New Releases of Spanish and other Varietals
These are new releases from Richard Longoria, who is one of the few California winemakers to produce wines from Spanish varietals. Richard started his winemaking at Buena Vista Vineyard under the tutelage of California winemaking legend Andre Tchelischeff. In 1997, 23 years later, he and his wife Diana established their own winery in Santa Barbara County where he planted Pinot Noir at his first vineyard, Fe Ciega, which now produces one of his most outstanding wines. His wines are handcrafted and made in small quantities. We have previously reviewed Longoria wines, but most of these are new to us. The Fe Ciega Pinot Noir and Evidence red blend are the most impressive, wines. But we have a soft spot in our hearts for Spain, so we loved drinking the Albariño and Tempranillo, among the best we’ve tasted from California.
Longoria 2008 Albariño Clover Creek Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley ($23) 88
This is one of the few Albariños produced in California, and it’s a good one. Platinum straw in color, it offers a fragrant nose of pear and melon followed by a creamy mouth feel. The palate reveals moderate pear and tea notes, brisk acidity, slight tartness and an attractive finish. This wine should be especially attractive to the ABC crowd.
Longoria 2007 Tempranillo Santa Ynez Valley ($36) 88
Tempranillo is a red varietal ubiquitous in Spain but rarely grown in California. This one shows earthy red plum fruit with notes of sandalwood and caramel. It has a soft lush attack, a flavorful palate of dark berries and toast, firm ripe tannins, and a long pleasant finish. Shows the potential for this varietal in California.
Longoria 2007 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley ($54) 90
The attractive Pinot Noir Fe Ciega shows pure spicy dark cherry fruit on the nose with excellent concentration of red raspberry fruit on the mid-palate. It is nicely balanced with good acidity and shows tannic grip on the long finish. Delicious with or without food!
Longoria 2007 Blues Cuvée Santa Barbara County ($28) 87
Blues Cuvée is a blend of 37% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot, 24% Syrah and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a dark ruby color with ripe spicy dark fruit aromas on the nose that are mirrored on the palate. Round tannins are found on the mid-palate with somewhat dry and slightly bitter fruit and wood notes on the finish.
Longoria 2007 Evidence Santa Barbara Valley ($38) 90
This opaque ruby Bordeaux blend is a wine of considerable complexity. When first poured in the glass, it reveals a perfume of ripe dark berry fruit, black olive, lead pencil and black currant. The attack is soft and velvet-like in the mouth, revealing richly extracted black fruit, black pepper and spice flavors. The finish is long and flavorful.
Written by Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler, March 2010