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Wines of Northern Spain
Orla Tyrrell, Woodford Bourne

1. Freixenet Cordon Negro, Vintage Cava, 2001
Creamy yellow. Wonderfully fruity, fresh nose. Citrus. Supposed to be cabbage on the nose, may be some on the palate, in fact. Dry, crisp finish. Lovely summer wine. 12% Paralada, Maccabeo and Xarello grapes
Widely available 22

2. Torres Nerola Xarello Garnacha, DO Penedes, 2002
Xarello and Garnacha Blanco.  Slightly dumb at first, became caramel and floral and something else? Is it the cabbage? Some  oak, loads of fruit, good acidity. 12.5%Very pleasant with a bit of stern backbone.
Sweeney's, Glasnevin 14

3. Torres Fransola Sauvignon Blanc, DO Penedes 2003
Golden. Floral as well as grass. Vanilla. Good burn, a bit too much oak for me, a little sugar. 12.5%  Pleasant enough rounded wine, but  way to expensive.
O'Briens 23

4. Lagar de Cervera Rias Baixas, DO Rias Baixas, 2003
Green, floral aromatic; Good acid, refreshing, fruity and a great balance. Zingy, acid-drop finish. Albarino, 12.5% Said to be related to Riesling. I love it. Shame about the price.
Baily Wines Howth, 19

5. Torres Nerola, DO Penedes, 2000
A slight hint of eucalyptus oil. A warm climate wine but quite refined. Meaty feel.. French oak. Some tannin. Well integrated. New world feel but quite restrained and more refined. Syrah and Monastrell. 14%

Redmond's, Sweeney's 15-16

6. La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva, DOCa Rioja, 1998
Lovely orange red with a light rim. Nose of raspberries,, dried fruit, a little oak. Big mouthful, still some tannin, oaky. Lovely, old-fashioned Rioja. My kind of thing. 80:20 Tempranillo: Garnacha; three years in American oak.13%

Redmond's 22

7. La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, DOCa Rioja, 1994
Much darker than I thought it would be, although tan throughout. Much bigger nose than previous, more resiny oak. Black fruit, spicy, cooked veg note, still some tannins.   More austere than the previous, with more oak (four years) but still very approachable.  Lovely but preferred the previous - especially at the price.
Redmond's 40

8. Lan Resreva, DOCa Rioja, 1998
Fairly dark, clean red.  Very strange nose - oak and turf ashes? Slightly chalky, very good fruit, chewy.  Won a gold in Brussels and bronze in Bordeaux.  80%Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 10% Garnacha; 12 months in American oak.  13%.  Nice wine; lots liked it and especially at the price, but I wouldn't go for it..

Sweeney's
17

9. Jean Leon Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, DO Penedes, 1998
Dark, cherry red. Big nose, concentrated.  Leathery tannins, great black fruits, good acid.  Long way to go but gorgeous.  90% Cab Sauvignon, 10% Cab Franc.  14%  The winemaker is a character; born in Santander, went to New York then California, Had La Scala restaurant with James Dean, went back to Spain in the '60s to make wine.
21.50

10. Mas La Plana, DO Penedes, 1999
Cranberries and cherries, slight hint of mint.  Very well put together, great fruit without being jammy.  100% Cab Sauvignon, 25Ha of old vines.  Gorgeous, shame about the price.
Bourke's, Cabinteely
35

11. Mas La Plana, DO Penedes, 1985
An extra treat.  Slightly oxidised on the nose.  Very interesting; on the cusp, I'd say. Vegetal/smelly, still some fruit in the wash, a little oxidation and a little vanilla.  Not holding together as well as expected.
 

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