When talking about the great Old World wine regions people tend to focus on either France or Italy. While those countries produce some of the best wines around, one shouldn’t overlook their Iberian neighbor to the west. Spain has a long and storied winemaking tradition, and it’s easy to find amazing wines at a great price as well. Here are a few favorites that I tasted recently.
With summer in full swing white wines are very prominent in the minds of customers. The 2012 Peza do Rei Blanco ($17.99) is an exceptional little drink to satisfy your white wine needs. Hailing from the Ribeira Sacra region in the Northwest it is comprised of 70% Godello, 20% Treixadura, and 10% Albarino. The nose is a bright bouquet of peach, grass, and minerality. The mineral flavors transfer onto the palate and is complimented by fresh lemongrass. It has a wonderful acidity that begs for some nice Chilean Sea Bass. You won’t be disappointed.
It’s rare when a wine absolutely floors me. Rarer still is when it’s a wine that is truly affordable. So I can get pretty giddy when a particular wine satisfies both of those requirements. The 2007 Peciña Rioja Crianza ($19.99) is a paradigm-questioning experience. Comprised of 95% Tempranillo with Graciano and Garnacha rounding out the blend this super yummy wine is a real treat at a bargain basement price. The nose was fresh and enticing, yet dusty as well. There was a wonderful aroma of dried black fruit that held everything together. The dried black fruit and dustiness carried through onto the palate, but was complimented by black licorice and citrus. The tannins were incredibly well integrated and the finish lingered for days. This is your summer BBQ right here.
Sticking with the Rioja theme there was another that I tried recently that I’m compelled to share with you. The 2005 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Rioja Gran Reserva ($69.99) is a treasure trove of flavor. It is comprised of 89% Tempranillo and 11% Mazuelo. In my humble opinion few things smell as tantalizing as Spanish Rioja. The aromatic nose was a kaleidoscope cinnamon, vanilla, black cherry, and floral notes. As wonderful as that nose was, it was nothing compared to the flavors that exploded onto my palate. Notes of vanilla and black fruit danced with a voluptuous meatiness all throughout the experience. The tannin was perfect and the finished never ended. Don’t balk at the price, you won’t find anything from California or Bordeaux that tastes nearly as good at that price.
Wrapping up our little Spanish jaunt is a powerhouse out of the Ribera del Duero region deep within the heart of the country. The river that gives the region its name (Duero) is the same one that carved the famed valley that Port calls home. The 2004 Bodegas Resalte Riserva ($49.99) shows just what Tempranillo can do if allowed to bulk up. The nose was big, funky (in a good way), and aromatic with notes of leather and black fruit. The black fruit carried through onto the palate and was complimented with a nice woodiness to give it a cab-like feel. The tannin structure was outstanding and the finish smooth as silk. Here is your alternative steak wine.
You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for that perfect Oakville Cabernet or Pauillac Red in order to get top quality wines. Very likely you can get something amazing from Spain at a fraction of the price. We at Beltramo’s love pointing out fantastic buys from all over the world. I look forward to speaking with you about Spanish wines the next time you visit us. Tiempos felices y beber feliz! Salud!
Rob R., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant