2015 Alvear Alange Tempranillo

28 09 2016

[This bottle was provided as a sample for review purposes.]



Some bottles immediately grab your attention for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on.  Other bottles grab your attention by screaming strange Spanish words in 128-point font.  Alvear’s Alange (sorry – ALANGE) is an example of the latter.  Its minimalist / maximalist label and Beetlejuice-like neck pinstriping are designed for the visually primed North American market, as is the consumer-friendly bottle indication of the grape inside (100% Tempranillo), a rarity on Old World wines.  It is a daring display from one of the older family-run wineries in the world, but it serves its purpose well, making you pause for that split second and linger over the bottle; after that, its price tag (a shade over $15) and the quality of the juice inside does the rest.

Alvear is truly a dynastic estate, now on its 8th generation of family winemaking.  The Alvear bodega was first constructed nearly three hundred years ago, in 1729.  Since then, it has not only stayed in the family but is now handled in all aspects by Alvears — there are currently over 50 members of the extended family involved in some capacity.  Alvear is known primarily for sherry, made in the region of Jerez in Spain’s arid southwest corner, but it is also gaining traction as a table wine producer, growing estate grapes due north of Jerez in the Ribera del Guadiana sub-zone of Extremadura.  To say this is an under-the-radar global area for red wine would be a marked understatement, but it’s places like this where values are often found.  Ribera del Guadiana is known primarily for scorching hot summers, freezing cold winters, reddish clay soils and an obscene array of planted grapes: while Tempranillo takes up the most acreage, the area is home to a crazy mix of red and white indigenous and international varietals, from Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir (!) to Pedro Ximenez and Graciano. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Review: Habla No. 4 (2006)

3 04 2011

The future in a bottle.

I promised to open something worthwhile tonight, so here goes.  I got this bottle of Habla No. 4 for Christmas in 2009 (thanks Josh!) and have been patiently waiting to open it on a special occasion — well, 72 hours without a PnP wine review sounds like occasion enough to me!  Habla’s wines are exclusively carried in Calgary by Kensington Wine Market, and this one retails for around $75 CDN…WAY out of my usual price range, but that’s what Christmas is for, right?  All of Habla’s wines, including the No. 4, come from vineyards located near the town of Trujillo in the Extremadura province of Spain, which is located west and slightly south of Madrid.  If you’re wondering what formal Spanish wine region this falls into, well, it doesn’t:  this area is basically off the grid as far as winemaking goes. Read the rest of this entry »

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