2013 Bodegas Cerrón Remordimiento Chardonnay, $11.99-$19.99 – Bodegas Cerrón, located in the southeast corner of Spain in the village of Fuente Alamo in Albacete province, is a 4th generation owned and operated vineyard.
The winery, which received its Organic Farming Certification in 1995, uses organic viticulture as a production model throughout the vinification process. No fertilizers, additives, or synthetic chemicals are used, producing a sustainable agriculture that respects the environment.
Viña Cerrón fields are divided in two estates: “La Muela” and “El Tejarejo.” The grape varietals grown on these estates include Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Syrah, Monastrel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
We tend to think of wine itself – and the act of wine tasting – in strictly sensual and physical terms… But Bodegas Cerrón’s philosophy, which is noted on their website, is not afraid to explore the cerebral and metaphysical aspects as well as the sensual…
“A simple class of great wine can induce personal encounters offering salacious conversations, interesting dialogues or possible love stories, during an epoch in which a myriad of communication tools has weakened the quality of human communication.
“Concealed behind the mundane appearances of merely drinking wine and having some basic knowledge of it, a divine World of Wine awaits to be discovered. This fine World of Wine is a place that gives birth and fosters marvelous ‘wine-centric’ experiences; a world that satisfied the states of consciousness of clever consumers. Amongst them, lies the state of reminiscence, the most mysterious and philosophical experience.
“It is difficult to imagine life without wine and philosophy. The enigma revolving around both has to do with the contemplation of the meaning of life. Through our adamant determination to reconcile passion and reason, contemplation and transformation, it is meaningful dialog that will allow us to understand that philosophy and wine are simultaneously reason and consequence. The meaning of life is not innate to us and cannot be found through our genes. Likewise, wine does not grow ready to drink in an oval goblet of grapes, as it is a creation of the human being, whom is made substantially of philosophy and wine.”
These noble thoughts are very much in keeping with the winery’s motto: “The new Generation of Old World Wines.” In other words, Bodegas Cerrón represents the “Young Guns” of Spanish winemaking… and the 2013 Remordimiento Chardonnay is clearly a perfect example of this new style. This is not your average Chardonnay, which is to say, this wine is not a Spanish version of a big, bold and buttery California Chard. It clearly speaks of its own Terroir, of its own time and place. In the glass, you detect the aroma of fresh fruit with subtle floral nuances. On the palate, there is just the subtlest hint of toasty oak accompanied by excellent acidity.
This is an extremely pleasant easy-drinking, food-friendly wine. The price is quite pleasant as well; normally retailing for around $20.00, I’ve seen it on sale for as low as $11.99… By the way, the winery also produces a smooth Remordimiento Red, a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon & Petit Verdot, for about the same price.
2007 Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Gran Reserva, $19.99-$30.00 – Bodegas Montecillo has been owned and operated by the Osborne family since 1973. The winery, however, was established in the Rioja Alta region of Spain in 1874 and remains the epitome of tradition. It produces its own barrels and casks to winemaker Maria Martinez- Sierra’s specifications; in addition, she uses traditional Bordeaux methods in her winemaking and relies heavily on Spain’s traditional red grape, Tempranillo. The winery also enjoys the well-deserved reputation of producing expressive wines at good price points that are both versatile and exceedingly food friendly.
Bodegas Montecillo keeps its production counts to 275,000 cases annually, allowing for both quality control and consistency, while still being able to share their wines with the rest of the world. Over 90% of the Montecillo wines are reds made from 100% Tempranillo grapes. The winery also produces a white wine, Montecillo Blanco, made from 100% Viura grapes.
Montecillo wines, while noted for their reasonably priced vintages, are also noted for their longevity. And this longevity is partly due to Rioja’s traditional winemaking style and lengthy legally mandated aging periods. Wines designated Reserva are required to have a minimum of 1 year oak aging and 3 years total aging. Gran Reservas require a minimum 2 years aging in oak barrels and 5 years total aging before bottle release.
Montecillo Gran Reserva, which is produced from vines that are 50+ years old, is only made in years when vintages warrant the prestige and sense of place that best represents the Rioja Alta region. And the winery is even willing to skip vintages of Reserva and Gran Reserva if the season’s grapes are not up to par with winemaker Maria Martinez-Sierra’s exacting viticultural standards. This, it should be noted, gives consumers an extra layer of buying protection – as you know you won’t be wasting your money on a wine that is not of the best quality from the very beginning.
The 2007 Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Gran Reserva, already eight years old at this juncture, is not even breathing hard. It does show a bit of maturity in the glass, fading from deep ruby at the center to a touch of clear garnet at the rim… but still has miles to go before it sleeps. Highly rated (91 points) by both the Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits magazine, respectively, its aromas – herbs, wood smoke, raspberry & cherry – are classic Rioja. On the palate, it is smooth and silky, finessing a fine earthy finish and a subtle tangy bitterness that is the perfect match for a variety of foods.
This wine normally retails around the $30.00 mark, but I’ve seen it on sale for as low as $20.00. A major bargain.