Friday Feature 8/16/13: Two Spanish gems from Do Ferreiro & López de Heredia

Hello and Happy Friday!


Hope you are having a great week.


A bit of store hour news before we get started.


Tomorrow, Craig will be heading on a family vacation.  Sheb will be around keeping normal store hours except for one day. Perman Wines will be closed this coming Monday, August 19th.  




Tonight, we are back with another edition of Routier!


Tonight’s theme: The White Wines of Portugal.  Three white wines, three different appellations.  Served with a little snack of cheese, crackers and almonds.  $25 per person, stop in any time between 5 and 8 pm.


Tonight’s line-up:


2012 Herdade do Esporão Verdelho


2011 Luis Pato Vinho Branco “Vinhas Velhas”


2010 Quinta do Chocapalha Branco Reserva



Speaking of the Iberian Peninsula, today’s Friday Feature showcases two of the best wines of Spain.


The word best is not something we throw around lightly. Yet when it comes to today’s two wines, and our experiences traveling in Spain and tasting from the top producers, we feel really comfortable claiming these two amongst the best.


Both of these wines are quite rare and very sought after, so order yours today!


Have a great weekend,


Craig & Sheb



Friday Feature

2011 Do Ferreiro Albariño “Cepas Vellas”- Galicia, Spain 

It doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to white wine from Spain.  In fact, this ranks among Craig’s personal favorite wines of the world.

Do Ferreiro, founded in 1973, is a small winery in the Northwest of Spain.  The region of Galicia has become well known for its Albariño, a varietal that is well suited to this relatively rainy and cool climate.  The famed Denominación de Origen (DO) in Galicia for Albariño is called Rías Baixas (pronounced Ree-ass By-shass).  Within the overall DO, there is some subdivision, with five different zones.

Do Ferreiro is located in the Val do Salnés, which is probably the most prestigious of the zones, offering close proximity to the cooling breezes of the Atlantic.  Within that region, the winery is located near Sanxenxo.

Proprietor and winemaker, Gerardo Mendez is one of the most talented producers I have ever met.  Because of the history of the region and the small plots that are associated with growing Albariño, while Gerardo owns 10 hectares, he also manages and buys some grapes.  He works with over 130 different plots of Albariño, all in the Salnés sub-zone.

There is one plot that is very special to the Mendez family, producing one of the greatest wines on earth.  “Cepas Vellas” is a wine made entirely from Albariño from a vineyard sitting on mainly sandy and granitic soil.  The sand helped resist phylloxera, today the vines are over 200 years-old.

Craig has been blessed to drink this wine well over 200 times, and has tasted verticals of the wine dating back over 10 years.  “Cepas Vellas” is a wine that tastes good in its youth, and gains complexity as it gets older.  Above all, it is a wine that marries so well with all that is seafood – something that Galicia can claim as being one of the preeminent places in the world to enjoy those sea creatures.  Oysters, octopus, goose barnacles (called percebes in Spain), scallops, razor clams, hake (merluza), and more.  It is a wine that is unmatched in its ability to have with seafood.

2011 is another outstanding vintage for Cepas Vellas, and in fact will be the last one at least for a couple years, as there will be none in 2012 due to the small harvest.

We really believe that if there was a white wine from Spain that you must try in your life, this would be the one!  By the way, you should know you are buying wine from one of the nicest families you could ever meet.





1995 López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva “Viña Bosconia”- Rioja, Spain

This is another very personal story from Craig, revolving around the wines of López de Heredia.  When he first started in this business 16 years ago, someone shared a bottle of López de Heredia Rioja with him.  It was the start of an obsession of sorts.

Rioja is Spain’s most famous wine producing region.  In some ways it reminds us of Champagne in France, where for many decades the focus was on the producer and their style of making wine.  The wine lingo of Rioja often revolves around traditional vs. modern, and also the length a wine is aged in barrel (i.e. Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva).

While its true that López de Heredia can be talked about using the same words – they are very traditional and they do bottle Reserva and Gran Reserva wines – there is something else that needs to be addressed.

Rioja is a large region, subdivided into three big sub-zones. If we really are to understand what Rioja is about, our discussion needs to go way further.  We must highlight the terroir of Rioja, and speak of the villages and vineyards.

It must be noted that López de Heredia has been talking about this for years, by bottling wines from two single vineyards, Tondonia and Bosconia.  So while other bodegas in Rioja teach based on the words of tradition, modern, Reserva and Gran Reserva, the López de Heredia family has been giving you a look into the terroir of their part of the Rioja Alta sub-district for years.

16 years ago Craig was so struck but the complexity and authenticity of what he tasted, that he was thrilled when he learned that María José López de Heredia was coming to visit Portland, where he was living at the time.  A bottle of bubbly was on hand to welcome her, and a long friendship was formed from that first meeting.

Since that time, and in the past 5 years, the wines of López de Heredia have been written about by the likes of Eric Asimov  in the NY Times, and have become a cult favorite.  So much so that López de Heredia used to offer library releases of their Gran Reservas, and since the incredible rise in US popularity those have be depleted to the point where they are no longer offering them.

Today, if you want to buy the exceptional Gran Reservas of López de Heredia, you must do so upon release and you must hurry.

Today I offer you the new release of the 1995 Bosconia “Gran Reserva.”  I’ve included a link here to the wine so that you can go through all the details.  El Bosque is the vineyard that produces Viña Bosconia.  It sits right next to the Ebro River, south facing vines, with mainly clay and limestone soil.

I love Viña Bosconia for its ability to combine elegance with substance.  Its red fruits interwoven with earth notes and exceptional length offers a complexity that is rarely matched anywhere in the world.

While it may be difficult for some to call a $93 bottle of wine a good value, I would argue that it is so because of its place in the hierarchy of the worlds greatest reds.

It also offers a wine that has been aged for you, a rarity in the wine world.

Wine lovers, please don’t miss this great red – you will become obsessed too!

Last but not least, I also have to mention that María José and Mercedes López de Heredia are two of the most passionate, charismatic, nice people you will ever meet.  I’ve pointed this out about both producers today because I always believe it is important to support the good people of the world!


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