South American & Iberian Portfolio Tasting
This past Tuesday, our South American & Iberian Portfolio Tasting at the Chinatown Brasserie was a smashing success, with 13 producers from Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay; and seven from Spain, not including Andre Tamers of De Maison Selctions, and Pedro Carvalho, who came to pour his port wines from Casa Santa Eufemia. At the helm of the portfolio since 2002, Jorge Perez has sought family estates that best represent the appellations and their subregions, at a variety of elevations and climates.
Heading the #SherryRevolution (see twitter!), Andre poured wines like Emilio Rojo Ribeiro 2010–(crushed rocks infused with lime and spice), and D. Ventura Do Burato 2010–(super lean with salinity and red fruit), alongside a selection of nine sherries, including Maestro Sierra Amontillado NV, bottled austerity with grand notes of salt and almond nuts. Owned by Pilar Pla Pechovierto, Maestro Sierra has limited sales for years, and so is now in possession of some of the oldest stocks in Jerez, with soleras that are 60 or even 100 years old!
In from Rioja Alta, Roberto Ijalba of Bodegas Santalba came to pour a selection of wines that span two generations, his and that of his father, Santiago Ijalba Garcia. Making the Abando wines that are more modern in style, as opposed to his father’s Ermita wines, which are more traditional, Roberto seeks “not to make an international wine, but a more concentrated Rioja…that’s an expression of the [Tempranillo] grape.” Indeed, the Ermita San Felices Reserva Rioja Alta 2001 is quite elegant, with bright fruit served upon a platter of tea leaf tannins.
Speaking of his family, Matias Mayol says, “We are farmers first and foremost, with single vineyard holdings in the best sub-appellations at different elevations.” The first Argentinean producer to join our book, Familia Mayol has been in the business since the early 1900’s, when Matias’ grandfather, who’d had vineyards in Spain, came to Argentina and planted vines. Currently practicing sustainable farming, Familia Mayol is in the process of becoming certified organic, one vineyard at a time.
Known for his dessert wines made from Tannat, Pablo Fallabrino of Vinedo de Los Vientos comes from a long line of winemakers. In the 1920’s, his grandfather moved from Piermont, where his family made wine, to Uruguay, where in the 1930’s, he started two wineries with five different vineyards. “In 2004,” says Pablo, “my mother gave me a notebook from my father with all different dessert winemaking techniques, Marsala, Vermouth…and I combined different techniques to make Alcyone…a wine [that’s] fortified with brandy, and different herbs, and aged in French oak.” In 2005, Jorge ordered 20 cases, and it sold out in a day.
Minerva Castillo, the export director of Mas Foraster
One of two producers to make a red wine from Trepat, the family behind Mas Foraster has been growing grapes for the past 150 years.
Ester Domingo of Cesca Vicent
Roberto Echeverria of Vina Echeverria
Pedro Carvalho of Casa Santa Eufemia