Featured Monthly Tasting:

and New Gems from Greece,
Portugal, Italy and California

January 2008

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Map of SpainThis month’s Featured Monthly Tasting focuses on the wines of Spain, with a heavy concentration of wines from smaller and lesser-known regions. Most wine drinkers associate Spanish wine with the regions of Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat, but these are only three of the country’s 60 official DO’s [Denominacion de Origen]. Because wines from the other 57 DO’s are less known and in lower demand, many are an exceptional value, such as Bodega Virgen de la Sierra Yasa 2006 Tinto Calatayud [$9, 90 points], Tres Ojos 2006 Old Vines Garnacha Tinto Calatayud [$9, 90 points],  and Finca Sobreno 2005 Crianza Toro [$17,  89 points]. I-WineReview also discovered a number of wines of exceptional quality such as: Agustin Cubero Garnacha Vinas Viejas 2006 Calatayud [92 points], Bodegas del Muni Corpus del Muni Lucia Seleccion 2004 Castilla  [92 points], and Pago de Carraovejas 2004 Reserva Ribera del Duero [92 points].

The Spanish wines reviewed this month come from the portfolios of importers Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd., and Bodega Bodega Selections. Kysela was founded in 1994 by the dynamic Fran Kysela and has rapidly grown, both in sales and reputation. As this month’s tasting showed, a Kysela selection is of consistently good value, true to type, and fruit-driven. He purchases finished wines and does not intervene in the winemaking process. More information on Kysela is available at www.kysela.com. (French selections from Kysela’s portfolio are reviewed in February’s Featured Monthly Tasting.)

Bodega Bodega Selections is a new venture started in 2007 by passionate Dutch importer Murk Lels, whose deep knowledge of Spanish wine comes from years of living, working and traveling in Spain. Bodega Bodega Selections specializes in Spain, especially its lesser known regions where excellent values are most likely to be found. Spanish Wines Tasted

Greece ···································································

Flag of GreeceThe International Wine Review had the opportunity to taste some of the portfolio of Dionysos Imports. Greek wines are still largely unknown to the U.S. wine drinking public, because of limited distribution and labels that are virtually incomprehensible to most U.S. consumers. However there are some terrific-tasting wines coming from Greece reviewed here, and we wholeheartedly recommend them. Stay tuned for an in-depth report on Greek wines later this year. Greek Wines Tasted

Portugal ·································································

Flag of Portugal
The i-WineReview is continually impressed by the high quality of the red table wines produced throughout Portugal. The three bottlings reviewed here are from the major wine-producing regions of Dão and Alentejo and are exemplary of the exciting wines from the native Touriga Nacional grape. Portugese Wines Tasted

Italy ········································································

Flag of Italy Our selections from Italy come from the Mazzei family who have been making wines of distinction in Tuscany for centuries. The three wines reviewed this month are from their  Belguardo estate in Maremma and showcase Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and other vinifera blends. Later this year, the i-WineReview will publish an in-depth report on the wines of Chianti Classico. Italian Wines Tasted

California ································································

Flag of CaliforniaThis month i-WineReview begins a regular series on the new vintages and releases from selected California producers. This month, the focus is on Spann Vineyards in Sonoma County. We have closely followed the progress of this small family winery over the past couple of years and are favorably impressed with their new releases, particularly a couple of new white blends. Californian Wines Tasted

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To submit wines for review, contact the publishers at info@i-winereview.com or call 703-448-5566