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At a wine tasting at Notes

Last night I went to a Tempranillo wine tasting at a place near Covent Garden called Notes with parsingphase. Tempranillo is, I think, one of the grapes that makes a Rioja; I was expecting (and got) lots of nice Spanish wines, including a Ribera del Duero. It was held in the basement and we got to talk about the wines with the very unpretentious Australian who was leading the tasting and eat olives and almonds to cleanse our palate (yum). It really made me want to travel to Spain just to do a wineries tour - he recommended flying into Bilbao and then driving around. I find this a tempting idea. Here are my notes.

Joven: a Rioja that hasn't been aged, usually barely a year old. Fruity. Not my thing.

Crianza: at least one year of aging in wood. No real oak notes.

Reserva: must be at least three years old. Grand reserva: must be at least five years old, with three years aging in oak. I'll stick to buying this going forward. (Apparently some places will still make awesome Riojas without them being reservas or grand reservas because they have different ideas about aging and about what kind of wood to use for the barrels. I've been told that you can usually tell by the price just how successful the wine maker has been. If it's £50 and a reserva, it's probably still pretty awesome.)

Decenio reserva Bodegas las orcas, 2002 Rioja alavesa, just fabulous. apparently Crianza isn't a kind of grape, it's a wine aged for one year. Reserva is 2 years, Gran Reserva is 5 years, 3 in wood.

Oak: lets wine oxidize slowly and adds a vanilla-y flavor. American oak has bigger pores and tastes more oak-y.

I came home with four bottles, two of the one above. I felt like I'd made a bunch of new friends and wanted to carry on partying with them after the club closed. Mmmmm.

Anyway, if this all sounded interesting, they're having another one on the 15th and then again on the 22nd of October. Feel free to join me!

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