I have been a computer geek most of my adult life. There are few things in my professional life that a computer couldn’t make better, easier and faster. However, during the holidays late last year, my wife and I stumbled upon a small ink and paper shop in Asheville, NC. On a lark, we each decided to purchase an entry level fountain pen. I immediately fell in love with the concept of writing with this pen. After decades of typing everything, the nostalgia of writing things down with a fountain pen, of taking time to compose my thoughts, became almost an obsession for me. I began handwriting meeting notes again, then I started journaling. All because of this darned, inexpensive fountain pen!
Finally breaking Spanish wine review stranglehold. Going back near the beginning with this wine!
For years my wife and I bought wine our budget could afford, and we tended to drink wines that were simple. (I’m ashamed to say it, we were very partial to Biltmore Estate Zinfandel…) I can’t remember how we came to acquire a bottle of Four Graces Pinot Noir, I think it was recommended by a friend who worked at a wine store. Anyway, we cracked open a bottle of 2009 Four Graces Pinot Noir, and were instantly hooked. We finally tried a wine that provided the stepping stone for advancement of our palates. For at least a year or two afterwards I was DEVOTED to Willamette Valley pinot noirs, and they are still near the top of my list.
The Black family purchased an existing vineyard in the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley in 2003 with the goal of producing rich, elegant, delicious and complex wines.
That same year The Four Graces was founded. The winery is named in honor of the Black’s four daughters.
In 2005 the Blacks purchased the Doe Ridge property in Yamhill Carlton to continue the growth of the brand. They chose a site in a differing appellation to add complexity and variety.
This vineyard has been turned into one of the largest experiments of its kind with forty acres farmed sustainably through the L.I.V.E (low impact viticulture and enology) program.
Today The Four Graces is owned by Bill Foley and produces Pinot noir, Pinot gris, and Pinot blanc renowned nationally and internationally for their balance, elegance, complexity, and richness.
Wine-making and Aging
Wine is fermented from pinot noir grapes on the main Foley Family estate vineyards. The wine is aged in both old and new French Oak casks for 9 months.
My Tasting Notes
Aromatic with dark cherry and coffee. Palate is dark cherry and spicy due to the French Oak cask aging. Finish is peppery but with stronger tannins.
Another day, another Spanish wine. (What can I say, in preparation for our recent trip to Spain, I bought a LOT of Spanish wines…) Most of the information was found on the La Rioja Alta winery website.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about this wine, as I could not find a website for the winery. However, it appears that the back label of the bottle has a wealth of information!
La Antigua Clasico Reserva
This wine is a Garnacha Blend, with 60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo, and 10% Graciano grapes. The grapes are grown organically and were originally planted between 1940 and 1955. This signifies mature vines. The vineyards are located in the Rioja region of Spain, that has a limestone and sandy soil. They are grown at high elevations (700m or 2,296 ft). At this elevation, it is nearly impossible to use machinery in the harvesting process, so the grapes are picked by hand.
According the the importer , the vines are located on northern facing Sierra de La Demanda mountains. This provides cooler temperatures, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly. When this occurs, the grapes produced have more flavor and balance. The Sierra de La Demanda mountains are the location of the oldest garnacha vines in Rioja. The result of these grapes are a wine of maturity and complexity.
La Antigua is a union of small independent vineyards that band together to grow the grapes AND produce the wine.
Review of La Antigua Clasico Reserva 2008
This wine is aged for 4 years in 60% French and 40% American Oak barrels.
Tasting notes: Dark, ripe plum nose with a musty earth overtone. Fruity but with a mature and balanced flavor. Long even finish, little tannins. Excellent!
I always like to say that I’m a wine drinker that is turning into a wine lover. But I have discovered that although I love to try new wines, I really don’t know much about them. Recently I decided that when I open a new bottle of wine in my house, I will take a few minutes and learn a little bit about it. My hope is that the more I learn, the more discerning wine drinker I become. Like anything you want to do well in life, you have to “practice, practice, practice’. Nowhere is that adage more fun than when it comes to drinking wine!
Baron de Ley Winery and Vineyard
The Baron de Ley winery is a restored monastery that dates back to 1548. The Benedictine monks of that period produced wine as part of their monastic duties and planted the initial vines in the area. In 1836 the monastery was confiscated by the Spanish government and deeded to Spanish nobility. Baron de Ley planted the first vines for the creation of their wine in 1985, and established their winery within the old monastery.
Located in the north of Spain close to the Pyrenees, the winery vineyards are influenced by a variety of environmental agents. For this Varietales Tempranillo wine, the grapes come the winery’s Carboneras vineyard. Situated at a height of over 800 meters, this vineyard is the highest growing point in La Rioja. The vineyard ground has a high acidity and mineral content, and a continental climate.
Review of Baron de Ley Varietales Tempranillo
This wine is aged for 12 months in new American Oak casks.
Tasting notes: Dark berry and earthy on the nose. Dark cherry and blackberry taste, with a touch of vanilla. Bold finish, perhaps a little too acidic, but mellows in the glass after a few minutes. I love this wine!