Friday, August 30, 2013

Alto Moncayo Veraton 2005


Jorge Ordonez imports the wines made by Alto Moncayo (their website is unfortunately under construction at the moment) they consistently garner 90+ point reviews and, more importantly, rabid, repeat customers. The wines are all made from old vine grenache (garnacha, en Espanol) and are wildly intense, power-packed wines full of raspberry liqueur notes and black pepper and excitement. I have always enjoyed the wines young but also believed they would age well. Unfortunately, my discipline has wavered too often and they rarely survive more than a year or two once they are within reach.
The Designation of Origin (D.O.) is Campo de Borja (boar-ha) is located just southeast of Rioja and Navarra in the NNE of Spain. (Map from Wines of Spain)

I finally had an older bottle and the experience was...disappointing. It will not stop me from looking forward to tasting these wines again and I will happily admit that this is their entry level version but I am strongly reminded that wines do not always have magical abilities to absorb lots of oak. Flashy, vanilla-tinged wood dominates the wines young but their exuberant fruit stands up to it. With more time in bottle it appears that oak remains strong despite what many pundits would have us believe. 
The first impression was oak. Lots of oak. The thick, ripe fruit I expected was hidden...maybe buried is a better word, like a crawfish boil next door might overwhelm the steak you're cooking. That's not quite right, I love crawfish boils (and steak).  
The nose opened a bit more and showed a sherry note, not overwhelming, but unmistakable. Too much raw wood and oak tannin in the mouth. Balance was almost nonexistent and the tasting experience was the opposite of harmony.
An hour later and the disjointed parts did not come together and even as individual experiences they were not enjoyable. Bummer. 
The color was good, this was not a wine past its prime. I smelled the cork again and again, expecting to get a whiff of corkiness which would explain what I was experiencing. Nothing wrong there. The wine smelled like a cheap ruby port but lacked the sweetness and long finish of those wines. I tried the wine again the next night and nothing had changed.
I have a few other bottles from this producer of similar age...I will update if anything changes.


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