The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2010

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CELLAR FOcUS LEGENDARY SPANISH VINTNER ALEJANDRO FERNÁNDEZ IS STILL Master of the Tempranillo by Anthony Dias Blue ery few winemakers are as closely associated with a single variety as Alejandro Fernández is with Tempranillo. In fact, the 78-year-old Spanish vintner (who admits to drinking one bottle of his wine every day) is known worldwide as “Master of the Tempranillo.” Fernández has been farming this quick- maturing, temperamental variety for his entire life, and in 1972 he founded his winery, Pesquera, in the Ribero del Duero town of the same name. In the 38 years since then, Pesquera, with its 500 acres of vineyard, has become one of the most honored wines in the world. Bucking the trend towards big, over-ripe, concentrated wines, Pesquera expresses fi nesse and elegance and features the nuance and grace often found in the best wines of Bordeaux. It is lovely when young, and matures gracefully for many years. One of Alejandro’s biggest fans is the celebrated chef José Andrés, who honored his friend with a dazzling dinner at SAAM, the private dining room at The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. On display—in addition to Chef Andrés’ inventive food—were several Grupo Pesquera wines: Condado de Haza, Pesquera’s sister estate, founded in 1987; Dehesa La Granja, in Zamora Province, founded in 1998; and El Vínculo from La Mancha, founded in 1999. Fernández’s most presti- gious wines were also poured: Alenza from Condado de Haza and Pesquera Millenium. V Here are my notes on this exceptional tasting, as well as some from a Pesquera vertical held the day before. Suggested retail prices are listed for wines currently available. Pesquera, Ribera del Duero 2002 Pesquera Millenium Reserva ($160) Silky and smooth; elegant and balanced; juicy with gorgeous fruit and French oak, vanilla and spice. Tasted from magnum. 95 2003 Pesquera Janus Gran Reserva ($198) Deep coffee and spice; intense and opulent; rich and concen- trated; smooth and intense; lush and lovely. 92 2005 Pesquera Reserva ($53) Ripe and bursting with 30 / the tasting panel / july 2010 plum, berries and cassis; fl eshy, minerally and balanced with gorgeous fl avor; com- plex and lovely. 92 2006 Pesquera Reserva ($53) Elegant and silky with lush, rich fl avors of plum and ripe fruit; fi ne and supple with lovely depth and long fi nish; fresh, balanced fi nish. 93 2007 Pesquera Crianza ($34) Dark, lush and meaty with grainy texture and racy acidity; long, rich fl avor of earth, spice and plum fl esh with excellent structure. 91 Dehesa la Granja, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Bodegas y Viñedos Fernández Rivera 2004 Dehesa la Granja ($25) Smooth, ripe, and balanced with rich plum and soft texture; rich and long; lovely. 89 El Vínculo, La Mancha 2004 El Vínculo Crianza ($36) Fat and meaty; earthy and bright with sweet vanilla and ripe plum and blackberry fruit; rich and balanced. 91 Condado de Haza, Ribera del Duero 2006 Condado de Haza ($30) Silky and lush with ripe blackberry, cherry, and vanilla spice; gorgeous chocolate plum and fruit; long and balanced. 93 1995 Alenza ($225/magnum) Smooth and spicy; no edges; rich, dense and ripe with no sign of decline; stunningly long and no sign of decline; rich and long; ripe and balanced. 97 2001 Alenza Gran Reserva ($100) Dense, rich and concentrated with sweet plum and racy acidity; complex and meaty, ripe and balanced. 92 Grupo Pesquera wines are imported by Classical Wines. PHOTO COURTESY OF CLASSICAL WINES.

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