Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Cosecha 2001

88 points

Rioja, Spain. 14%

great label, great vintage. Nice but not great wine. Lots of American oak gives a slight retsina character. Not matched by sufficiently interesting or concentrated Tempranillo fruit.

Good food wine but I had hoped for more.

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Vina Mayor reserva 2004

90 points

Ribera Del Duero, Spain. 13.5%

I rate this highly because of its unexpected charm and restraint. Spanish reds are increasing becoming supercharged in response to the desires of overseas wine critics.

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Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Cosecha 1978

86 points

Rioja, Spain. 13%

Fascinating wine. Still going strong at 33 years old. It’s unsurprisingly an old fashioned very oaked style, almost retsina like. American oak with plenty of varnishy acidity on the finish. With warmer roasted nuts upfront.

Fascinating but not profound. Greater mid palate fruit depth is needed to make this wine exciting.

And the oak influence seems to prevent the development of wonderful complex mature fruit characters seen in old bottles of Bordeaux or Shiraz.

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Chateau Beaumont 2005

86 points

Haut-Medoc. 13.5%

This Southern Medoc (between Margaux and Pauillac) tastes in 2005 more like it comes from Southern France. Perhaps it is the mood I’m in, or perhaps this is what a number of non-classed growths of 2005 have become. Certainly the ripeness us extra-ordinary – these are wines of sunshine.

Pesquera Tinto 2005

88 points

Ribera Del Duero. 14%

Ripe Tempranillo, hot climate but with nice touch of acid on the finish. Prior vintages were more savoury bitter and interesting. Perhaps this needs a little longer to open up.

Reminds me of a Southern French wine.