Every chapter of The Battle was supposed to start with Parker review, this was back when Parker wrote all of those hormonal busting wine blips and the language was as fat and purple and alcoholic as a 2007 Parkerized Chateauneuf. My idea--while a fun and good-humored roast-- didn't make it past Harcourt legal. Sniff. Then, yesterday, I was alerted to this review, snapped off the DeMaisonSelections website, from Dr. JM'S Spain 2010: Let the Good Times (Rock 'n) Roll. Wow! What fun! I figured, all was fair in love and war....it was just too good not to share. Issue #188 2006 Hermanos Sastre [Vina Sastre] Pesus Ribera Del Duero, Castilla Leon, Spain $750 (not $17.50, no5 $7.50, not $75.00 but $750?) The flagship 2006 Pesus comes from a small parcel of 82-year-old Tempranillo vines blended with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. After fermentation in a special stainless steel tank, (HOW SPECIAL ARE THEY? LIKE ESPECIAL? YOU KNOW IN THE FRENCH WAY, WHEN THEY ARE REFERRING TO SOMEWHAT UNFORTUNATE? OR SPECIAL WITH MACRO OXYGENATION OR??) the wine was transferred into new French oak. It was racked further into new oak three times (WAIT! RACKED FOUR TIMES INTO FRESH AND NEW AND VANILLAED NEW OAK? TWICE A YEAR? FOR TWO YEARS?) and aged for a total of 24 months in barrel. Purple/black in color, (NOW THAT"S A NATURAL COLOR, HOW MUCH PV & CAB? PUMP IT UP BABY!) it emits (DR. JM SNAPPED UP THIS WORD, EMIT, FROM HIS BOSS) an aromatic array of sandalwood, pencil lead, (PENCIL LEAD AS AROMATIC? SEND THE BOY BACK TO 101) Asian spices, incense, truffle, tar, licorice, black cherry, and blackberry. (TEMPRANILLO DESCRIPTORS IF I EVER HEARD THEM) Dense, rich, loaded, (AIMED AND ARMED) and long, (ENOUGH FOR A MAGNUM XL?) it will continue unwinding for a decade and offer a drinking window extending from 2017 to 2036, probably longer. (I GUESS SO. ALONG WITH GIRTH.) Vina Sastre is a benchmark estate in Ribera del Duero. It is committed to organic farming and biodynamic principles with the wines naturally made (LET'S SEE, ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC, NATURAL, WHAT OTHER BUZZ WORDS COULD THEY GET IN THERE? I'M WAITING! BRING ON FUKUOKA!) and bottled without fining or filtration. ( I SEE, FINALLY THE DEFINITION OF NATURAL WINE, NOT FINED OR FILTERED. REVELATION) Score 98 -J.M. (WA #188, Apr 2010) ADDENDUM: For some reason this post has created a bit of a stir, so much so that readership tripled last night, and mostly in from the WineBeserker site where I think there's some Alice bashing going on. I'm not sure people would do this if I were a guy, but that's besides the point. I've also received some off the record emails from folk in the industry. This one was particularly of interest to me, because the man, an importer who of course shows his wines to the WA staff absolutely understood the meaning. I like to blog, throw my thoughts out but often because I do have work to do, things that pay the bills, I don't have the time to make sure my meaning in the blogs are iron clad. I like to leave room for the dialogue, to hear what you guys think. The downside of that is the rampant assault and twisting of my meaning. Unfortunate. Surprising. But there you go. So, below is the cut & pasted email. And I thank him. +++ The point for me wasn't that there was a wine out there that actually is racked three times into new oak and is fermented in 'special' tanks. No. The point for me (and I think for you) is that there is an important wine critic out there who accepts anything that the winery or the importer tells him as the truth. This business about 'committed to organic farming and biodynamic principles with the wines naturally made' sounds suspiciously like someone who doesn't understand the differences in these things and for whom these concepts are buzz words. The 'special tanks' thing is a most egregious example of writing down something that the importer tells you without any follow-up or context. Here is how this conversation would have gone if I trotted this out with one critic I greatly respectt: Y: This Sancere is fermented in a special tank. D: What kind of special tank? Y: A stainless steel tank. D: But what makes it special? Y: Well, it's bigger than most. It's made in Austria. The guy who forged it lost one of his toes in a machinery accident. D: So what does that add to the wine? Y: There is less contact with the lees. His tasting note: 'this wine is fermented in tank.' What you said needed to have been said.