Madrid, 2021 - Part 2

And now for the best non-sherry wines I drank in Madrid. Our first dinner was at Ramon Frexia, a two star Michelin restaurant in Salamanca. I don't really like reviewing restaurants as such, especially one specializing in fixed menus with hordes of amuse-bouche and first and intermediate courses, but the wine pairing was perfect, just about sheer genius.

Burbuja by Ramon Freixa, Cava Brut, n.v.

This is a private label for the restaurant. I have no idea who makes it for them, not that it would mean anything to me even if I did know that. It's Champagne level almost all the way through. The complex nose shows apple peels complemented by minerals and herbs. The palate is elegant and very tasty, balancing racy acidity with a moderate build. The finish is where Champagne rules. The finish here is laced with chalk. Chalky finishes are good, even excellent. Many fine white and sparkling wines have a chalky finish. The great Champagnes go an extra mile and have an exquisite umami/mushroom aftertaste that is to die for.

Vina Mein, Ribeiro, 2018

Ribeiro is a historic D.O. in Galicia (that western part of Spain headbutted by Portugal from the south) that is being revived and rediscovered since the late 90's. The blend is 60% Treixadura and the rest Godello, Albarino, Loureira and Torrontes y lado. Vina Mein was founded in 1998 by a group headed by Javier Alen. This is what I always hope to get anytime someone offers me a wine and tells me that it's "fresh, racy and mineral-laden". Damn, I wish this was imported.

Bodegas Ronsel Do Sil, Alpendre, Ribeira Sacra, 2017

Ribera Sacra is another Galicia D.O., this one specializing in red wines. Alpendre is made of Merenazo, which is a new grape for me. It's relatively light, with scratchy tannins, sweet cherries, dills and upturned earth and something about it's lithe frame and peppery character reminds me of another obscure grape, Piedmont's Pelaverga. Lovely. 

Cruz del Pendón, Ribera del Duero, 2015

The first impression is New Wave, modern Ribera: fruit forward, clean, robust. Then, air dials down the fruit and body and allows spices to emerge. Its 14.5 ABV is not noticeable, nor any sign of oak, despite 14 months in new barrels. I wouldn't hunt it down if it were imported and I sure wouldn't carry a bottle back, but I would drink it if I were a local, especially when paired with steak and sweet sauce, as was the case here.

Nicolas Joly, Savennieres, Les Vieux Clos, 2018

I haven't drunk Joly in a decade. With its ashy aromas, the 2006 Les Vieux Clos struck me as owning a lot of the world of whiskey. It was ripe and hedonistic as hell, too. "Apple cider from Alice's Wonderland", I wrote at the time. This is weird and great in another way, racy and yet touched by botrytis-like notes. Lemon drops wrapped in mustard and spices. A great wine.

The other Michelin restaurant on our tour was Clos, where this wine made me swoon:

Commando G, El Hombre Bala, Vinos de Madrid, Garnacha, 2018

An amazing wine. All I could verbalize at first was "Fucking Bourgone, fucking Bourgogne!" Strawberries, white pepper, a hint of leather. Silky tannins and joyous fruit and acidity. Amazing. I know I already wrote that, but I also wrote "Fucking Bourgogne" twice.