Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

90

2016 Rezabal Txakoli, Getariako Txakolina

£12.99, 10.5%, Winetraders UK

Frothy, zesty and refreshing, this is everything you'd expect from a white from so-called green Spain, with notes of lime and citrus peel, bracing acidity and a salty, mineral-edged finish. A wine that you just have to dirnk by the bottle. 

FishVegetables

 

 
 

93

2014 La Loba, Ribera del Duero

€16.20, 14.5%, Desoutter & James

Serious, youthful, good value Ribera that's at the lower end of the scale in terms of oaking. Sourced from century old vines in Matanza de Soria, this is part of a new wave of balanced, elegant Tempranillos with lovely freshness and poise. Scented, floral and complex with notes of bramble and balackberry and a refreshing finish. 

LambBarbecueCheese

 

 
 

89

2015 Rojalet Negre, Montsant

£7.99, 13.5, Majestic

Montsant is not as famous as neighbouring Priorat, but generally offers much better value. Blending Garnacha and Carignan, this isn't short of alcohol (we're close to the Med after all), but it has plenty of spice, plum and bramble fruit concentration and stony minerality for balance. In summer, it would make a great barbecue red. Right now, try it with winter stew. 

BeefLambGame

 

 
 

92

2015 Laderas del Tiétar Garnacha, Gredos

£8.50, 14%, The Wine Society

Spain has grubbed up a depressing amount of its Garnacha plantings in the last 20 years, but the grape is still capable of great things, even at this sort of very affordable price. Hailing from the high altitude Grelos Mountains near Madrid, this is a remarkably fresh, refined wine that nods towards Pinot Noir and Cinsault in style. Tangy acidity, raspberry and redcurrant fruit and a long refreshing finish are complemented by silky tannins. Stunning value. 

BeefLambSpicy

 

 
 

94

2014 Gramona Xarel-lo Ovum, Penedès

13.50 euros, 12%, Decantalo

One of a trio of still Xarelo-los from Cava producer, Gramona, this was fermented in concrete eggs (hence the name) and is a thrilling wine that puts the variety on a pedestal where it belongs. Bone dry, rich and complex, with spice, texture and focused minerality, even at a comparatively modest 12%, it's an unbelievable bargain. You can order it from Spain, but (to my knowledge) it's not available in the UK. It should be. 

ChickenFishVegetables

 

 
 

92

2015 Granbazán Albariño, Etiqueta Ambar, Rías Baixas

N/A, 12.5%, N/A

Gron on granitic soils close to Cambados - the self-styled capital of the Albariño grape - this is a remarkable old vine cuvée from one of the best producers of the grape in Rías Baixas. Scented, pure and beautifully balanced, with undertones of lime and apple, it unfurls impressive richness on the palate with pear and stone fruit flavours and a fine, linering finish. 

ChickenFishVegetables

 

 
 

91

2011 Juvé y Camps Reserva de la Familia Gran Reserva, Cava

£19.50, 12%, Exel Wines; Fortnum & Mason; Philglas & Swiggot

A prime example of why it's worth paying just a little but more (and still less than most Champagne and English fizz) to drink top end Cava rather than the basic supermarket stuff. Rich, honeyed, yet bone dry, this is a traditional style with toasty maturity and the slight bitterness that's often a feature of Xarel-lo based wines. 

 

 
 

90

NV Torres Florales Moscatel Oro, Penedès

£10, 15%, Waitrose, Fareham Wine Cellar; www.winedirect.co.uk

A rich, even heady expression of the Moscatel (Muscat) grape, this is luscious and palate-coating, with flavours of orange peel, dried fruits and beeswax and spirity note that complements rather than overwhelms the wine. Sweet and complex, it's really good with full-flavoured desserts. 

Desserts

 

 
 

93

2014 Maquina & Tabla Blanco, Rueda

£15.95, 13.5%, Lea & Sandeman

One of an excellent line-up of regional delights from an exciting new Spanish venture, this tastes as good as it looks. Made from biodynamically farmed, old vine Verdejo, it's a savoury, textured white with subtle oak, tangy acidity and just a hint of oak framing the pear and citrus fruit flavours. Almost Burgundian in terms of weight, concentration and complexity, this is a remarkable Verdejo.

PorkChickenFishVegetables

 

 
 

89

2011 Finca Carelio Tempranillo, Castilla y León

£6.66, 14.5%, Majestic

If I were tasting this blind, I'd put it in Ribera del Duero, rather than the hotter Castilla y León region, such is its freshness and perfume. There's quite a bit of oak on offer here, but it's more than balanced by fruit weight and acidity. The tannins are extremely smooth for a wine at this price, complemented by notes of bramble and blackberry, subtle vanilla sweetness and a cool, almost grassy finish. 

BeefLambGame