Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Clash of the Spanish Titans: Opportunity Lost?

On Thursday, February 4th, The Wine Barn ( held a tasting at its store which it billed as the Clash of the Spanish Titans!! The tasting featured David Espinar of Bodegas Emilio Moro and Juan Muga from Bodegas Muga. The billing (reminiscent of such classic billings as "Rumble in the Jungle" and "Thrilla in Manila") was fitting, I thought, because it featured two top representatives from top-tier wineries in two of the foremost Spanish wine regions.

I went expecting a steel cage, fight-to-the-finish match with blood-spattered regional representatives hurling verbal bottles at each other but instead I got the Clash of the "Puddy Tats." These guys were so nice and unassuming . No pushed-out chests, no groupies, no egos that bumped up against me as they passed by. Heck, they even rolled up in the same car.

The wines that were poured were pretty special, with Moro wines ranging between $11.50 and $150 and Muga between $11.00 and $83.00. The large majority of wine poured was red and the wine was ably accompanied by a hearty paella. The stunner for me was the 2005 Emilio Moro Malleolus Valderramiro, a 100% Tempranillo offering sourced from 85-year-old vines. Robert Parker describes this wine as: "Inky purple-hued, the wine has stunning aromatics, kinky and complex. Notes of mineral/slate, pencil lead, espresso, wild blueberry and blackberry lead to a layered, opulent wine with superb concentration and great length." I picked up a few bottles of this beauty at the tasting price of $149.99.
While the wines that were poured were pleasing, there were some missed opportunities in the implementation of the tasting which, I think, disadvantaged metro-area attendees. The winemakers were situated obliquely opposite each other at the far ends of the room and patrons chose the order and length of time for their visits to each position. This approach meant that the winemakers were pouring wine in each glass as it was proffered and that each glass had a different wine in it at any point in time. There was no opportunity for the winemaker to discuss any single bottle coherently. This allowed for the knowledgeable to monopolize the winemaker with pertinent questions while the beginner or shy questioner was pushed to the edges. This sense of attendees not being best served by this approach was further exacerbated when I visited the B-21 website and saw that persons attending their tasting had the opportunity of sitting in on 1-hour seminars led by each of these winemakers. So metro-Orlando attendees were disadvantaged vis a vis Tarpon Springs attendees.
What would these winery representatives have told metro-Orlando attendees if they had had the opportunity to discourse with us in a cohesive fashion. I will attempt to answer that question in future postings.


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  2. The Valderramiro was definitely the wine of the tasting for me, the complexity of this wine was breathtaking. The next best wine for me was the Torre Muga. Initally this wine was tight, but I went back to it about an hour later. The time span did wonders for this wine as it elicited the some of the purest black cherry that I've ever tasted. Terrific time.