24 dollars: Bodegas Atalaya "laya" 2015
NEW ERA WINE SCORES GRAND TOTAL: 83.5 points. Never heard of Almansa? Doesn’t matter! This is very dangerously drinkable wine and terrific value for money and it’s from Almansa, which is inland from Valencia, high in the mountains (over 1000m ASL). This kind of fine wine quality at this price makes me double-take! It's fruit rich and powerful but has freshness and tannin. Made from the rare Grenache Tintorera (a cross of Grenache and little known Aramon) and Mourvèdre.
Price per bottle: $24
Region: Almansa, inland from Valencia, Spain. High country.
Grape varieties: Alicante Bouschet and Mourvèdre.
Closure: Natural cork.
Drinking window: 2017 to 2025
1)Aromatic intensity, up to 5 points.
3.5 points. Lively+
2) Aromatic complexity, up to 5 points.
4 points. It’s complex. Lashings of fruit and crushed rock minerality.
3)Aromatic attractiveness, up to 20 points.
17. Dive in! A complete wine lovers treat. Pleasure in your glass.
4)Palate intensity, up to 5 points.
4 points. He’s a big lad, this one.
5)"Mouthscape" or "palate complexity", i.e. how much of an interesting experience in the mouth a wine delivers, up to 5 points.
4 points. If you like it big, you’ll like this.
6)Drinkability, i.e. how much the wine's total taste characteristics leave you thirsting for more, up to 20 points.
17 points. Dangerously smashable. Has intensity but freshness.
7)The morning-after test, i.e. how this wine looks on the second day after opening and beyond, up to 5 points.
3 points, kicks on....
8)Cellarability, up to 10 points.
7 points. It’s made to be drunk young but if the cork keeps, so will the wine, for the medium term.
9)Individuality or how distinct the personality of a particular wine is, up to 10 points.
8 points. This is a truly distinct wine.
10) Look, packaging, label, up to 5 points.
3.5 points. Looks smart.
11) Environmental credentials, story, philosophy, history, brand weight, up to 10 points.
6 points. Not much story but the interest comes from the precision on the back label that the vines are bush-vines and grown at 700-1000 metres of altitude.
12) SUBTOTAL: Add together the individual scores from points 1 to 11, above. Subtotal is scored out of 100 possible points.
1 Value-for-money, take SUBTOTAL and divide by price to give X, then multiply X by 2. 2X is the value for money score.
2 The grand total NEWS value for a given wine is the product of SUBTOTAL + the value-for-money score.
Below 70: May have outstanding features but also some drawbacks and I couldn’t recommend it in confidence.
80-89 highly recommended
90+ points: Remarkable wine. Theoretically a score over 100 is possible once the value-for-money factor is taken into account. Something around 105 would be the upper limit of perfection.