening, the Hacienda Monasterio Ribera De Duero, about a $40-$45 bottle. It should be dynamite.
For those of you who may have missed our story about Rapport, he was the wine buyer for the Walt Disney Corporation for seven years, helped select the wines for Disney World of Paris, France, consults with numerous restaurants and owns a major wine importing firm in Orlando. He is a friend of Mississippi distributor Norm Rush and will be in the state for only two days, one of which will be here in Meridian for our August 22 wine tasting. He will conduct the tasting and explain the wines to you.
We have kept the price at $25 but you must make a reservation. Call 482-0930, fax at 483-2801 or mail your check to Post Office Box 5223, Meridian, MS 39302. Make it payable to Wines Unlimited. The tasting begins at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at Northwood Country Club but you need not be a member to attend. The public is invited. The Wines of Spain may very well be the Wines of the Year tasting.