My best Spanish white, ever, is one of these two, tasted last month. Either TEMPO 1999 (14€ in Galicia, surely some mistake) or the one I finished last night: Gran Veigadares 1999 (12€ in Salamanca, DEFINITELY some mistake). I have tried the 2000 and 2001 of Gran Veigadares too, but none performed quite as beautifully as this 99.
The nose was initially heavily reduced (funny, that’s an afterthought, my first impression was quite the opposite, that is, oxidised) but as it opened it ended up revealing a wonderful bouquet of white fruit in light syrup, aromatic herbs (laurel), lemon-honey notes, and a hint of complex age through musky touches of sweetish oxidation. In the--rather full--palate (initially very weird) there was eventually excellent balance and acidity to last another year--which I would not risk anyway. Excellent persistence with a mildly bitter note in the end. 93 pt nose.
Finca Sandoval 2002
Upon opening there was a very clumsy, easy-fruit nose, that was somewhat disappointing, as though the wine had been subject to carbonic maceration. It took quite a bit to develop smoky oak notes and a certain spiciness (although that was far more consistent in the 2001). The whole thing seems heavily touched with monastrell, very Rhonesque. I kept 3/8 sealed into a half bottle for tonight. In the long run this may prove better than the 2001, but as of today I’d say the 2001 was better defined at this stage. 91
Following up on your other comments about 2002 compared to 2001, I believe I heard from Victor de la Serna that he believes his 2002 Finca Sandoval is better than the 2001 - an exception to the general rule. Although you seem not yet to be convinced of that assessment, it is good enough news that you seem to think that the quality of the two vintages is at least close to equal.
Gastro, I see that you like albarinyo .. unfortunately, I have never felt in love with any albarinyo ... they are very nice, very pleasant, but I have this underneath uneasiness that, to me (unlike the rest of the world) they do not offer the pleasure I pay for (otherwise stated, they are very expensive for just ";pleasant"; wines, to my taste, of course). To me the best spanish whites ever are still the historic LdH (but I will try to buy the ones you are reccomending and give the albarinyo another
try ... I am always very willing to do it!).
MªJ, you may remember I loved the LdH whites we tried at V3 but I somehow didn’t even remember them when I claimed this 99 albariño couple as my best-ever Spanish whites.
For me the LdH white style is a league of its own, not competing with wonderfully-aged albariño (and certainly light-years ahead of poor chardonnay). It’s more like a sherry (NO offence intended, right? ;^)
The first thing I did after V3 was some conference travel, and I brought home (from Galicia, BTW) LdH 1985 and 1987 whites (the couple for 18€, roughly the price of a single bottle of good late-release or premium albariño).
These Albariños I mentioned usually cost over 20€ (Tempo) and over 40€ (Gran Veigadares). I would easily understand somebody’s assertion that they do not deliver value for money. The minute you leave Spain you suddenly find a lot of good wine for that sum. Alsace and Germany are my favorite sources for top whites, Austria following closely. There is amazing quality to be had for less than 40€ in any of those areas...but if you found two very desirable bottles for about 25€...you would certainly give them a try...and I bet you’d love these two in particular (though perhaps not at current prices, of course).
BTW we hope to see you around some day before V4!
I finished the rest of the bottle last night (worse still, I didn’t even finish it) and I must say that the 2001--at the time I had it--was better focused, and more textbook peppery in syrah profile. I will certainly not exclude the possibility of improvement of this 2002 in bottle. By all means I’ll give it another try after the summer, but as of today I should insist that RP91 was on the short side for the 2001 whereas I expected more of the 2002 with a 92 rating... And this is not a Manuel-teaser...
I don’t yet know what to make of that fruit-forward, Monastrell-like plumpness. Puppy-fat will recede with a few more months in the bottle, I hope.
I missed my opportunity to taste the 2002 FS. I tried it at the Vila Viniteca tasting during the week of Alimentara, but the wine was a little corked. Everything was so crowded and disorganized at that particular time, that I never went back for more. (But I recall thinking that Victor de la Serna would not be amused to learn that 2/3s of a corked bottle already had been served.)
Thanks gastro, you are so nice ... but geeezzz, those whites ARE expensive! (so my original feeling was right, which I always contemplace as sort of a miracle .. ;))) I do not know, gastro, I am not very sure about spending 40 euros in an albarinyo ... as you said, I can have a couple of LdH 81, which I am in love with ... I know I should give a try to good albarinyos, but I always always am very hesitant in from of 40 euros ...
I DO hope to see you all before V4 :))