"Katherine says..."

Is it possible Emily Dickenson has been reincarnated as a wine reviewer quietly working for a retail shop somewhere in Montana? Katherine from the Panhandler in Helena visited Seattle…….


A note from Kurt – When Katherine told me she would be visiting Seattle I called my friends at Classical to request a tour and tasting for her at their home office. Owner Steve Metzler and his wife Almudena were  inspirational when I was creating the identity of Winegardner’s Wines in the ‘90s. Their style continues to be reflected in the best of what we do here at Winegardner’s Wines.

Katherine says:
“It was an honor to be hosted for a tasting at the Classical Wines of Spain in Seattle, WA. There was an amazing air of Old World hospitality, from the moment a voice ushered me in over the inter-com to the moment of departure. Classical Wines of Spain is located in a small building noted from the outside with wine bottles lining the windows, as if to say, “This is the home of Spanish Wines, this is where the adventure begins.” Indeed, it is an adventure. Upon arrival, I was greeted by Mr. Jorgensen who offered a lovely tour. There was a table in the kitchen, set with pamphlets and a map. Mr. Metzler, the man who makes that magic happen, was able to join us for a time, having little to say, but leaving most of the oration to the brilliantly versed, Mr. Jorgensen. When he did speak, Mr. Metzler moved me by how passionate, knowledgeable, and aware he is of the small Spanish producers, the wines, popular and obscure, as though Spain were his own back yard, cultivated by himself, personally. It does appear that this is not far from the truth of the situation, given how closely Mr. Metzler and company work with the producers to create memorable and great wines. Mr. Jorgensen was kind enough to stay a few hours after closing, sharing a number of amazing wines, including a Don PX 1985, Toro Albala. I’m still in awe that he was generous enough to share a taste of a wine slightly older than myself.

The beauty in Spanish wines, as I am coming to learn, is that they have distinct characteristics. Each wine from the Classical Wines of Spain was bursting with terroir, expressing beautifully the character of the place they come from, and the makers who made them.

This was an amazing experience, and I fully intend to explore the Spanish wines in greater depth.  Please see my tasting notes below:”

11 Pinos 2010 

The 11 Pinos 2010, from Manchuela, Spain, made of Bobal grapes was a fascinating creature. It was whimsical, sharp, and spellbinding. I was surprised at how luscious the tannins revealed themselves to be. Immediately presenting itself with cherry cordial, herbs, and literally mouthwatering red and black fruits even before it hits the palate. Upon embarking, the flavors mellowed to cranberry, still slightly tight, but a complete knockout of cool breezy juice. This wine is a cool morning walk through the fruit trees, even with a slight crust of ice upon the cherries, cool to the touch, but alluring in flavor, the aromas ardently rising up to meet you.  Suggested retail: $13.25

Eidos de Padrinan Albarino 2011

This wine is from old vines, and is a classic Albarino from Rias Baixas. The grapes are grown in Granitic soils, and this shows through to the wine. It has beautiful oceanic minerality, pineapple fruit, white peach flavors accompanied by lovely floral notes. Eidos is also draped in sun dried apples and jut the slightest hint of butter. It has a heavier viscosity, but is not cloying. There were only 3,000 cases produced, but it was also a short harvest.

Suggested retail: $25.00

Vina Gormaz Tempranillo 2011

This young un-oaked decadence from Ribera del Duero from Bodegas Gormaz is full of flavor, but the tannins remain delicate. It puts forth lovely dried fruit, light cherry, cinnamon bark, and flashes of orange peel, lime dust, and a toasty nutty quality that adds depth with every sip. This wine was aged without oak, and comes from Soria. Soria appears to be a rare exception in the wine world, having one of the highest counts of old, un-pruned, un-grafted Tempranillo vines. It should be noted that the gentlemen of Classical Wines of Spain  work with cooperatives such as Bodegas Gormaz to create an accurate, enjoyable product, a more perfect version of the cooperative dream.

Suggested Retail: $ 13.50

Dehesa la Granja 2005

Dehesa la Granja is made in the Gran Riserva style, though it is not a Gran Riserva. It is another Tempranillo coming from younger clones. Created by the legendary Alejandro Fernandez and his wife, Esperanza Rivera, this wine comes from a historical site, upon which sustainable farming of garbanzo beans and olives takes place, and cattle and pigs are raised, all organically, though legally uncertified. This wine is full of mellow red fruit, leaning towards the savory with sage, thyme and red potpourri scents and flavors. Dehesa la Granja is a mouth-watering balance of blueberries, raspberries, and nutmeg. The grapes that make up this wine are rigorously selected by hand from a strict yield, using only egg whites to remove sediment.

Suggested Retail: $21.50

Altos de Losada 2008

Altos de Losada comes from Bierzo, created by Bierzo’s “winemaking veterans.” It is a deliciously young and fruity wine, aged 15 months on French Oak. This wine is a lovely blend of strawberries, red fruit, slate, graphite tints, and oak that is “integrated” into its nose. The experience is much like falling down a rabbit hole of red fruit.

Suggested Retail: $39.50


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