Featured Monthly Tasting:

Selections from Spain
and Southern France

February 2008

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Flag of Spain Flag of FranceThis month’s Featured Monthly Tastings puts the spotlight on Spain and France. From Spain we tasted high quality wines from all over the country including many from lesser known regions. From France our tasting focused on the attractive wines from Southern France and in particular, the Côtes du Rhône, Costieres de Nimes, Corbières and the Coteaux du Languedoc. We discovered wines of outstanding quality and exceptional value from both Spain and Southern France. Complete tasting notes on all the wines tasted by the International Wine Review follow our brief summary below.

Top Rated Wines: Among the outstanding Spanish wines that we tasted are: Baigorri 2003 Reserva (92 points), the Baigorri 2003 Vino de Garaje (93 points), the Jalon 2005 Las Pizarras del Jalon (93 points), the Callejo 2005 Crianza (92 points), the outstanding Callejo 2004 Reserva (95 points), and the simply spectacular Callejo 2004 Felix Callejo Family Reserve (97 points).

Some of the outstanding wines of Southern France that we tasted are: the Domaines Barons de Rothschild 2004 Chateau d’Aussieres (93 points), the Chateau d’Or et de Geueles 2004 La Bolida (92 points), the Chateau Grande Cassagne 2005 “G.S.” (91 points), and the Domaine Calage Resseguier 2003 Rosmarinus (91 points).

Outstanding Values: We found an unusually large number of excellent values among the Spanish and French wines we tasted. This is due in part to the fact that many of the Spanish wines come from lesser known wine growing regions, and many of the French wines also come from regions which until recently had a reputation for producing rather poor quality wine. Examples of good value Spanish wines include: Jalon 2006 Viña Alarba Old Vines Grenache ($10, 87 points), the Muñoz 2004 Legado Muñoz ($14, 89 points), the San Prudencio Cueto 2005 Envite Crianza ($18, 90 points), the Merum 2006 Old Vines Grenache/Syrah ($18, 91 points), and the Bodegas Real 2002 Palacio de Ibor ($22, 92 points), which is a standout both in terms of quality and value.

Wines of the South of France which we find to be excellent values are: the Château Lamargue 2006 Costières de Nîmes ($11, 88 points), the Château de Valcombe 2004 Tradition Costières de Nímes ($13, 89 points), the Château de Ségriès 2005 Lirac Cuvée Réserve Côtes du Rhône ($15, 90 points), and the Château d‘Or et de Gueules 2003 Select Rouge Costières de Nímes ($15, 90 points). Perhaps the best value of all is the Château Grande Cassagne 2005 “G.S.” Costières de Nímes AOC ($12, 91 points) which is also one of the highest quality wines we tasted in this category.

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