Thursday, October 3, 2013

Updated Review: **** $$ Atalaya Red Blend, Almansa, Spain, 2007 = BEST VALUE

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By way of background: The Atalaya, 2007, is a newly-released red wine hailing from the Almansa region of Spain, sporting an impressive 91 rating from Wine Advocate for this inaugural vintage.  It is a blend of monastrell, garnacha tintorera and other red grapes,  aged for eight months in a combination of French and American oak, and finished at 14% alcohol.  

Original review, early 2010:

In the glass: Atalaya shows as deep purple/magenta in the glass, opaque to within an inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured cool without a decant and swirled vigorously, this Spanish red blend pushes deep, dark mahogany, leather-imbued fruit aromas into the room.  New world deep plum fruit plus old world dirt and depth.  

On the palate: The first element on the palate is a bright but sandy red currant fruit right smack in the middle of the tongue.  This opens into a wider array of red cherry and plum throughout your mouth, carried along by bright acids as much as by evident background tannins. 

And the finish: Lengthy, and lodged mostly in your cheeks, with red fruits and acid, though backed by a veil of still-young tannins, offering a hint of cocoa at the close.

In summary: Overall, intriguing aromatic start, and less compelling - though certainly pleasant - new world middle and finish. Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus because the solid tannins mean I would like to see this with a bit more age and/or decant.  Good value.

I mentioned Wine Advocate's generous 91-point rating.  Jay Miller wrote, "This purple-colored wine has an expressive bouquet of violets, spice box, leather, game, blueberry, and black cherry. On the palate it comes off as borderline kinky and definitely sexy with lots of easy-going flavor, superb depth, complexity, and a 45-second finish. Although it can be enjoyed now, it will evolve for another 2-3 years."

Following a two-day decant by vacuum in a partially-opened bottle, the Atalaya's nose has grown muted, but the acids on the palate have knit nicely with the red fruits.  The cocoa-coated red fruit now explodes in your mouth. 
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Updated review, two years later, January, 2012:  Still deep purple and magenta in the glass.  Consistent deep, leathery and fruity nose.  Plum blends with black cherry in a rich, robust palate, all nicely structured and knit together.  This rates an easy four stars today, and is perfectly ready to drink at five years from vintage date.   Achieves best value status with the additional bottle aging.  Following long decant, full day kept at room temperature in decanter:  Consistent nose and palate.  Smooth black cherry on the palate. 
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Another updated review, year and a half later, now six years from vintage date, October, 2013: Magenta and cherry in the glass.  Nose shows softer leather, fruit and a hint of rubber balloon, which I expect with fade with a little bit of air.  Palate has a wonderful layered balance now, showing red fruit, some chocolate, soft tannins and acids that glide softly up into your cheeks with the other elements, holding the red currant fruit to linger for a good long while. Great time to drink this one, which has held rock solid at four stars.

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