Javi Lecumberri came over a couple of times to say hello and, later on, to see how we were doing. No special menu this time, we ordered old reliables from the menu: chorizos, escalivadas and gambas a la plancha to start, and, as there was no chuletón available, solomillo de vaca with a platter of pimientos del Piquillo for our main course.
The wines, both from Aaron, were:
2008 Adega Pagos de Lusco "Zíos de Lusco" - A 100% albariño that sees neither malolactic fermentation nor any exposure to oak. The winery, owned by Dominio de Tares, has 6 hectares of vineyards in Condado do Tea, Pontevedra (D.O. Rías Baixas). The average age of the vines is 20 years (fruit is hand-harvested and hand-selected). I tasted through most all the participating Rías Baixas producers at Alimentaria 2010 in Barcelona and noted Lusco and Fefiñanes as the best of them.
Lively, fresh and appetizingly dry, with flavors of ripe green apple, apricot, touch of herbs, mild unsweetened almond paste and slight white minerality. This is a bit eager, forward and plumply-fruited as albariños go, but with good acidity and balance. Everything works. We had it with the starters, but it would have been a nice apéritif as well. Nice. Very easy to drink; I had 2 glasses. I would have had more if I wasn't watching my alcohol intake.
2000 La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva - Just my second from Viña Ardanza; the first being the impressive 2001 Reserva Especial at Bodegas La Rioja Alta on the 3rd April 2010. The subject 2000 Reserva is made up of 75% tempranillo and 25% garnacha, decidedly masculine in character, notably sturdy in structure and with superior definition and focus.
A few notches over medium-bodied, the fruit (black cherry, hint of kirsch, dark raspberry, bit of blackberry) is quite ripe, well-concentrated and infused with moderate notes of red spice, slight licorice, moderate and very well-integrated oak, leather, cedar, loam and a suggestion of pressed violets. This is a very confident, unapologetic wine; and rightfully so as it didn't seem to have anything to apologize for. Very nice.
We thereafter shared an order of Crema Catalana over cups of espresso. It was a good lunch.