I just had a $10-12 wine that is made from 90% OLD oak - 2001 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha Vinas Viejas. With this example, and recalling too Sarah Perez’s Universal ";Eneas";, I’m wondering why this practice of old oak barrels may not be a good thing for many less expensive Spanish wines. Bearing in mind that what I know about this subject from a technical perspective one can pour out of a thimble, it seems that in many cases old oak - which is far from a neutral, inert element - will preclude many shorter-lived and less complex wines from remaining mostly termite juice as long as they are alive. Indeed, even if they may not be very short lived, who wants to wait forever to cut through the carpentry of a basic ";Tuesday night"; wine?
Are there many other good examples of old oak?
Incidentally, about the wine: I should point out that this is a slightly upgraded (older vines, better vintage) version of a wine that Manuel wrote a tasting note about. It was award 93 points from Manuel’s good friend, Señor Parker. Good blackberry/raspberry and pepper/spice nose. Initially, however, I suspected that the vague and unfocused mid-palate was the clear sign of an over-hyped wine. [Memories, perhaps, of Castano ";Solanera,"; about which I never agreed with popular opinion here in the US, although for wholly unrelated reasons.] With about an hour or so of air, however, viola: more complexity in the nose (add some fur, a bit of lead pencil, and what? - well, this isn’t an official TN so I’m not going to work it out now) and, more critically, a spine builds from the back end forward.
Is this a 93-point wine? Let me put it this way: (1) for $10, I’m not disappointed and (2) I would choose this over Castano Solanera 100 times out of 100. One slight caution, however. I would drink this wine relatively quickly. Two years? I base this comment on (1) a wholly uneducated hunch and (2) how the wine behaves in the glass after several hours.