Thursday, October 22, 2009

TN: Abad Dom Bueno 2005 Bierzo Roble

Mencia from the Bierzo region in northwestern Spain is one of my favorite varietals. Even when it doesn't make great wine, usually the wine still shows unique character. What that character is, though, seems to be open to debate. I've seen comparisons to Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and even cool-climate Syrah. The one constant seems to be that wines like the Abad Dom Bueno 2005 Bierzo Roble are available for less than $20 if you look for them.

This Bierzo is a parodoxical mix of rusticity and international flavors. The bouquet has an intense ferality to it, expressing both farm animal barn funk and raw meat aromas. The label states that there were no sulfites added, meaning a wine like this is especially susceptible to bottle variation and weird, Bretty aromas. For many people, this nose will inspire a love/hate reaction. The flavors are a bit more mundane with creamy oak and oaky tannins fairly noticeable. While I don't really like un-oaked reds, this seemed a little clumsily assembled. But the overall balance is still pretty good, with the acidity and medium body in particular making it pretty versatile. It's a supple yet structured wine, though the finish isn't especially remarkable.

This particular wine was one of the NYT's favorites in a recent Bierzo tasting and their top QPR. I'm also a fan, though the oak and lack of sulfites make this somewhat idiosyncratic. It's certainly a fascinating wine, even if a bit inelegant.

Pros: Animal Funk, Balanced, Supple, Medium Body
Cons: Noticeable Oak, Potential for Bottle Variation
Decant: Yes
Price: $18 from K&L Wines
QPR: Fair/Good (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)


Jeff said...

I have liked a lot of stuff that I've had from Bierzo, but there don't ever seem to be more than a couple of examples available at a time. The most interesting Bierzo I've had was from this cool Spanish only store in Seattle called "The Spanish Table," and instead of drinking like cool climate Syrah, it was drinking like a new world Pinot, except that it had a rampant animal streak (or intense ferality--by the way, I really like that description) that was mixed in with ripe fruit. It was awesome. Of course, I don't remember who the producer was or the vintage. Hence why I started a wine blog...

CabFrancoPhile said...

The one common quality I've found with Bierzos is they haven't been very acidic. Some are a bit flat as a result, but usually the aromas are always fascinating. I haven't had any with high alcohol, either, so that's another plus on drinkability.