Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pleasing A Friend

A week later...and we were back at the Restaurant Madrid...this time with close friends...one of whom drinks wine.
He remembers the days when he was drinking half bottles of La Rioja Alta 904...so on reserving a table ..I asked if I could bring a bottle and pay corkage. The owner remembered me...not many people drink his Lan Reserva 2005!
The surprise for Edgar was perfect...his eyes lit up...not at a 904...but a step up at the top wine of the estate...the 890.

La Rioja Alta 890 1995
Rioja, Spain

Opened a couple of hours in advance....before we left home...and instantly impressed the restaurant owner.
This is 95% Tempranillo and aged in American Oak...with 12.5% alcohol.

The nose show traces of the 6 years in oak...classic old-style...cedar, vanilla and toffee....pipe tobacco. The palate struggles to keep up...and needed food. The tannins are quite silky...and the sour acidity lifts it as we eat. Edgar loved it...and it certainly is a fine wine...although the mid-palate is slightly oxidised. I would guess it is at a difficult age. Not sure I would go back for this again though...
Points 17

Friday, January 10, 2014

Good Koching

A Rising Star...and GaultMillau have just awarded Bernhard Koch with the 'Collection Of The Year'. I headed for the Pinot Noirs...but could not resist the Chardonnays...hoping the Pfalz mix would be to my liking.

Both wines tasted over two days....

The 'lesser' wines...always show better in their youth compared to the top versions...due to their approachability.

Bernhard Koch Chardonnay Réserve Trocken
Hainfelder Letten 2012

Pfalz, Germany
Apples and Pears with some traces of caramlized almonds. What pleases with this wine is the lovely and lively minerals. Citrus fruits....leaves the palate ready to go for the next sip. There is hidden power...but the overall zippiness makes this a wine for today...but a few bottles will be put away.

Points 17.25

Bernhard Koch Chardonnay Grande Réserve Trocken
Hainfelder Letten 2012

Pfalz, Germany
Fuller nose...some brioche...fuller wine throughout...but still with the overall perfect balance found in the sibling above. Power and Finesse...ripe pears...needs a year or two...

Points 17.25...but with some more to come

So...as I said...the lesser wine is equal today...but both a must buy...and the reds are great as well. Collection Of The Year?...oh yes.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Back to Spain

Years ago....the many visits to Spain had been pleasurable with fresh seafood, Paella and Rioja. Finding a good 'Spanier' is not easy...so a tip about this restaurant a few miles away was eagerly accepted...and a table on a Saturday evening  was reserved. 'Madrid' had moved from Rüsselsheim to Groß-Gerau...which won't interest anyone abroad...but the fact that they had been in business 20 years boded well.

A dark winter evening meant the first view from a distance were the lights in the middle of nowhere. We wre greeted by the friendly waiter and shown our table. The aroma was enough to get me smiling...and if you did not know it...you would be back in Spain.

Grilled Squid

The aioli with fresh bread kept us occupied while we studied the menu.
I convinced my brother-in-law that we should try the 'Paella Valenciana'. 

I asked about the grilled Squid and was informed it was fresh.
It was...and what pleased me...was the natural taste had not been bombarded by spices.

Paella Valenciana
The Paella for 2 arrived...and it was the best I have had for a long time. All ingredients fresh...and the rice...which needs to be perfect or you can forget the rest...was perfect. It was more than enough for 2 people...so next time...no starter. I even took a portion home for next day.
No wine list...but I informed the waiter that I was a wine freak...and I NEEDED a good bottle.
Lan Reserva 2005
Rioja, Spain

Dark, full bodied with a nose of plum, cherry, graphite, spice and creamy vanilla, well structured and balanced, complex, dusty, off dry on the palate with good length. Restaurant price € 32,-- and well worth it.
Points 17

The son of the owner told me his father (72) is still in the kitchen.
He also said they did not have a wine-list becuase the vintages changed, wines were not available etc...so always ask. A few whites to try next time...3 different Albariños...and maybe I can convince him to drink one of the 'rarities' he showed me.
Somewhere to return to...and soon.