What to Drink Now: Spain

More and more friends are traveling to Spain on holiday, and can you blame them?  Incredible food, the nightlife of Barcelona and Madrid, stunning countryside dotted with century old vineyards and, of course, great wine.  If an escape to the land of Spaniards isn’t in your summer travel plans then why not drink like you were there.  I have recently tried several wines from Spain that are as tasty on the palate as they are pleasing to the pocketbook.  A few selections were sent for editorial consideration.

I love a Spanish Cava, the light, refreshing and inexpensive bubbly from the Penedes region of Spain.  A great go to Cava is Segura Viudas Brut Reserva.  Created by using the traditional methode champenoise from Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes, this sparkler is filled with lemon and lime, pineapple and mango.  Crisp and dry with good acidity and a finish that makes you want to enjoy another sip. 

Dry Rose tends to pop up quite a bit during the summer, and Rose of Grenache, or Garnacha in Spain, tend to have pleasing ripe fruit flavors of strawberry and raspberry along with a hint of foral and herbal notes.  I tried the Espelt Rose Corali recently at Veritas and found it to be both refreshing and light, yet complex with aromas of roses and wild strawberry.

I attended a virtual tasting the other evening with assistant winemaker for Campo Viejo winery, Roberto Vicente, to taste through a few of their wines including the Campo Viejo Rioja 2007 Crianza and the 2003 Gran Reserva.  Roberto was charming, as many Spaniards are, educated at the University of La Rioja with a degree in Oenology and after talking a bit of Rafael Nadal tennis we got down to tasting.  The Crianza and Gran Reserva are both a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and 5% Mazuelo with all fruit harvested by hand and fermented in stainless steel vats. 

The difference is the aging.  The Crianza is aged one year in oak casks and about 6 months in the bottle; the Gran Reserva is aged two years in oak casks and three years in the bottle before release.  And the variance to the flavor profile is significant.  The Crianza is much lighter and fresher with prounced aromas of cherry and plums with lush red berry and cherry on the palate.  A great wine to enjoy with paella, grilled veggies or Spanish cheese like Manchego or Murcia al Vino, a Spanish goat cheese soaked in wine also known as Drunken Goat.  The Gran Reserva is much denser with complexity and depth.  Filled with ripe black cherry, coffee, cocoa and fininishing with cedar and spice notes.  A big wine to that should be allowed to open a bit prior to drinking and best served paired with roast lamb, grilled beef and aged blue cheese.

One comment on “What to Drink Now: Spain

  1. Just that Spain is no longer cheap, especially in Madrid, Barcelona and on the Costa del Sol.
    Furthermore, stay away from overpriced Riojas – there are many similar wines from nearby regions at half the price!
    Oh, and don’t tip for service, unless it is exceptional – the Spanish very rarely do and 5% should be the absolute maximum.
    As a Spanish friend told me 10+ years ago, employees get THIRTEEN months salary instead.